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Flood, Fire & Faith: River Of Hope 2022 POSTPONED

The weight of it was weighing on me all week leading up to it; I felt comfortable paddling on the conditions presented by the high water in the river as long as it was free of large debris.

Planning and organizing was in full force as we dry fit the boat with all of our gear, gas and supplies needed for a remote access trip such as this. It is 300 km one way to Lake Athabasca, that means around 600 L of fuel to be able to get there and back along with fishing on the lake for a few days.

Luckily, I was solo this year which made changing our plans much easier than with a large group. Since it is my husband and his uncle in the boat, the three of us are able to go with the flow and we found new dates that worked!

They enjoyed fishing along the way last year and most importantly feeding me when I felt like eating.

All week nothing seemed to line up and each time I tried to make a new plan it just wasn't working. Finally, I was able to talk with Lenny from Running Bear Wilderness Adventures we had played phone tag for a few days. His information was pivotal in the decision to postpone. Lenny eats, sleeps and breathes The Athabasca River around Fort McMurray and is someone I trust implicitly when he gives you data.

  1. Flood Water: With impending mountain peak flooding still to occur; we very well could leave on the trip. However, we could also be stranded with poor river conditions for a few days unable to move if heavy debris starts flowing again. Finding campsites could prove challenging with no shoreline showing.

  2. Wind: It is the windiest year on record up there that Lenny can remember, wind is not a paddle boarders friend.

  3. Fire: The Elders from Fort Chipewyan had been evacuated as a precaution with a fire outside the village. We were hoping to connect with relatives of Lenny's and have them show us around their land and lake.

  4. Swift Water Rescue: Being trained in many facets of river paddling now, it is important to understand your limitations and the consequences to others your actions could impose. I do not want to put any of us in harms way or have others needing to rescue us and put themselves in an unwarranted position of injury or death. Seems selfish to paddle for Project All In and first responders mental health then ask them to recover you....

  5. Faith: Something deep down inside kept saying this isn't the time, intuition is the greatest gift if you listen to it. Therefore, we will wait.

Reality is our seasons this year are at minimum two weeks behind, heck Sunshine Village opened up for July 1st to SKI there is so much snow still. This year is the complete opposite of last year with record low water levels.

This dynamic duo will set off August 5th tentatively, hopefully with a fast safe flow rate, ideal camp spots and less bugs. Who knows though. We can't predict life, nature or anything else all we can do is go with the flow and be like the river: always moving forward and bending when it needs to.

I'm content deep down with this choice and know it's the right one. Ego can push us into making decisions that can appease our brain but not our soul. My soul is happy.

Sending You Love N SUP,

Lisa Stocking

Owner Paddle Athabasca

CANRVRSUP River 1 Instructor

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