ultimate canoe and kayak adventures

Ultimate Canoe and Kayak Adventures
Ultimate Canoe and Kayak Adventures
Ultimate Canoe and Kayak Adventures
Ultimate Canoe and Kayak Adventures
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  • Eugene Buchanan, Jason Smith & James Weir

    Canoe & Kayak Adventures 100 Extraordinary Paddling Experiences

    ULTIM

    ATE

  • 4CANOEING

    5

    Drifting on EnglanDs DEEpEst lakEThe beautiful and peaceful waters of Wastwater exertan almost irresistible pull to visiting canoe paddlers.

    Wastwater, Englands deepest lake, is situated in the wild and remote valley of Wasdale in the South Western fells of Englands Lake District. So stunning is the vista, on a sunny and windless day, as you look down the lake towards Dale Head, that it was awarded the prestigious title of Britains Favourite View. With a resume like that youd think that the surface of Wastwater would be crammed with boats, but not so. Even though there is a limit of only twelve canoes allowed on the lake at one time, this is a moot point as its remote location means that, even in the holiday season, it very rarely gets more than a few canoes on it at one time and the likelihood is that you will have the entire lake to yourself.

    The secluded location is one of the features that is most appealing to paddlers. The lake is isolated, unspoilt, tranquil, and a truly beautiful area in the Lake District National Park. At nearly three-miles long, almost half-a-mile wide and, with a depth of 258 feet, Wastwater, at its deepest is below sea level. Add to this the fact that it is overlooked by Englands highest mountain, Scafell Pike at 3,210 feet, and it becomes an area of dramatic extremes that cries out to be explored by canoe.

    As soon as you set off youll feel the power of the location, the mountains that surround you and the dramatic Lakeland. The mirror-flat water is crystal clear, but suddenly the lakebed appears to drop away rapidly. The water beneath you becomes inky black and you can only imagine how far above the very bottom you are.

    The peace and solitude of Wastwater, coupled with the characteristic brooding feel of the valley, is a huge contrast to some of the more popular of the Lake Districts lakes. Wordsworth described Wastwater as long, stern and desolate and as you glide across its surface youll understand how this landscape has inspired painters, poets, climbers, and now canoeists, over the centuries.

    Access to the lake is easy and there are several places where you can park a vehicle and easily carry your canoe down to the waters edge. How you choose to explore the lake is up to you, but a circumnavigation will let you take in every aspect. There are a few places along the shoreline that lend themselves to a stop for a well earned cup of coffee, but the gravel beaches next to Low Woods at the south western end of the lake make an ideal lunch spot as you can tuck in to your refreshments while gazing down the length of Wastwater at That View.

    ExperienceNovice

    Getting thereA road runs along one shore of Wastwater, so it is easily accessed by car. In This LocationThe Lake District has an abundance of water but unfortunately not all of the lakes have access. Derwent Water, Windermere and Ullswater, however, all have good access

    On landThe Lake District is a haven for those who love the outdoors. If youre feeling fit why not combine a paddle on Englands deepest lake with a walk to the top of its highest mountain?

    Useful infoThere is a National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) campsite at the Wasdale Head (019467 26220) end of the lake. At the other end is the Wasdale Hall Youth Hostel (0870 770 6082), also owned by the National Trust

  • 4CANOEING

    5

    Following the Call oF the loonCanadas Bowron Lake Circuit is a challenging and rewarding wilderness experience.

    The Bowron Lake National Park is a large wilderness area situated on the western slopes of the Caribou Mountain Range and is home to the world-renowned Bowron Lake Circuit. In 1926, thanks to the work done by Frank Kibbee and Thomas and Eleanor McCabe, the British Columbia provincial government classified this area as a game reserve. In 1961 it was reclassified as a park and named after John Bowron, a gold rush pioneer who became the Gold Commissioner at Barkerville, now a famous restored gold rush town of the 1860s.

    The park is a beautiful region of mountains, lakes and rivers. And the canoe circuit is formed by an amazing series of geological faults, which have combined to create a 72-mile rectangular circuit of lakes and rivers, connected by portage trails. All nestled between pristine Canadian wilderness and overlooked by breathtaking snow-covered peaks. The park circuit can be paddled from May through to October and a typical trip takes between seven to ten days. Highlights include: Wolverine Bay, Lake Isaac, the Caribou River, Sandy Lake, Spectacle Lake and Bowron Lake. You can bring in your own canoe and gear or there are several outfitters in the area that can provide you with everything that you will need for a successfully trip, including a portage trolley for transporting your laden canoe over the six miles of portage trails along the way.

    Being in a National Park means that there is some red tape to get through before you head out into the wild, including having your loaded canoe weighed by the Park Rangers. There is a limit on how much you can carry in the boat while portaging (60lbs) and anything over this must be carried on your back. This is to help keep the portage trails in good order. Once youve got your permit, loaded your kit and completed the checks, its out onto the water. Despite the large numbers of people completing the circuit each year its vast area means that youll be enjoying peace and solitude almost from the off.

    With a fully laden canoe the first portage-filled day will be tough, but as the miles go by, so you will settle into a routine and the cares and worries of everyday life will fall away as you become one with the rhythms of nature. Rise, breakfast, load, paddle, portage, load, paddle, dinner cooked on a crackling campfire followed by contented sleep under a canopy of stars.

    Wildlife is all around you on the Bowron Circuit and its common to see bear (black and grizzly), osprey, moose, beaver, caribou and otters. And as you settle down for your first nights sleep, in one of the well-appointed campsites, the haunting call of the Loons ringing out across the silent water will leave you in no doubt that the Bowron Lakes Circuit is a never-to-be-forgotten paddle on the wild side.

    ExperienceIntermediate (Novice with guide)

    Getting thereBowron Lake Provincial Park is located in the Cariboo Mountains in central British Columbia, and Wells on highway 26 is the nearest community. International visitors can fly in to Calgary or Vancouver. Then you can catch either a train or internal flight to Quensel. From here it is about 90km to Wells and a further 30km to the park

    Other paddling If 10 days on the circuit isnt enough for you then theres so much to explore and discover that you can do any number of day, or overnight trips on the Parks waters

    On landSwimming, hiking in nearby mountains or fishing for bull, rainbow and lake trout and the famous kokanee salmon. A visit to the historic town of Barkerville is also well worth doing if you have the time

  • 4whitewater

    5

    Mountain MadnessNepals Madi Kola river dishes up non-stop adrenalinefuelled whitewater adventure under the snow-capped sentinels of the Himalaya.

    The mountain Kingdom of Nepal has long held a place in the hearts of river running whitewater kayakers and its mountain valleys are home to some of the best multi-day rivers in the world. Many of Nepals great rivers are of the big volume, huge wave variety but nestled over in the Annapurna range is the Madi Kola, a beautiful and remote mountain stream that offers steep boulder gardens and pushy whitewater to test the thrill seeking whitewater adventurer.

    The base from which to embark on a Madi trip is Nepals second city of Pokhara, where you can arrange your transport and porters for the trek in. You can get to the start of the trail leading to the Madi by using a local taxi, if you can find one with a roof rack, but its better to hire a jeep that can get you and your kayak further up the trail. As you bump along a riverbed with water splashing all around it already feels like a mini-expedition. When the jeeps have reached the trailhead its time to shoulder the backpacks, give the kayaks to the porters and hit the trail. Kayakers are usually, by nature, a self-sufficient breed, so it may feel a little odd to have someone else carrying your boat. But for the local porters it is a way of life and how they make a living to provide for their families, so its important to contribute to the local economy as much as possible. As you climb the trail the sheer beauty of the place will overcome you. The Annapurna glisten in the bright blue sky above and tempting glimpses of the river glitter from within the steep sided gorge below. You may even see the local honey hunters hanging from cliffs as they gather honey from huge combs that are made by giant cliff bees. Finally youll reach the village of Souda and this is where most river trips start from, although it is possible to go higher still. Once afloat on the Madi Kola it just doesnt stop, continuous clean, sweet rapids one on top of another for hours on end.

    At the end of that first day, you can camp at the rivers edge, or stay at a riverside tea house where you can enjoy a tray of dhal bhat washed down with gallons of sweet black chai, before lying awake all night buzzing off the days excitement and the huge amount of sugar youve imbibed with the tea!

    The following morning youll rise under the shadow of towering and majestic Himalayan giants, before once again enjoying a day of non-stop, exhilarating whitewater action. The journeys end lies at Karputar where youll emerge from the

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