The River Of Hope flows on...
It's hard to fathom that I am departing for Fort McMurray in less than 15 days. July 10th.
I'm underprepared training wise, I haven't done a long paddle yet. My body is sore from a winter of driving full time however deep down I know I'll be okay. After last years 663 km paddle from Jasper To Athabasca I feel that I understand implicitly days are long and there will always be highs and lows.
The year 2022 with all its intricacies has been full of challenges for many.
Initially, the plan was to have a push for mental health awareness with Project All In through the first responders in Fort McMurray. There was talk about advertising and inviting others on the first 50 km of paddling and if they wanted to join further down river as an option.
People are burnt out in the first responder world, with the escalation of calls and overdoses their own mental health is being pushed to an irrational level. In some cases there is too much work for them to leave to join this trip...the irony!
The Borealis Paddling Club in Fort McMurray suffered an imaginable loss on the Ells River when two paddlers didn't make it home from a paddling trip. It's every paddlers worst nightmare. A harsh reality of spending time on the water, a risk we take and try to mitigate to our best ability when we head out.
Donations this year can go to Project All In, they as well experienced their own personal setback. The brother of founder Chad Guenter (<-- listen to his podcast) was involved in a devastating incident when his mental health deteriorated. Chad was there for his sibling for weeks on end on the road to recovery and still is today.
Currently, I will be paddling solo to my knowledge. Last year's paddle with random strangers/good friends was the highlight of the trip. Memories that we will hold close to our hearts for life. I gratefully accept whatever the universe presents me and I will embrace whatever is offered to me.
You will see me representing Brave Viking gear and I invite you to support the grass roots campaign started in my hometown
of Athabasca, AB.
Terell Jonasson champions for open dialogue among all humans, by wearing Brave Viking gear you signal that you are open to talking about mental health.
It's been a year of turning inward and I relish this opportunity to do so even more, I am supported by my husband and his uncle in our boat along the way as my safety and sanity when I face headwinds, storms and bugs. It will also be my mode of transportation home after reaching Lake Athabasca. There's only one way you can get there in the summer: boat or plane.
It's unlikely I will have service to post along the way but you never know. Ironically, I have had cell service in the most unlikely places even better than my own house.
When I complete this section of The Athabasca River I will have approximately covered 1217 km of the river system.
Leaving the 134 km section from the Grand Rapids to Fort McMurray remaining. Finding information on this section is tough however it will most likely be a raft supported SUP trip to go through the 11 rapids of this river stretch.
Sending you Love N SUP!
Owner Paddle Athabasca
Paddle Canada River 1 SUP Instructor