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River Of Hope Day 3: Beware Of Cougars

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

Rising at 5:30 to a damp crisp morning in the Rocky Mountains was a perfect way to wake up on my 45th Birthday! Other than bringing my family with me there's no where else I'd rather be. Paddling, peace and stellar weather.

We set off by 7:15 am, using the Windy App was a life saver to predict when to start paddling and how long we would have until the afternoon headwinds would appear.

Heading off towards Brule Lake I was well aware that this last flat water section of the Athabasca River could be the most treacherous. The problem with both Jasper and Brule Lake is they are shallow and notoriously windy. Effectively shutting you down from paddling further if the weather shifts.

As we entered the lake I was amazed that the weather gods again blessed us with calm waters. Reta loves flat water (she does she's a true whitewater river paddler who sacrificed her sanity to paddle with me through these sections.

This lake did seem to take what felt like forever to cross, even worse than Jasper Lake. With a more solid downwind on the previous day it felt fun and fast moving across. Out here time stood still.

I sang in my head the classic Simpsons song "Lisa it's your birthday, Happy Birthday Lisa" to pass the time. Anything to get a person through.

Exiting Brule Lake and coming into a fast downhill section was wonderful, we enjoyed a steady elevation decline all the way to Hinton. As lunch time neared we stopped near the CN Train Bridge for lunch. It was here I nearly sliced my thumb off making sandwiches. I thought oh great this is how the trips ends...

Paddling onward with a stellar first aid job on my thumb by Reta I found out you can paddle without your thumb being used. Thank goodness!

Some of the most spectacular scenery was near Entrance, AB. We carried on in the hottest part of the day past Hinton as 3 elk swam in front of us across the river.

Many people assume that I saw a lot of wildlife over 663 km but the truth is I thought there would be way more.

Covering 80 km on the day we made camp at Canyon Creek. We had a surreal experience with an eagle leading us right to camp. Eagles and blue herons were a plenty on this trip. As we paddled the river we often followed waterfowl down each channel and let them lead the way. Birds thrived in the river system.

Again off to bed by 7:30 pm. We had accumulated 157 km total of the trip and were nearly 50 km ahead of schedule. It was a good feeling going to bed with a solid few days of paddling under our belts and up to this point perfect weather.

Read Day 4: Here!

Sending You Love N SUP,

Lisa Stocking

Owner Paddle Athabasca

CANRVRSUP River 1 SUP Instructor

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