When life gives you lemons or a pandemic, you can make lemonade and paddle!
I, like many others, lost my business in 2020. Closing my personal training/yoga studio early on in May was a choice I made. The writing was on the wall; this virus wasn’t going anywhere and renting physical space to operate was a liability, not an asset.
Fortunately, our lives were not altered completely. I’m truly thankful my husband is still working, allowing us to continue on living in some capacity.
With two kids in university we’re now empty nesters and we’re excited to start to explore the world together. Since the world is closed, our own country is a great place to start!
FIRST TRIP OF THE YEAR!
My Badfisher arrived just before May Long Weekend. This was my Christmas Eve of the fishing and paddling world!
Our first trip was to Fawcett Lake to fish for walleye, which we both had tags for. Alberta designates some lakes for fishing and distributes tags based on size. You apply for them and are awarded depending on availability.
We loaded up our holiday trailer and watercraft. My husband paddles the Aquaglide Blackfoot Inflatable Fishing Kayak and we were set for a fun weekend ahead. For context, we own a boat--we could just pack up and launch. But there is something ethereal about fishing in the quiet of a lake moving around by your own paddle power.
The fishing was disappointing but there’s never a bad day if you’re paddling. I loved my new Badfisher from the start.
OFF TO INVERMERE!
The Badfisher and I completed the Flatwater SUP Instructor Course. It was the next step of progression. Finishing this course allowed me to progress into River 1 Instructor and to teach on the Athabasca River in the future.
Here, I met Reta Boychuk, a passionate SUP instructor who led me down a rabbit hole of whitewater SUP’ing. Let me reiterate this is something I NEVER saw myself doing: never say never to the river. I even said so out loud at the end of my course. Six days later, there I was.
What we use on whitewater is the Badfish Rivershred. This was a truly different experience and something that I really had to work hard at to even start to “get.” This was challenging for someone who learns quickly. It was frustrating, but also the most amazing growth in paddling I’ve ever experienced.
Between river sessions this summer I was able to take my own board on many adventures!
Portaging into The Lakeland Paddle Circuit 2020
FISHING, CAMPING AND EXPLORING
In July I went onto The Lakeland Paddle Circuit with a friend and her family. The Badfisher was capable of accommodating all the gear for four people and towing a paddle boarder behind me into strong headwinds. It was a grind but we had spectacular weather, which was rare for 2020 in Alberta: we had over 15 inches of rain this summer!
August was a big month. With the purchase of a jet boat it became accessible to paddle to The Grand Rapids, something my husband and I could enjoy together. Motor power and human power travelling 200 km down river together. Possibly the first SUP only paddle of this section of the river, that I’m aware of. The trip was hard, rewarding and something I strive to add more of into my paddle plans for 2021!
Finally, summer visited the boreal forest. It was spectacular! I spent a lot of time on the water and bonus--no bugs! A quick trip down to Kananaskis to paddle whitewater followed by a lot of river paddling around Athabasca.
Taking a group of friends down the river from Smith To Athabasca in late September with bluebird skies and perfect water conditions was a stellar way to start to wind down the paddling season.
IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL…
Halloween Fun!! Photo Credit: Bullfrog Images
Every week I assumed would be my last. It continued to be warm out. October and November offered up opportunities to paddle, which was unusual. With the help of my Level Six Drysuit I happily extended my paddle season. My last paddle before freeze-up was November 2.
My takeaway from this year was NEVER ASSUME.
2020 was a year that pushed my boundaries farther than ever. I did things I never imagined possible.
Sending You Love n SUP,
Advanced Flatwater SUP Instructor