The River Of Hope: Still Flowing
Seven months ago I stood on the shores of The Athabasca River as I completed my
663 km paddle board journey from Jasper to Athabsca, AB.
In this photo below I was overwhelmed by the support from so many community members who showed up to welcome me. I also could have just kept paddling on and not come back to civilization.
I haven't wrote much about my paddle down the river, that's not true I wrote a whole "book" about it quickly when I returned to save all the fresh memories to paper. Not sure what I'll do with it, it needs more detail and a lot of time invested in it.
In 2022 plans have been made to paddle from July 11-15th from Fort McMurray to Lake Athabasca. A journey of 300 km or so but much less current than previous sections I've done. This will take a lot more will and determination to complete aka grinding.
In January I ran up to Fort Mac for the day to meet with Lenny! He eats, sleeps and breathes this river and has spent his whole life on it. What a wealth of information. He shared with me the mile by mile mapping of the river from when the freight barges ran up it many decades ago.
Many naysayers tell me I will be disgusted by the oil activity as I paddle, I remind people oil runs into the river prior to the Grand Rapids in many sections as well that aren't developed. It is in the ground regardless.
Oil will always be a contentious issue, however I personally see every day at work how well we do with environmental and human rights standards as we produce it. As a woman I can work in the oilfield, I'm treated equally. Supporting oil that is produced where women are beheaded or stoned to death in unfathomable to me.
I am very excited to get out on the water at Lake Athabasca and catch some monsters on my SUP! We plan to stay for a few days on the lake weather permitting once we get there.
As I paddle this year proceeds if anyone chooses to donate will be going to Project All In whose founder Chad Guenter saw the need for first responders to be able to ask for help when their mental health declines. They are one of the occupations with the highest rates of suicide.
The plan is to have a few first responders paddle with me, along with handing out coins as we visit Fort Chipewyan and other areas. Being isolated makes for even higher mental fatigue.
As well, The Brave Viking (Terell Jonasson) may be joining me again and if not he will be there in spirit with his Brave Viking apparel. If you see someone wearing Brave Viking it means they are open and safe to talk to if you're struggling. A subliminal message of support and solidarity to others.
I wore mine for the whole paddle last year!
The river is calling, mental health is still a huge crisis and I can think of no better place to heal my soul and your soul as I take you along with me once again.
Owner Paddle Athabasca