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  • Writer's picturePaul

Kootenay Road Trip 2020 Scenes: Canoeing on the Columbia River

Did we save the best for last? Quite possibly.

Our Kootenay road trip was quickly coming to an end and we wanted to get our canoe in the water at least one more time. We had driven around with it on top of the truck for four weeks, been stopped innumerable times for mandatory watercraft inspections (OK, probably six or seven) and it seemed a shame not to get back in the water.

We read the Columbia River was popular for canoeing, but the problem we kept running into was how we’d get the canoe back to the truck after paddling four hours down the river. Could we take a taxi? Hitchhike? Try paddling back upstream? Teleport?

Columbia River Paddle (@columbiariverpaddle) in Invermere to the rescue. They offered not only canoe rentals but also a shuttle service. We could park at their office, launch our canoe, paddle down the river to Radium and catch a ride back to Invermere with them…all for a reasonable price.

So that’s what we did. On a gloriously sunny Saturday morning we took to the river and paddled for the next four hours. And it was amazing. The water was calm with a gentle current to propel us downstream. There were lots of sandy places to land the canoe for a stretch or a snack. And there were birds in the wetlands and on the river banks. The word “idyllic” came to mind more than once.

It ended far too soon. Our backs and butts hurt a little (despite the pretty cushions Diana made for our canoe seats) but we ended the trip elated and ready for more. The shuttle ride back with Columbia River Paddle was smooth and enhanced by our driver’s jovial (though masked) banter.

It was as near to a perfect day as you can get. The cloudless blue skies and bright sunlight you see in the photos are definitely not what I usually wish for as a photographer, but as a person simply experiencing a beautiful afternoon it was wonderful. Even now I want to go back and do it again.


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