I love the water. Whether swimming, boating, paddling or just splashing around, I find that I am happiest when my feet are a little bit wet. Lucky for me there’s a variety of activities to discover on the province’s many rivers and streams. To help get you started, here's a taste of some of my recent adventures in northern Alberta.
Poker on the Water
About two hours north of Edmonton, the little town of Athabasca was abuzz with more than 100 participants preparing to launch 30 jet boats and pick up a card from five destinations along 130 km (81 mi) of river – all with the hope of being dealt a cash-winning hand. It was curiosity that brought me to check out the annual Jet Boat Poker Rally. By the evening I was sinking my teeth into barbequed Alberta beef on a bun and listening to local live music with some of my new best friends.
Alberta is teeming with river lovers and I got to meet a few of them on my last trip along the picturesque Pembina River, about an hour east of Edmonton. The impromptu water fight that erupted amongst my fellow tubers only added to the fun. We hollered and howled while drifting leisurely along the river, courtesy of Pembina River Tubing. Floating through a 62 m (203 ft) gorge atop an inflated piece of rubber in my lifejacket made me realize I was experiencing a viewpoint reserved for a lucky few.
Battling a Bull Trout
Last weekend, the fishing guide I booked for the day took me to the Kakwa River, one of the most secluded waterways just north of Grande Cache. A fish the size of my right arm was trying to claim the grayling I had just hooked. The mighty bull trout was the biggest I'd seen but there was no need for competition here. An endless stream of Rocky Mountain whitefish, brook trout and arctic grayling tempted my line till dusk. I packed out several trophies on that expedition.
Paddling in Peace
There's something undeniably Canadian about awakening wrapped in a blanket, nestled in a cozy cabin deep in the woods. The chef at Rocky Mountain Escape, near the town of Hinton in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies, prepared a hearty picnic lunch for me to take on the canoe. I set off with a group to paddle the interpretive trip in William A. Switzer Provincial Park, which took us through Gregg, Jarvis, Cache, Blue and Graveyard lakes. Our relaxed pace allowed me to take in the fragrant pine, spot an eagle circling above the water and recognize the call of a nearby moose. After the two-hour expedition I'd worked up quite an appetite and that evening the chef’s home cooked dinner didn’t disappoint. What’s not to like?