A Summer Activity Enjoyed By Many
Summertime in Fernie is a favourite season shared by locals and visitors. Why might you ask? This mountain town is loaded with endless activities to keep you busy during the hot, sunshine-filled months that guarantee fun for every kind of person. Since Fernie is fortune enough to be situated along the Elk River, water-sports are a popular choice, and maybe the most fun one of those is rafting. In Fernie rafting means two things: 1) Floating merrily down the stream (river) that flows through town in a blow-up flotation device bought from Canadian Tire or the Red Apple – often done in groups with a drink in hand. 2) Heading over to the raging Elk River Canyon to brave the various levels of rapids and spectacular views on a guided white water rafting trip – often done in groups with a paddle in hand. The Deskies here at the Red Tree Lodge set out to go white water rafting thanks to Mountain High Adventures:
We loaded up bright and early on the bus and set off to Elko where we met up with the rest of the Mountain High crew. Thanks to the close-knit aspect of Fernie, we didn’t need introductions for our guides: Josh took us on our SupSquatch adventure and Mark was a familiar face from the Lodge – working with Nonstop. After suiting up and walking down some steps to the river, we were given some safety instructions and facts about the canyon and the rapids we would be facing.
Even though the sun was playing hooky that day, the air was warm and we were provided with stylish wet suits and splash coats with fleeces just in case we got chilly (I think I was too excited to feel temperature to be honest). We split the group into two rafts – each with a guide – and set off down the river (after practicing our rowing of course). You should probably know that I was in the one of the Dragon Warriors (front ‘power’ rowers) and yes, every position on the raft had a name.
Why they call it White Water Rafting
Right off the bat we were splashing around and hitting rapids and I was soaked within a few minutes (FUN FACT: If you aren’t looking to get wet or do any paddling, you can sit in the middle of the raft… but you WILL be called ‘Princess’). We carried on further into the canyon and encountered many more rapids boasting relevant names such as ‘Spin Cycle’, ‘The Calm Before the Storm’ and ‘The Big Kahuna’. Don’t worry though, your wonderful guides will lovingly yell directions at you when needed to ensure smooth sailing (probably not the right use of words for this situation). All jokes aside though, even though it was super exciting I never felt scared or in danger while on the river and our guides did a wonderful job keeping everyone safe and sound.
Other activities on the river
Although there was no shortage of rapids, the float wasn’t all just shredding through white water. We had chances to appreciate and admire the beauty of the canyon with it’s impressive vertical walls and the even some wildlife in action. At one point stopped for a very tasty lunch of wraps, salad and cookies which was enjoyed on land. Swimming was also encouraged!
Did I mention cliff jumping? Because that’s another part of this trip (optional of course)
How cool are the guides though? One was PADDLE BOARDING through the rapids, and another couple were in their own single rafts. Impressive for sure.
Ending our river trip
The trip ended on a chill note (calm – it was surprisingly warm) as we floated along the last bit of the river, right before it feeds into Lake Koocanusa, telling jokes and stories. We all hopped out and stripped off our gear (I do admit I was pretty excited to be back in dry clothes) and then once again loaded back on the bus. On the ride back we were encouraged to come into the Mountain High Adventures’ office to look at all of our awesome pictures because yes, there will be someone snapping majestic shots of you as you scream your way through the rapids.
Mountain High Adventures did an amazing job once again to provide us with a fun-packed experience. Be sure to check them out on your next trip to Fernie so you can hit the river and make your own memories white water rafting. Thanks guys, you rocked our socks (or should I say neoprene booties?)
*All pictures are credited to Mountain High Adventures
Canada’s First Ever Giant Stand Up Paddle Board
I was probably the most excited when we were told that the Deskies were going out SUPsquatching for our next adventure. No, we didn’t go searching for Sasquatch and I forgive you for not being familiar with the term (don’t worry that was my first thought too when I heard the name last year). SUPsquatch is a brand-spanking new sport and Mountain High Adventures is the first and only company in Canada to get their hands on one. They are also the only company in the world to feature guided river tours! We were lucky enough to be the fourth group to cruise down the Elk River on this giant 8-man float so I will be adding that to my personal hall of fame – and you can too next time you are in Fernie!
After suiting up in river gear provided by the company we all piled in the van and drove up river to our starting point. The guides taught us safety skills, how to paddle, and even how to stand and balance on the 17-ft stand up paddleboard (there’s more too it than you would think!). Once we were confident we set off on our river journey – accompanied of course by our guides and a couple others on individual paddle boards.
Cruising down the Elk River was both beautiful and exciting with the river running right through the town. You’d be surprised at how sturdy the board was and how well it took to waves, currents and rapids. If you aren’t comfortable standing up and paddling however, you are more than welcome to kneel your way through the experience.
SUPsquatch’n With Mountain High Adventures
Did you know that the SUPsquatch is commonly used for surfing? Unfortunately Fernie doesn’t have anywhere to catch some big swells, but our guides helped us attempt to ‘surf’ some waves right on the river. Surfing, cruising, or paddling through rapids, standup paddleboarding is an excellent way for you and your friends/family to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors! It’s a killer group activity that will guarantee a great time and you even get bragging rights for riding the first SUPsquatch in Canada. The Red Tree Lodge had so much fun with our outing and we all give a big thumbs up to Mountain High Adventures and their awesome guides. Be sure to check them out and book your own adventure!
Photo Credit to Mountain High Adventures