Paddle 1, Bleriot Ferry to Drumheller

Tuesday, our first day of kayaking on the Red Deer River. We are to put in at the campsite near the Bleriot ferry and get out at Newcastle Beach in Drumheller. G and I had to hunt for the ‘beach’ in Drumheller but with a little help from a couple of locals we were able to drop off the pick up vehicle. Once back at camp we set up the kayaks at the river’s edge. We launched the boats and the day began.

The river is flowing nicely and we start at a reasonable clip. The wind is from the SE which is right on the bow so even though the current is enough to keep us moving downstream we all increase our paddling power. As we go we all talk about the increase in effort and figure it must be an unconditioned response to the resistance of the wind.

The view from the water is different than from anywhere on land. When Debbie and I are in some foreign city we will ride the water bus or taxi, if one is available, just to get that different perspective.

Travel by kayak is much slower than in an auto on the highway. It is easy to take in the surroundings and see things that would normally be a blur. The bright green reedy shore foreground and the striated cliffs of the badlands behind make for stunning scenery as we drift by. We are in a ‘civilized’ section of the river so there are a few houses that dot the banks and every once in a while a busy roadway parallels our path. Not exactly wilderness but that is quite hard to find now-a-days.

Not to many animals on today’s journey. We do see quite a few birds. There is an osprey or two circling high above us. Maybe checking to see if we would make a suitable lunch. They seem to be enjoying the strong wind, swooping and soaring without flapping their wings even once. The next siting is two deer on the left bank (arty types). One slid down a short steep band and into the water. She swam the river and mounted the bank on our right. From a couple of meters above our heads she stood and watched us approach. Not spooked at all. When we got too close for comfort she ducked into the bush and disappeared. We spot another osprey fishing from such a height it is really only a dark silhouette against the deep blue sky.

Our new found diversion of kayak touring in physically a lot of work which in itself is good, but other than that it gives us a reason to explore the world near our home. It’s on the water, of which we are great fans, the ride is super smooth, and the movement is rhythmic and repetitive. A short time into each trip ones worldly concerns disappear and the state of Zen takes you over. You become one with our kayak and with the surroundings and it makes for a very pleasant way to spend the day. Alberta is big and there is a lot of territory to explore, it should keep us occupied for quite some time.

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