THINGS TO DO:
Boating & Swimming
I'm a waterbaby at heart and I'm always amazed at the variety of adventures I can find on Alberta's rivers and streams. Here's a taste of some of my bucket list adventures in northern Alberta.
Poker on the Water
This little northern town was abuzz with more than 100 participants preparing to launch 30 jet boats, pick up a card from five destinations along 130 kilometres of river with the hope of being dealt a cash-winning hand. Curiosity brought me to Athabasca 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 very friendly river lovers.
Down River by Tube
Alberta is teeming with river lovers. Water sprayed out of my nose as I snorted with laughter. River tubing wouldn't put me at risk of drowning but the water fight that had erupted amongst fellow tubers might. We hollered and howled as we drifted leisurely down the picturesque Pembina River, courtesy of Pembina River Tubing. Floating through a 62 metre 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
My guide for the day took me to the Kakwa River, one of the most remote 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 Hudson Bay blanket nestled in a rustic cabin deep in the woods. My hosts at Blue Lake Centre, Margriet and Hans Kamperman, prepared a bagged lunch for me and showed me to my canoe. I set off with a group who had just paddled the interpretive canoe trip in William A. Switzer Provincial Park through Gregg, Jarvis, Cache, Blue and Graveyard Lakes. The relaxed pace allowed me to take in the fragrant pine, spot an eagle circling above the water and recognize the mooing of a nearby moose. I've worked up quite an appetite that I know the Kamperman's home cooked buffet will more than satisfy tonight.