Heather Clark is a Victoria based writer that joined us on one of our 1hr "Townie Tours" this past summer. The following is an article that she wrote about her experience with us!
Awesome. How often do we hear “awesome” used as an expression of appreciation or as a way of agreeing with someone? All. The. Time. This automatic designation of things being awesome threatens to detract from the value of something that truly deserves the praise. Canmorites, however, are well within their rights to sling the term as often as they like. Have you seen where they live?
I have been to Canmore a number of times, and by now have a list of favourite walks that take me past favourite spots from which I admire my favourite view. This August, all those gems got demoted and a new favourite experience took their place: the river.
“A gentle one-hour float on flat moving water” sounded like just the thing to introduce me to rafting. No crazy currents, no stress, no action training required; just show up and enjoy.
The morning of my float I awoke feeling intensely happy. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and just the thought of getting on the water had me excited. I brewed a thermos of tea and headed to the boat launch on the edge of town, where Chris (guide and co-owner of Canmore Raft Tours) was ready and waiting. The raft lay on its bed of pebbles, begging to be nudged into the flow of icy water. The splash of red rubber against the turquoise river, framed by intense green trees and a backdrop of majestic mountains was the first of many photos I couldn’t resist taking.
Not only did Chris’ clear instructions and calm demeanour evaporate any nerves I may have harboured, he turned out to be somewhat of a younger, fitter, Canadian-sounding Sir David Attenborough. His stories complimented the scenery, giving an extra dimension to our visual feast without ever shattering the serenity created by the river. He sat confidently at the helm, steered us downstream and looked absolutely in his element. How wonderful it must be, I thought, to have an intimate understanding of the river. He knew her moods, followed her cues and respected her deeply. Today was a calm day and an easy paddle, but I had no doubt Chris has also felt her fury, and loves her even more for it. Theirs is a relationship built up over the years, and we were reaping the benefits of his knowledge and expertise.
Rafting on the Bow River attracts tourists and locals alike. My group was an eclectic mix of backgrounds; a Mexican family, an Australian-turned-Canadian and a Canmorite were also floating for the first time. We listened intently to Chris’ commentary, chatted happily and shuffled positions to secure the best pictures. The teenagers slouched on one side, unalarmed by their mother’s warnings not to fall over board. “Sí, mamá, no te preocupes,” they glared while shifting to appease her.
The river, too, demands obedience from her visitors; she dictates the direction and speed, challenging us to look up and stay alert. She also inspires us to enjoy each moment in the moment. What a luxury, to just sit and admire the view, to feel the water undulate beneath the raft and wonder what’s around the next bend.
The hour flew by and reluctantly we disembarked. I already look forward to my next visit to the Rockies and a longer journey down river. Thank you, Canmore Raft Tours, for introducing me to a whole new way of connecting with nature. From start to end, the trip left me in awe and then some!