Friday, September 21, 2012

Bye Bye Kids - Hello Girl's Weekend

Every spring for the last three years I've planned a Girl's Weekend away in the mountain town of Radium Hotsprings, located in the scenic Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia.  At three hours from Calgary, it's a popular weekend destination and we've enjoyed a myriad of activities in the valley from hiking to skiing, hot spring soaking and even shopping (it is a girl's weekend after all).  Having fallen in love with paddling this summer, it only seemed fitting that I plan a second Girl's Trip this year so that we could enjoy some warm autumn weather in the Columbia Valley and  spend a final weekend pretending snow isn't just around the corner. 

Paddling on the Columbia River

I invited moms from my Outdoor Playgroup on this trip and we all prayed for warm weather so that we wouldn't need to paddle in wetsuits.  Our plan was to spend Saturday paddling on a local lake and we brought two kayaks and my new stand up paddle board with us.  The fourth mom planned on renting a board in the town of Invermere so that I'd have somebody to SUP with.  Plans changed a bit though when we got to the rental shop and I just had to ask about the river flowing out of town.  I'm not a big fan of motor boats when SUP'ing and knew Lake Windermere would still have several of them tearing up my peaceful water.   The Columbia River however promised to be much more calm, quiet, and scenic.  It had been in the back of my mind to paddle the river but being extremely new to paddling, I feared it would be beyond my abilities.  We also had a newbie kayaker in the group who was more than a little intimidated by the thought of paddling moving water and it would be my other friend's first significant paddle on a board as well. 

Kayaking down the Columbia River (Photo:  Jen Sollid)

The Staff at Syndicate Board Shop were awesome though and with a bit of encouragement from them, we knew we would be able to handle the river.  They carefully explained where we could easily put in and take out and told us how long we could expect it to take to paddle from Invermere to Radium (a distance of about 16km).  Fortunately we had allotted plenty of time in which to complete our paddle because the three hours we were told it would take actually took five for us.  Either we stopped an awful lot or the river had really slowed down for the season.  We'll go with the latter possibility because I don't think we stopped all that often.  We did enjoy the plentiful sand bars along the journey though and found it easy to stop and rest whenever we needed.

Lunch Break
The Columbia Valley is absolutely breathtaking

The water was very gentle, slow moving, and absolutely perfect for novice paddlers.  I learned a lot about navigating my board around corners and our beginner kayaker really took to the sport.  She is now talking about a second trip and eagerly anticipating her next time out. 

Our First River

SUP'ing for five hours is a long time to stand - but it was awesome!
So glad we chose the river! (Photo:  Jen Sollid)

We celebrated our river run with a nice dinner out in Invermere and hit the hotsprings in Radium the next day to soothe our sore muscles.  An Annual Radium River Run will definitely be on the calendar going forward and we hope to try the river with our kids next summer.

Radium Hot Springs

1 comment:

  1. Feeling inspired to plan a girl's SUP day for next summer! Oh where to go...