Tag Archives: swimming

Adventure camp in the west kootenay’s

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With Tim and Hunter off on a boys trip in Saskatchewan with Tim’s family, and continued fall like weather in Whitehorse, I decided to head to the west kootenay region for some warm weather kayaking with the great folks at Endless Adventures. What was planned to be a five day kayak session turned into a fabulous summer adventure camp – warm weather, warm water and great people!

I flew in and out of Calgary using a credit that I had on Air North, which helped to decrease the overall costs of the adventure. What it did mean though was I started my trip with an 8 hour drive to Crescent Valley (between Nelson and Castlegar)… For anyone else looking to go to the area, I would firmly recommend flying in and out of the Castlegar airport, which is just 20 minutes from Crescent Valley.

Endless Adventures has a great location, right at the put in for the lower Slocan river and within close proximity of a whole lot of other rivers and play spots in the West Kootenay region.

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I spent the week camped in their campground (really just a field with a wash house), which is up the hill behind their retail store. Nice views and easy access to paddling and the local beach made this a nice place to call home. There is an organic grocery store right next door and a yummy breakfast/lunch spot about 200 yards up the road.

IMG_1992I spent my first two days doing runs on the lower Slocan – trying out different Jackson Kayak boats and refining skills. The water is bath-tub warm and the run takes about 2 hours if you are working/playing your way down or about 45 minutes if it’s just a straight paddle through. With lots of people around to paddle there seemed to be always someone to paddle with, the only challenge being shuttles. Its about a 4km shuttle back up to the put in. The Slocan river is a very popular float trip with people putting in at lots of different places and then taking out at Crescent Valley, where the kayakers then put in. Selling inflatable inner tubes is big business here!

That night a kootenay style storm rolled in and I found myself hunkered down in my tent for 2 hours (after I had retrieved it from across the field where it blew as the winds came up out of no-where) with the rain and wind just howling. Lots of lightning and thunder going on. Some spot fires got started up and down the valley and there was a lot of Wildland Fire traffic that evening.

Day three was a run on Wilson Creek with “the boys”. It was a fabulous instructor/student ratio of 4:1 as everyone was up for some fun that day. It was my first real creeking experience and definitely overwhelming. What the boys thought of as simple and straight forward, I found scary and big. I am super proud of having made it through with only one swim and a few well timed rolls and feel much more confident about my ability to paddle creeks. Our upcoming trip to Ecuador with Endless Adventures International will add a lot more creeking experience as well.

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We capped off the day with some swimming and cliff jumping at “Paradise”, an area just below one of the dams on the Kootenay river. This was another stretch as I went off the 10 foot rocks. “The boys” well outdid me with flips and dives off the 30 foot rocks!

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Day four was a day of exploring around Nelson and Castlegar in the morning and then a lazy afternoon spent in the lounge swing getting some work done… AGAIN – LOVE MY JOB 🙂

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That night the winds picked up again and sparked up a small fire that was smouldering about 4km up the valley. The internet and radio were calling for an evacuation but no one really seemed to be going anywhere. After much driving up and down the road to check things out I opted to pack up my tent and sleep in my car outside the Endless Adventure shop so I could leave quickly if it continued to grow. That lasted about 2 hours until I was waaaay too hot and uncomfortable and drove back up the hill and set everything back up again in the dark! Hunter would have loved to see all the Wildland Fire helicopters and planes flying around…

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Day five was spent exploring 2 of the park and play spots down near Castlegar and starting to learn some play boating skills. I have NEVER rolled that much in one day and was exhausted by lunch time! Playboating is way harder than it looks and will definitely take some more practice and immersion for me. I will be in search of more warm water for continued lessons…

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To get some confidence back I did two more runs on the Lower Slocan and practiced eddie turns, side surfing and rock boofing before getting back into the car and driving 8 hours back to Calgary on Day six.

Crazy busy six days that were jammed with all the fun I could find. Very little stress as I was only worried about myself, which was a gift in itself! We will hopefully be back next summer as a family as this is a great place for any and all paddlers.

24 Hours of Disney

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We caught up with Patricia, Simon, Isabella and Charlotte on the last 2 days of their Disney vacation last week and had a blast… We spent 24 hours at Disney and didn’t step foot in any of the theme parks, but still felt the magic!

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We drove from Grandma Liz & Grandpa Bob’s on Friday morning and got to the land of dreams at lunch time. Disney has a full range of accommodations to fit different budgets. With this being a quick visit, we opted to stay at the Disney Campground, also known as Fort Wilderness. We’ve stayed there before in their cabins and are impressed with the amenities.

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We got ourselves checked in and received our “mickey bands” – they hold all of your reservation information and are used to charge things etc. Totally impressive how they are personalized, both in the box and on the back of the band.

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Then it was off to Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian Hotel to find the rest of the gang!

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It was great for Hunter to have some quality Cousin time as he is starting to miss friends from home. The kids enjoyed the pool all afternoon, even though it was a bit of a cool day. They even participated in some of the pool side games.

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We did the luau dinner & show at the Polynesian Hotel and the kids enjoyed the dancing, although it was a bit late for Charlotte… Hunter’s favourite part was the fire twirler – it was impressive!

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The hotel was decorated so beautifully for christmas that we had to take photos of everyone.

Hunter spent the night at the hotel having a sleepover and Tim and I headed back to the Campground, after a short contemplation of just sleeping in the camper where it was parked at the Polynesian parking lot. One of the amazing things about the Disney Campground this time of year is the festive decorations that are put up by individual campsites. This is not a Disney corporate thing. We took a walk around to enjoy the lights and I was in awe of it all.

Saturday morning the kids all hit up a character breakfast with Aunt Patricia and it was a wonderful treat for Hunter, who is still a major fan of the characters. We were able to fit in another swimming session before it was time to say goodbye.

We are looking forward to seeing them in March in California for another cousin meet-up!

In search of manatees in central Florida

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Last year we came to visit Grandpa Bob and Grandma Liz at their place in central Florida for an early Christmas. Grandpa took us out canoeing to some local spots to check out the Manatees and it was a HIT. Over 3 outings, we probably saw and experienced over 100 Manatees. With that memory in mind, we were all very excited to come back this year!!

The two local hot spots are the Weeki Wachee springs and the Crystal River springs. When the ocean and air temps start to cool down in the winter, the manatees head inland to these springs as they are a constant 72f.

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Unfortunately for us this year, the air temps are warm (sitting up in the 80s during the day and only dropping down to the high 60s at night) so the manatees are staying out in the ocean. We got lucky and found this mom and baby headed out towards the ocean as we were leaving Crystal River Springs.

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We took 2 trips to the Weeki Wachee as it is only about 20 minutes away. We park down stream at Rogers park and then paddle up the river about 45 minutes. With no manatees to be found, we decided to make the most of the hot weather and enjoyed the rustic swimming park features…

Our total Manatee count this year was 3 – a definite drop!!! We felt we should at least get a token photo to remember our canoe adventures by 🙂

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Hog Spring Trail, Utah – In search of a waterfall…

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After our 2 1/2 hour wandering at Leprechaun Canyon, we decided to check out swimming hole at Hog Spring Recreation Area. In the guide book it was written up as an easy 30 minute hike along a stream to a waterfall and swimming hole – perfect for Hunter’s tired legs and our sweaty selves…

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The “quick hike” and the “easy trail” parts didn’t quite pan out – we were 2 1/2 hours round trip with alot of bush wacking and wrong turns through some beautiful scenery.

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hunter hog spring pour overWe also decided that the water was a little to green and cold to swim in! Oh well – it was a good idea 🙂

Back to the truck for a well needed late lunch and cool drinks for everyone.

 

 

The long and winding road to Tofino…

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The drive from Qualicum Beach to Tofino is only a 2-3 hour drive but it is a super windy one… We had a midway pitstop in Port Alberni where we were please to discover a Canadian Tire (new camper battery) and a Walmart (new transport truck toy set for Hunter with his allowance).

We then  continued on the journey with hopes of a pit stop at the amazing Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park as we’ve been working on identifying trees and the attributes of forests as part of our geography work. Unfortunately we are tooooo big to park in the very small pull offs so we had to keep driving. Hopefully there will be less cars on our way back across the island and we can get in a small hike.

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About 30km before the Tofino/Ucluelet junction road there is this amazing outcrop of rocks in a river. We discovered it last year when we came in October and were determined to stop again this year, with Tim having a vision of it being a fun swimming hole. At a minimum, the rocks are a great opportunity to take a break from the car and get out and do some scrambling around. Nice round bolders with fairly sticky surfaces makes for a really fun play time. The water temperatures weren’t bad and with the sun beaming down on us, you warmed up quite quickly. Even I got in at the very end…