Monday, May 11, 2015

Paddling on the Road: In the East Kootenays

One of the benefits of being a Sales Rep in Western Canada, is the opportunity to paddle in some amazing places and yesterday, Mark and I got to do just that.

Gear prep - Kokatat, Werner Paddles and Esquif Canoes
Our friends, Roger and Allyson, owners of Green Wave Canoeing in Kimberley, BC provide us with a place to park our van while visiting our dealers in the East Kootenays and get us out on the water. We have been spending more time over the last year developing our whitewater canoeing skills, with great help and encouragement from Roger and Allyson.

Yesterday’s run on the St. Mary’s River can be described as a Grade 3 put in, Grade 2 run. We put in at the Rails to Trails Bridge with 5 of us; Mark, Roger and Kristina in solo boats and Jasmine and I in a tandem, Esquif Prospecteur 16.

Kristina, Roger, Mark, Jasmine and me
The run is characterized by minimal grade, hoodoos, pine and sagebrush. Wildlife was minimal on this particular afternoon but we saw bald eagles and a token deer. At this water level, we could fairly easily maneuver around the boulders, or eddy out behind them for some extra fun. 

I will admit that I didn’t push myself on this run as much as I could have, I was without my Kokatat drysuit because I recently sold my Goretex Meridian to a friend and my new custom Kokatat Goretex Women’s Icon is being built as I type this. A drysuit doesn’t only keep you warm & dry; it encourages you to take your paddling skills to the next level and try things without the fear of getting wet and cold. I am okay with that decision to keep the “open side up”, we’ve got more paddling days ahead of us this season.

Mark going solo - he did a fantastic job!!!

Fun times, paddling tandem with Jasmine

Roger, leading us down the St. Mary's (one of his home rivers)

Mark and Kristina in matching boats :)

After paddling we headed to the St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, while I am not particularly interested in golfing or gambling, there is some very interesting history here and great apres eats and drinks at Fisher Peak Lounge. The main building is stunning and was once the St. Eugene Mission, home of Western Canada’s first residential school. Now numerous first nations communities have come together to create a place that people visit from all over North America.

Kristina taking a break in the eddy
We can’t wait to be back in the East Kootenays as there are many more paddling adventures to be had. I’m most excited to get back on the St. Mary’s and paddle it down into the Kootenay River.
Thanks, to Roger for making it happen and Kristina and Jasmine for joining us on the adventure.

Good friends and time on the water always make for awesome memories!!!

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin