Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Re-Cap 3 Rivers Rendezvous Whitewater Festival 2014 - Team Paddler, Luke Vollmerhaus

So, another Pincher Creek 3 Rivers Rendezvous is in the archives and it was one of the best yet (in my humble opinion). This year I believe there were close to 350 paddlers who came down south for this increasingly popular event near the sleepy southern Alberta towns of Lundbreck and Pincher Creek. As the festivals name suggests, there are 3 great river systems in close proximity to the campsite/event venue, the Oldman, Castle and Crowsnest drainage's.
This year, we were graced with near perfect water levels across the board and as far as May long weekends in Southern Alberta go, great weather. The days were mixed with clouds, warm sun and short rain showers (and one epic thunderstorm).
Photo: Lori Vollmerhaus // Paddler: Andy Vollmerhaus // Location: Castle Falls (I think…)

There are many great aspects to this event. Due to the semi remote location of the festival there are lots of paddlers who rarely get to hop on these southern runs despite their spectacular beauty and awesome white water. There’s also an enormous variety in difficulty of white water available, everything from barely class 1 for your beginner to staunch class 5 for your experienced adrenalin junkie.

It is a festival of contrasts, there are loads of wide eyed new paddlers down there, looking to take their first whitewater strokes, often being led by clubs from all points of the Alberta compass, there are the groups of intermediates who just love to paddle, socialize and really embrace the entire paddling culture in a way that gets me so stoked, the old dogs) who are there to help, cruise and go with the flow a bit, and then there are the frothing at the mouth chargers who want to run big water, big drops and get ‘rad’ so to speak. With all that going on one could assume that there would be ego, cliques etc, but for some reason (and maybe it is just paddling), but at this festival all these people rub shoulders with each other, talk up their runs for the day, drink beer and maybe even shoot off the occasional firework or three at the wee hours of the morning together. You can’t help but get caught up in how pumped everyone is to have come out of the Alberta deep freeze and have all these wonderful rivers running and so close to the campsite.
There are more paddling festivals throughout the year but this is certainly one of my personal favourites.
I hope everyone’s season is off to a stellar start, keep it safe and rip it up!

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin