We left early with a small group of well wishers sending us off! Reta and I with our fully loaded Selfies took to the river. Two capable women excited to be leaving the "real world" heading off into the wilderness.
Today felt like the trip was truly beginning, as now we were self sufficient for the next four days. The hardest part of planning a trip is guessing river flows and speed in which you'll be able to travel. Initially, I booked Athabasca Island through Parks Canada. A river access only site which is a great trip for a weekend adventurer.
Lunch time stop at Athabasca Island.
Since we hit this spot so early in the day we continued on our way confident we could make it to Brule Tunnels for evening. I will forever be grateful that the weather gods were on our side and we had a downwind for Jasper Lake. Reta and I made good time and "poled" our way across the shallow water in this flood plain. It was so shallow in some sections only 8 inches our our blade would go in the water.
Big shallow water and big mountains along Jasper Lake!
Finally exiting the lake we headed into more braided sections of the river, as we rounded a bend later in the day we hit an unbelievable head wind that stopped us in our tracks. We decided that already being tired and trying to fight a strong wind could spell trouble for both of us. We mitigated the risk presented by hunkering down for the night at possibly one of the most stunning camps of the trip.
A quiet off shoot of the river that flowed around this small island. With no rain in the forecast we felt safe camping here for the night. Following the no trace camping rules we left it as we found it, no one would know we even slept here.
Reta being exhausted from Kanfest planning, had a big power nap in the afternoon. I was able to start my book from my dear friend Crystal by Ernest Hemmingway: The Old Man And The Sea. It was definitely fitting for the journey I was embarking on. A lazy evening of eating and resting culminated with a bedtime of 7:30 pm.
The irony of having extended daylight in Alberta summers meant I never saw the sunset once on this trip. Exhaustion puts you to bed early; however I was able to enjoy the sunrises most days.
This day of paddling put us ahead of schedule by at least 20 km, which gives a person a buffer in case of inclement weather shutting us down for part or whole day. 46 km travelled today and 78 km total of the trip.
With the first real day jitters out of the way life was starting to settle into the beautiful rhythm of eat, paddle, sleep, repeat.
Continued on Day 3: Here!
Sending You Love N SUP,
Owner Paddle Athabasca
CANRVRSUP River 1 Instructor