The sun was blazing in the morning as we departed camp, blinding to the point it was challenging to look up from your board. As we came near an outside bend in the river it looked like ducks splashing in the water ahead. Oddly, they kept just ahead of us and always in the main current.
Bobbing up and down it looked like a pair of Croc shoes floating in the river and we chased mercilessly to catch up and see what they were. Finally they eddied out near a log and jumped onto shore. They were river otters. Such a fun experience.
This day brought us through Tunnel Rock an impressive canyon that one doesn't expect in this section of river. You feel as though you've left the mountains and big scenery but the river had so many jewels hidden in it.
We stopped at Old Man Creek for lunch which would make an amazing camp destination. It was sad to depart such a sweet spot but the weather was just too good to delay staying any longer before winds started after lunch.
Every day we made it a goal to hit the 50 km mark by 12:00 pm. We did this for four days straight.
Since we really had no schedule now the funniest question every morning Reta would ask me was: "How far are we going today?" and my answer always was "Until we're done!". It became a joke because there's very few people who can fly by the seat of their pants in this situation and just go with the flow.
As the day progressed we would make a decision where we thought we could get to with the distance we were travelling. I loved the randomness of it. If you can't be flexible on these trips it can be mentally crippling when things don't work out how you planned. The idea is make a plan then make a new one after that doesn't work.
We pushed onward to The Berland River Confluence and what a stunning spot. We had our first bath in five days on a scorching afternoon. This was ironically the only place we didn't feel super safe. There was more people here than anywhere else. I slept with my bear spray nearby.
The reality is two women by themselves make for an easy target. This isn't being irrational it is fact. Being unaware that this is a possibility when you are out by yourselves is being delusional. You can only prepare and present yourself as looking strong and self sufficient.
We paddled our longest day of 87 km with a trip total of 244 km completed. I kept wondering when it would get harder. To this point it was enjoyable without the usual grind a person encounters on these types of trips.
Going to bed was foreboding, I saw part of the sunset but not completely due to smoke from the BC wildfires starting to block it. I went to sleep wondering what the morning would bring...
Read Day 5: Here
Sending You Love N SUP,
Owner Paddle Athabasca
CANRVRSUP River 1 Instructor