Home Sweet Home
Over the past two months I had the opportunity to visit the tropical destinations of Costa Rica and Hawaii. On both trips I packed along a couple of inflatable boards to take advantage of the warm water paddling. While both trips were amazing in their own ways, they helped me further appreciate our local area and all of the paddling opportunities available to us. Here are a few I have gotten to this past year:
1) Cultus Lake: I consider this my “home lake” as I do the vast majority of my paddling and run most of my programs here. It stretches about 4.5kms across from Main Beach to Lindell Beach or about 12.5kms if you were to circumnavigate it, keeping relatively close to the shoreline. This lake is absolutely beautiful when it’s glassy and can be a ton of fun when the winds pick up. There are plenty of places to launch from around the lake, and all have their perks. As the weather continues to warm up, boat traffic will be the number one hazard. Other than that, winds and cooler temperatures are factors to take into consideration prior to getting on the water.
2) Vedder River: River SUP has been increasing in popularity and our Vedder River is a great place to get into it. There are calmer stretches below the Vedder Bridge and some more hectic, challenging sections above it. If you’re unfamiliar with paddling on the river or aren’t 100% confident with your SUP skill set, then don’t take the risk. Take the Advanced Flat water and River SUP skills courses to make sure you’re ready for the river environment.
3) Chilliwack Lake: This lake is a little more out of the way than Cultus but is well worth the extra drive. If you were to paddle from the main boat launch on the north end directly across, it would be about twice as long as Cultus and has much less boat traffic. The winds here can be a challenge and the water is cold so act accordingly and pack supplies for your trip. Tie downs are standard on our inflatable boards and suction cup cargo nets can be used to secure gear to our rigid boards. SealLine dry bags are awesome for taking supplies with you on these types of paddles (available at Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors in Chilliwack). Always better to err on the side of caution and be over prepared for those “just in case” situations in the outdoors.
4) Lindeman Lake: I imagine you could do this with a rigid board if you had the determination but hiking in an inflatable is much easier and more enjoyable. An inflatable all packed up is about 30lbs so it will add to your workout on the hike in. Once you hit the lake though, the extra effort will be well worth it. The lake itself is small but the views you get from the water are unreal. With this hike becoming more and more popular, getting yourself on the water well enable you to beat the crowds and take in views you can’t get from the shoreline. This is one I will be doing again for sure.
5) Harrison Lake: Harrison is the largest lake in our area, stretching approximately 60kms from end to end. Due to its size, the hazards of colder water and stronger winds are more prevalent here. That being said, there is some amazing paddling to be had on this lake. Two of the easiest locations to launch from are right in Harrison Hot Springs Village or from the Green Point day use area in the Sasquatch provincial park. The big water feel of the lake, once you pass Echo Island, can have you thinking you’re paddling along the coast and both the east and west sides of the lake have waterfalls that can be paddled to. This one requires some trip planning and packing gear along with you is a must. Round trip from Green Point to Rainbow falls runs about 13kms (depending which shoreline you stick to) and leaving from in front of the Harrison Hotel to paddle around Echo Island and back is about 17kms.
6) Harrison River: Despite having “river” in its name, the currents that can be experienced along the upper portion of this waterway are fairly mild for the most part. Having said that, I prefer to set up a shuttle with the cars and paddle one way with the flow from the lake right through to Kilby. During late fall when the salmon start their run, this area plays host to some world class wildlife viewing. Pure Life Paddle Boards and Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors both offer tours for this stretch of water to check out the salmon, the bald eagles and all the other critters that call this place home that time of year (seals, river otters, etc.). Great paddle year round, but exceptional paddle during the fall. This is another paddle where taking extra gear/provisions is required.
7) Hayward Lake: I finally got out to paddle this lake in late “winter” earlier this year. The lake sits just below Stave Lake and you can actually paddle right up to the dam. Because this area has been flooded, one of the coolest parts of paddling here is getting to paddle through all the dead trees poking out of the water. We stuck to the shorelines and ended up paddling close to 14kms around the lake. The area has a couple of great spots close to the parking lot to launch from and because of all the snags, you don’t have to contend with much boat traffic. The usual hazards of cooler temperatures and winds can play a factor in your paddle, as can any hydro activity and submerged logs. Check the appropriate websites before you go and watch where you paddle!
8) Other notable paddling location between Hope and Squamish – Hicks Lake, Kawkawa Lake, Pitt Lake, Stave Lake, Alouette Lake, White Rock (many beaches to launch from), English Bay, Jericho Beach, Deep Cove, Howe Sound, and so many more…we’re spoiled!