Problem: A hot summer day, and you’re dying to cool yourself off somehow.
Solution: Take a dip in the instantly refreshing 7°C waters of the Fraser River.
Obviously that wouldn’t be a sensible thing to do by yourself, but you can turn it into a half-day adventure by going on a whitewater rafting trip. There are several rafting companies located in the Valemount area, and we chose Stellar Descents just west of Tete Jaune Cache.
After the safety briefing it was off on the bus – already sporting our very form-fitting neoprene suits – to the launch site. Once all bundled up with helmet and lifejacket, we departed from the banks of the Fraser with a magnificent view of a cloudless Mt. Robson in the background.
The first ten or so minutes of the trip are gentle, and allow rafters the chance to get used to the boat and how to properly paddle. Then we hit the first moderate rapids, which got everyone into the rafting spirit and already provided a few cool splashes of glacial water. After several more challenging rapids (ranging from 1-3+, on a scale out of 6), it was time to pull over the boat about half-way through the trip. The reason: Rearguard Falls, a whopping class 5 waterfall that even the guides treat with significant respect.
After hauling the raft up a little incline we had a chance to explore the newly installed viewing platform over the falls, which is literally suspended over the water and takes visitors as close to the thundering – and earthshaking – masses of water as possible. On the other side of Rearguard Falls we climbed back onboard and were soon off into the wildest rapids of the trip, causing the raft to rise and fall, sway back and forth, and washing over us a number of times. After the last rapids of the trip are navigated, the waters become much calmer and we were allowed to jump into the Fraser for a refreshing dip. Mind you, when it comes to glacial water the term “refreshing” is a bit of an understatement, but on a hot summer day like the day we went it is definitely worth trying out.
Soon thereafter we were back on shore, loading the raft onto the trailer and heading back to where we had started. And just like that three hours had passed – hours in which you experience the unique feeling of complete concentration as your mind focuses entirely on the roaring waters ahead of you. Such intense focus is almost meditative – until a swell of icy water hits you in the face and catapults you right back into paddling for what it’s worth!
River rafting in the Thompson Okanagan region
Originally posted on HelloBC.com by Traveller13 on June 26,2010