Heinz's Report - August 11, 2003

Elk River Cruise

A full day of kayaking on the amazing Elk River. This report is a double duty affair from Aussie Dave and Mike. Our adventure took place on August 9, 2003

Aussie Dave�s report

On Saturday, we decided to kayak from Sparwood to the North bridge at Fernie. By road the trip is 30 kms, about a 20 min drive, but by kayak it is a 9 hour all round extravaganza - what with driving to unload your stuff, leaving cars along the way in case some folks wish to exit the river a bit sooner (which did not happen, then after paddling for 7 hours you go back and get all the stuff you left and return�the kayaks; by which time you are starving hungry .....completely exhausted and could drink a small keg.

� We left Fernie at 7.30 am and drove to our launching place and were in the water by 9.15 or so. Our group was Heinz & Kathy, Mike & Nancy ,Steve, Cathy ( Mean Bean Cathy ),Anita & myself. None of us had ever done this before so we were not sure what to expect from our boats but it�was fantastic. The kayaks were easy to control and manouever and because of the speed of the river and the nature of the small rapids we had a ball.

� We did the obligatory splashing each other thing a few times, which, as the day was around 30 degrees, was most enjoyable. We had a stop at 11.00 for little lunch and a stop at 1.15 for big lunch and a couple of stops along the way to investigate the river and country side. The only minor drama was when Heinz (alias�"Crash") took a�detour in the river and disappeared for about an hour from the rest or us. Getting into trouble is quite normal for "Crash". We got a bit anxious so we pulled to shore and Steve and I went overland to see if we could locate "Crash" or find the water course he headed off on.....which we did, and figured he would join us again further down stream, which he did. When we met up with him he was mumbling something about finding the North-West Passage or something like that. We are sort of used to this behaviour by now.

� Having learned�nothing from this, about�half an hour later Steve, Heinz and I took a little channel and ended up having to haul our boats over a beaver log jam about 6 feet high and 20 feet wide (not recommended). Oh well, boys will be boys. We exited the water at about 4.30 hugged and high-fived each other and discussed how great 24 hours of sleep would be. Instead we headed to our various homes, got cleaned up, had a beer and all met at 7.00pm at the pre Trans Rockies bike race party outside the Fernie Hotel and had a couple more. I must say it was the quietest apr�s activity night we have had. We were all very tired.

� To sum up it was excellent & we would highly recommend it. Perhaps a little shorter voyage if you are not a big out-door activity person. I rate it 11.5 out of 10.

Mike�s report

Huey, Dewey, Louie, Daffy, Plucky, Daisy, Scrooge, Donald. We were sitting on the Elk River in inflatable kayaks, named after ducks, between Sparwood and Hosmer; contemplating. Around us were the mountains and forests, and the river. The river with eddies and rapids and reflected sunlight. Contemplating, �Did Walter Lantz or Walt Disney, ever name a duck, �Plucky�?

Mountain High River Adventures had rented us eight, inflatable kayaks. They were red unlike most other rubber duckies. With equal parts trepidation and wonder we had inflated the boats and departed from the Sparwood Rec Centre. Steve had warned us about the dangers of sweepers. (Trees that had fallen into the river and had the current running under them.) As we traveled south our apprehension dissipated and we started to seek out the rapids and to play in the standing waves. The mountains in the distance took on a new perspective from the water, especially Mount Hosmer. There were other sights along the way: eagles, cranes, and osprey, and even a juvenile American Dipper that entertained us at one of our many stops along the way. One startled fisherman had just landed an enormous 40 pound trout (or so it seemed from afar), only to be surrounded by eight red rubber duckies. The size of the trout quickly diminished with camera toting witnesses at hand.

We learned many things from this trip. It is possible to lose people when everyone is on the same river going south to Fernie. Sunscreen should be applied to all body parts which are exposed to the sun. Waterproof tubs can get hot and should not be used to store Snickers bars. The behaviour of the inflatable kayaks was exemplary. They allowed beginners to enjoy the river and to be �plucky�.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Impressive Mount Hosmer looms over 0ur flotilla on the Elk River.

The gang resting at one of our many stops. Huey (Mike) in the forefront.

The river was full of fisher people. This was the biggest catch we saw!

Another mandatory artsy shot. The trip was full of side diversions.

Kathy and Mike at Ladner Creek. Note the little bird at the end of the rock. Steve tells us that it was an American Dipper � he weaved and bobbed all the time we stayed here!

Oops, took the wrong channel again. #@!!&## beavers!

Kathy whooping it up in the rapids.

Nancy shoots the rapids with ease.

One of our last rest stops. Anita, comatose by now, cools in the river. The ever present Mt. Hosmer in the background.

The two K(C)athy�s in front of the Three Sisters.

Our happy gang for today.