White Water Rafting down the Bow River

Just like the title says, Megan and I headed out to Canmore this weekend to do a bit of whitewater rafting.

The weekend started as many others do, on the road right after work. Having packed the night before, we headed out of the city at around 5:30 and made our way to Canmore. The plan was to drive straight to Canmore, check into the hotel and then grab some dinner at a local pub.

Megan headed this adventure up and handled all the booking and such after she did some research. Her passion for whitewater is much like my passion for fishing so I was eager to have her show me how fun it was. The only thing was that we were pretty much guaranteed some rapids on the Bow; unfortunately the same can’t be said for my fishing as of late.

Megan found a super deal on the net which pretty much had a hotel night at the Ramada and a half day of rafting the Bow for 99 dollars per person. The regular rate for just the rafting tour was between 80 and 90 dollars alone so this sounded like a super deal to me. We booked an additional hotel night cost full rate but considering the other deal we got we were not about to start complaining.

Rafting was scheduled for one the next afternoon so we packed out bag with our dry clothes the night before and turned in after a few pints at the rose and crown in Canmore. The weather was super on Saturday and after the second best continental breakfast I have ever had we headed to the front desk to get everything sorted and figure out where we had to be. Megan looked at the tickets and they had given us the wrong ones. After a few phone calls to the Canadian Rockies Adventure Center we were sorted. They had had a problem with the people whose land they cross to get to the river and had to do some work renegotiating their agreement so we had to reschedule for Sunday morning at 8 am. This left us with the afternoon to do pretty much whatever.

Luckily I had brought my fishing gear and was more than happy to try my hand at fishing the local steams. The thing about the streams in Canmore is that they are not very easy to get to. The Bow River, Canmore Creek and Policeman’s Creek run directly through town but I just couldn’t seem to get to where I wanted, this was quite frustrating and the fact that I didn’t catch anything only compounded these feelings of mine. I did manage to get a line in the bow but after a few fly changes and two hungry stomachs we decided to head back into town to find somewhere local to eat.

After we were significantly fed we headed back to the hotel and napped a bit. Megan mentioned she wanted to go into Banff to walk around and do dinner and we were planning to go to the grizzly house for some famous fondue. We rolled into Banff around six or so and much of downtown was blocked off. Turned out there was a road race going on for Banff’s Bikefest and we were treated to some racing action for the evening. After parking the car and walking over to the first turn a guy promptly fell off his bike. It could have been that he just got some of my bad bike vibes care of Victor and lost it on the corner, or maybe he was just going to fast. Here is a video of the Men’s race, completing their first lap.

After walking around for a bit and grabbing a coffee we headed for some dinner and after a wonderful four course feast we headed back to the hotel.

Eight AM is a terrible time to get up for anything. I’m not really a morning guy so I was a touch crabby. We got to the Adventure Center and signed our lives away before being taken to the river. On the bus ride there Megan felt we were going the wrong way but once we got to the muster point and got wet-suited up it was all good.

Boats were organized into 8 people teams with one guide. On this expedition we had 4 boats in the group with around 40 people. After some safety instructions e set out down the river and our guide Kyle had us do some exercises and went over the commands. The whole time they were explaining things I kept looking up at the canyon walls, I kept expected lines of Indian braves watching us like in the movies but the braves never came so we set off. things were pretty choppy to start out with but he promised that things would get wet right around the next corner. Dubbed the “Oh-Shit Corner”, it was just that. It’s when you get your first look at what’s coming and I really didn’t know what was going to happen. We made it through and after a bit all four boats pulled over to a nice eddy and hiked up some cliffs to jump off. We both jumped off and got a real wake up as soon as we went under! it was really cold and “refreshing” as the guides put it. When we set off again there were a few more sections to go through. I really can’t describe it, cause it was a huge mix of nervous excitement, adrenaline and cold water, and defiantly something everyone should try. I didn’t get to take any photos so we did order some from the office when we got back.

The trip was closed out with Kyle telling us that Legends of the Fall was filmed in this area and we would see the rock Brad Pitt sits on in the end, which was a pretty cool bit of Alberta film trivia. I asked him where they dumped the car into the river but he couldn’t begin to imagine where it might be.



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