Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kayak in the Rocky Mountains of Canada


When you think "Rocky Mountains of Canada", I would bet a fair chunk of my monthly income that you are picturing towering, majestic, snow-capped mountains, or deep-green, spindly pine trees flanked by peaks and valleys.  You might even think about the turquoise green-blue waters, icy cold as they rush from their glacial parents towards the Pacific Ocean.

You probably don't think: wetlands.

I never did either.  But a recent trip to the Panorama area in the British Columbia portion of the Rockies led me to some of the most picturesque wetlands I had ever seen.

Majestic mountains frame this amazing wetland

I grew up in Alberta (and I still live there), where wetlands are as common as dirt roads. I drive past about three wetland areas on my way to work each morning.  I've taken students pond-dipping to examine water beetles and tadpoles.  Ducks Unlimited, a conservation group in our area, ensures that our wetlands will remain for years and years to come. Wetlands are really no big deal to me.

However, kayaking in the middle of a pristine wetland ecosystem in the middle of a Rocky Mountain valley is a totally different experience.  Especially since I'd never even been in a kayak before.

Excited to be kayaking for the first time

My husband and I were in Invermere, B.C. over the summer for a family vacation.  My sister-in-law, Nancy, really wanted to go out on the water and so Joey and I agreed to go with her.  We made our way down to the marina on the edge of Windermere Lake, and found Columbia River Outfitters next to Pete's Marina.  Pete's Marina rents boats and jet skis for those who want to do some water sports out on the giant lake.  Columbia River Outfitters rents canoes and kayaks for those who want to paddle through the wetlands or head down the Columbia River towards Radium.  We decided to try kayaking, since Nancy knew what she was doing, and I'd never tried it before (I will try most anything at least once - within reason!)

Outside Columbia River Outfitters, preparing to kayak

There were three levels of kayak packages: the nice and easy 'kayak through the wetlands', the 'guided tour down the Columbia River', and the 'unguided voyage down the Columbia River'.  Due to time constraints and my inexperience, we opted for the wetlands package.  The cost was not too bad - $40 for a single kayak for Nancy (plus tax), and $50 for a double kayak for Joey and I. This covered two hours - plenty of time to explore a wetland.

So peaceful and serene on the Columbia River Wetlands

After a brief (very brief - to the point that I was nervous going out on the water) lesson on how to navigate a kayak, we headed out.  I was delighted to find that a kayak maneuvers much easier than a canoe, and by the end of the trip, I had decided to go out and buy my own darn kayak. I LOVED it!  This could be my newest hobby.

There is no color alteration here - this is what true beauty is!

The wetlands themselves were spectacular. We saw a crane, two bald eagles, many ducks, and lots of fish (I don't know my fish very well, but I suspect they were rainbow trout due to their shiny appearance - someone correct me if I'm wrong).  The wetlands were expansive, with pathways in and out of the reeds, and it felt like we were exploring an unknown land.  The mountains provided a lovely backdrop, framing the wetlands on both sides and fading off into the distance.

Looking like kayak pros!

Two hours was a perfect amount of time, and other than Nancy almost getting sucked down the river by the increasing current at the river mouth, it was very peaceful.  What an unexpected journey in the mountains - I highly recommend it!

4 comments:

  1. You need to check out Death Valley in California. I have never seen such amazing natural colors ...artists pallet...hike or drive

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds great! I am going to Google pics right now! (Maybe you can bring some to work!) Is that where they have the wild Joshua trees?

      Delete
    2. Wait, even better! That's where they have the sailing stones, if you're lucky enough to see one!

      Delete
  2. Sounds really great. i would like to appreciate your post and looking for more from you.

    ReplyDelete