Sharing this page from my blog as a post, so it can be tagged for people looking for paddling experiences in BC.
PADDLING BC 2012 to 2018
Shocking that a new sport has won my heart over my life long passion of waterskiing, wakeboarding and even my expertise in barefoot crashing. (Master of the crashing part in barefooting, not the excellent barefooting. These are little feet I wear)
Stand Up Paddling is as gentle or as aggressive as one wants to be… from challenging myself to paddle completely noiselessly on a sleepy backwood lake to looking forward to tackling some waves, oceans, rivers. On a board. On the water. Excellent gentle full body workout. Nice. Works for me.
So, here I am making notes of where I’ve been and what was cool about it. (I want to remember where to/ where not to head back to in what I expect is going to grow into an adventurous adventure for me!)
Hyas Lake: Bring 5 year old socialite granddaughter and soon everyone in all 5 cabins know each other and share kayaks and fish. Small and pretty fishing lake. Just an hour away from Kamloops. But the rough road in has you thinking ‘wilderness’ in no time. A forestry campsite to put in, or stay at Hyas Lake Resort… awesome clean rustic log cabins. $85 a night. Sweet. 250) 319-1404 On a rainy day, they even put up a tarp so everyone could gather around the fire pit and stay dry.
Not in cell range, but they have a phone. (This is something I need to consider being analyphylactic to wasps)
Heard there’s Moose to be spotted. Beautiful clear water.. in warmer weather would be great for a swim.
McConnell Lake: Close to home, in cell range. I’m a regular here. Very small. Nice hiking trail. Most interesting reason to go back: Four sunken wood boats in, and near, the small bay left of parking area.. need waterproof camera! Also, discovered a use for the ankle strap on board.. great little tie up rope to let board float while I explored the trail a bit.
McArthur Island: In high water, put in past the butterfly garden bridge. A short section there that makes you feel like you’re in the jungle.. few signs of ‘civilization’ to be seen. For a 5 minute from home paddle, refreshing. Headed onto the river, but it’s flood year, and paddling hard I didn’t even move. Ha! Can’t wait for river to calm.. lots of great paddling to happen there this year!
Johnson Lake July 28 2012..
My first outing with a group of paddlers! I can see a community building… such a kindred love for the sport, for nature, for play. The lake is sooo frickin’ beautiful, especially once you are on the water. Teals, turquoise, clear…white sand below. Feels like the caribbean, just like the lodge promotes on their site. We put in at the Forestry campsite. Take left off of Agate Bay Road, signed with “Johnson Lake Resort.” Take a left at next sign for “Johnson Lake Resort.” But don’t turn at the third sign, keep going straight and you’ll reach the Forestry campsite. (You can also put in at Johnson Lake Resort. It’s confusing.. drive past the resort to find their entrance to the ‘big lake”… they charge $2 to launch.)
From Johnson Lake resort write up: Known as “The Caribbean of the North”, Johnson Lake is known
as one of the clearest and most beautiful lakes in the Province. At 3,800 feet
elevation, it is over 5 kms. long, is approximately 200 feet at its deepest, and
is unique among lakes in BC
Harrison Hot Springs: didn’t take my board!! Gotta get me a roof rack that I can lock my board to, as there was nowhere to store it. Harrison is a large, curious and haunting lake. Apparently the storms are huge.. the local rental guy won’t rent boards because he figures he’d need a rescue boat for each board rented. Ha! There are hotsprings all along the lakeshore.. it would be interesting to find them by paddleboard.. perhaps wiser to explore by boat first given the storms?
Lac Le Jeune: You know, it’s not the prettiest lake in the world.. and not much inspired me to go cruising the shorelines.. but then, I was warned of leaches when I first arrived. Definately not on my list of favourite things. But in the middle there were no weeds, and it was warm and a perfect place to fall in when I tried a yoga move. And the granddaughters liked the beach.. that was the main reason for choosing this lake.. a little place to play in the sand.
Adams Lake…. Brennan Creek. Kind of a ‘best kept secret’ campsite and lake overall. Sooo sooo sweet. My favourite part boarding on this trip: the waves! Having been a serious waterskiier, the search for calm is endless. (although i love a good storm while in the boat!) Since I got the paddleboard, I’ve only found calm. Peaceful, serene, nice for my current healing journey, but the yearning to play in waves always there. Finally got to play in rollers, and I tell ya, I adored it! Next year when I’m strong again, watch out waves, I’m coming at you! And at Adams. This is a definate ‘go back to’ place. Campsite is non-reservable, and apparently there’s more further up the lake which I plan to go to. (one has islands near) There’s picnic tables, fire pit, firewood not provided, cheap.. but they only collect Thursday through Sunday. So since we were there Monday to Wednesday, there was nowhere to pay! There’s also ants. Must remember something to bring to deal with that… what? Salt around the tent? They didn’t get into the tent but it was concerning. Chipmunks spent all of their time throwing pine cones down, so one must be careful where to put the tent. ha!
Thompson River: Across the road from my home is the Thompson River. In the middle is a large island. I’ve wanted to paddle the river since I got the board, but very high water and being on chemo made me hesistant of the currents. River is lower, chemo was happening the next day, and I was desparate to get out on the board. It was just a little ways, after all. It was a great paddle… delighted to have finally done it. Surprised by currents which switched directions three times in the crossing. Island is a delight and I think I just might go paddle camping there. What a good test place for packing the board up for a girl currently on chemo… close, can call for what I need if my fuzzy brain needs to. The crossing back was curious.. a great wind came up and paddling standing was a lot of work. Paddling sitting went more smoothly and I loved the waves crashing over the board. Clearly I”m a wave girl. Paddled into McARthur Island and took a rest, and thought I’d paddle out downstream a bit just for a little more fun. Well. The current became very strong.. as in paddling back, I wasn’t moving. Close to shore though, so I was able to walk the board along the edge to get back to the launch. Appreciative of people at the launch who both helped me unload and reload the board. So strange that ‘independant strong me’ now so easily asks for help! Can’t wait til more strength next year and more river paddling. This post is pretty funny about this day: Click here.
Pillar Lake: The lake is nice, not so big and only a couple of coves to explore. Full of fish and fallen trees and those are fun to explore. The highlights that made it so wonderful? Pillar lake resort, the cabin, my daughters and granddaughters, teaching them to fish and even from the paddleboard. .We didn’t catch anything but I so admired Evalee’s determination and both Evalee and Lainey’s casting skills. Also wonderful? My daughter’s brilliant puppet show and I paddled under the stars. That rocked! I did have to call out to one fishing boat..”Can you see me?” as he headed towards me. But he assured me he’d seen me. Here’s the website http://www.pillarlake.com/
Kamloops Lake at Cooney Bay: Close to home. A climb over logs to get to water. And slogging through calf deep mud to get the board in the water. We’re rather fortunate to have so many waterways so nearby. Not my favourite lake, but still, close to home for a quick outing.
Paul Lake: Handy to Kamloops, nice beach for kids, pretty for paddling. nice provincial camping ground, not my fav for some reason, but still worthy. If you go, be sure to paddle to the rock face… that has a bit of magic to it.
I’m updating only new places I’ve been. Gone back to’s so far include McConnell, Paul Lake, Adams Lake, Kamloops Lake on a windy day… practising the art of surfing of sorts!
Hornby Island: My first ever ocean paddling… amazing.
First off, the swells are so different from a lake. I found myself doing the “I’m one with the board, one with the water” to find my balance. I’m not overly Ohm-ish… but that’s worked for me slalom downhill skiing when I’ve been on an icy hill and am not skiing well. It’s worked when I’m pushing myself waterskiing. And it’s worked when I’ve ended up in a huge storm in my flatbottom tournament boat. It’s really taking a moment to connect the whole experience and it works. Certainly helped on the ocean,which was chilly and I didn’t want to fall in.
Next I noticed how intriguing and a bit scary it is to be able to see so clearly to the bottom with it’s array of rocks, starfish, other fish… and well, sea lions and whales. Yes, I’d spotted sealions and whales in the area, so as I paddled it was a bit freaky, yet fun in its adrenalin-inducing way, to see a dark spot looming in the water just ahead. I’d have that chat with myself, “you really ought to learn what to expect from sea lions and whales. Am I about to become a play thing?” As it turned out, the looming dark spots ended up being logs or rocks and I didn’t become a plaything.
Hornby Island is a top of the list place to return to… such a vast array of eclectic beaches/cliffs/ hikes/trees/cemetary/funky tiny mall/mostly organic/free trade store/freedom from ridiculous by-laws and rules that keep somewhere like Kamloops, say, so boring looking in comparison. It would be stunning to paddle around the whole island.
Cedar Lake, near Golden BC: Ya baby, paddled in the Rockies. Whole ‘nother door of extraordinary opened! Not going to recommend rushing off to Cedar Lake, though. We’d been hitting hot springs, but hadn’t paddled yet… so when we stopped in Golden for breakfast, where all the young adventurist type of people seem to live and hang out, I asked one of those
hot adventurist looking guys for recommendations. Was it my age or that I had little ones with me that he thought he better send me to a tiny super calm lake? ha ha! It was tiny, super calm, small sandy beach, but stunning with the rockies in the background, and I was just happy to have done a little paddling in the rockies. Then we went hiking to Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park. Stunning. The Rockies.. well, most everywhere in BC… no wonder people the world over want to come here.
Shumway Lake: Oh, the bittersweetness of it all. The day I sold my tournament boat was not a pretty day. Heck, I’m still grieving. So, on that day I thought I’d take this crying self to paddle a lake I’d never been to.. meant to go to Campbell Lake, but surprise surprise .. I got lost and ended up coming in a backway to Shumway Lake. Shumway is the local waterski and canoeing lake. I was involved in a big way when it began, and it’s possible my boat was the first tournament boat ever on it. So, I paddled the slalom course in honour of my boat.. once through as a ‘skier’ and once through as the boat. Otherwise, unless you’re grieving the loss of your tournament boat that used to ski here, Shumway is not recommended… it pretty much belongs to the two clubs involved there. And it’s not exactly the clearest water in the world.
Mahood Lake, Wells Grey Park: I took my two granddaughters, ages 2 and 6 on a four day camping trip into the wilderness of Mahood Lake. Only slightly crazy. The crazy part is that I’m analphylactic to wasps, etc… and there were definately wasps, etc. No cell service. But camp attendant had sattelite phone, and I let camping neighbours know to come if I called. Still, as brave as I like to think I am, I was a little anxious having two little ones and no other adult with me. The provincial park, as with all BC provincial parks, was lovely. Small. But a ridiculously nice playground for way out there. Outhouses. Store 1.5 hours away. The lake is beautiful, large, warm. Beach sandy and lots of shade. We three paddled but not great distances, as the wind was strong enough that too far may have made it hard to get back. All well and good for me. Responsibility for little ones, though, you know. Mosquitoes also bad.. reminding me that I truly was in the Cariboo. (You reach Mahood Lake via the Cariboo, as opposed to other Wells Grey locations via Clearwater) Still, armed with bug spray, I’d recommend this trip… as well as paddling any of the many lovely lakes along the way. I think a long paddle trip on this lake would be cool.
North Barrier Lake: Amazing how a paddleboard… well now TWO paddleboards… gets one exploring, as compared to having a tournament boat. Wanted to check out this lake for years. Day trip with daughter and granddaughters. So fun paddling with two boards and a picnic lunch! It’s a small lake, and really nothing extraordinary about it… but we enjoyed crossing to the far side, paddling in the shade, having lunch on the boards cuz the beach on the farside was pretty weedy. The Forestry campsite is large and nice enough and we really enjoyed the beach there. And on this day, I practised tricks. I think I ought to start a new fitness regime called….
“Tricks and Crashes”
Spinning board on it’s nose.
Spinning board on its tail.
Walking the length of the board.
Paddling without fin.
Oh, and I made a kite/sail… this is rather fun and funny.
…. . okay, must come up with more tricks than that. Ha ha!
Cultus Lake: Holy beautiful area! Grand trees, moss and massive ferns surrounding a lovely, not huge, but sweet lake. Once again, BC provincial campgrounds are outstanding. I’m amazed when I think how innovative and progressive BC was in saving all the land that they did way back in the 1920’s. Considering my town couldn’t think past its nose and gave up extraordinary river frontage to pulp mills and more recently to apartments… it is stunning to know somebody had the foresight and authority to recognize the value of protecting amazing forests and lakes in BC. Thanks for that. Cultus as you all probably know, is pretty busy. I’ve never been.. having made the assumption it must be insane there if insurance companies wouldn’t insure my boat to be on Cultus without paying higher premiums. When you have a massive private campsite, though, it doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap. The lake and beaches are busy, but once in awhile that ‘summertime tourist’ feeling is fun. I loved paddling into tiny coves with giant cedars hanging over and creating shade. (It was hot!) Loved the boat wakes, although I’d like to play on bigger ones! The wind comes up in the afternoon… and that was a great workout, and a lot of fun. My kite was funny… not sure I go faster with it… the wind can move that paddleboard pretty quickly on its own. Recommend Cultus if you want that beachtown feeling with a lot of natural beauty. Yup, we hit the waterslides, too!
2014 and 2015 Okanagan Lake: Peachland Trepanier beach 10km. Such great events to support Inspirehealth Integrative Cancer Care. First year, Evalee joined me, at age 6. She was such a trooper – kind of the hit of the event, and front and center lead-in for the Global News cameras! The next year, her mom, sister Lainey and I went. It was stormy. Evalee had a hard time and then felt bad about it. Lordy. They were all amazing.
Adams Lake: Brennan Creek meandered east to discover a lovely waterfall. This feels like wilderness. Paddled Adams a few times. Important to plan for storms! Bring enough water, food, etc in case you need to sit on the shore for hours. North/West? end of Adams is spectacular to paddle as well. Curious island with sandy beach. Lovely.
Pinantan Lake: Spent time house sitting – a nice little lake to paddle. Swimmable. Most interesting: A loon checking us out – under board.
I see I’m not very good at updating. Life has been a series of moves and changes and meds and new job and writing. BUT I HAVE PADDLED!
Heffley Lake – went several times as it was close to where I was living (in the oldest log cabin in Kamloops area!) Heffley is a great lake with options to paddle the big section into coves or to play in if you want to play in wind on a windy day OR small section to find calm and paddle through passages and around small islands. Watch for the Island FULL of eagles nests.
Johnson Lake – with Courtney and girls and SnackerJack’s first paddling trip. What a good dog. What a beautiful lake.
Shuswap around Copper Island. Special for me! and discovered why it is called Copper Island. After all these years.
InspireHealth Paddle – 2014 and 2015 Okanagan Lake: Peachland Trepanier beach 10km. Such great events to support Inspirehealth Integrative Cancer Care. First year, Evalee joined me, at age 6. She was such a trooper – kind of the hit of the event, and front and center lead-in for the Global News cameras! The next year, her mom, sister Lainey and I went. It was stormy. Evalee had a hard time and then felt bad about it. Lordy. They were all amazing. Good for me to learn that paddling against the wind isn’t all that difficult, so less concern about getting stuck somewhere.
Clearwater Lake – amazing!
McConnell.. always handy. Cody learned to paddle and fell in on a cold day. Fun. Also news about McConnell: Now, weirdly, there are three sunken boats in the lake!
Updating … 2017, 2018
2017 – Allouette Lake. Hmm. Okay, so not going to scream Wow to paddling here, only because where I could find a place to put boards in, at a boat launch, the lake wasn’t that intriguing to paddle. EXCEPT that we had all my grandgirls and their moms together. I paddled across the lake with three of the littles and that was cool. A little sketchy when I thought the wind was coming up, but we managed, and had what we would have needed if a problem. Ie: water, ropes to keep boards together, etc.
HOWEVER, further up the lake at North Beach campsite, it would have been fabulous to explore a river, the fascinating rock formations of the lake, etc. BUT, a kilometer walk down a hill to get boards launched just wasn’t going to happen. Worth doing more research about the lake for paddle camping , perhaps?
2017 – excellent trip Paddle Camping up Clearwater Lake, camping gear on board, for three nights with nephew, Michael. It all worked! Parks fella said he’d never seen anyone camping with paddleboard only. Really? It was a beautiful trip.
On My Wish List:
- Pavillion Lake and the one near it…. look that up again.
- Johnson Lake – Done! July 28 2012.
- Pillar Lake – Done! September 2012
- The coastal waters.. JUST ORDERED A BOOK FOR KAYAKERS AND HIKERS for this area! Huzzah! (got it. clearly a lot to learn!)
- Shuswap to camp at Narrows and then paddle all the way back to Kamloops.
- Shuswap River
- Wells Gray – done 2014. go back to Clearwater Lake. Amazing. done again 2017
- Rockies / Yoho done
- Want to be pulled behind a boat with the SUP board!! That’ll be hysterical!
- I imagine I’ll see many rivers I want to try. How does one find out if they are safe enough? It would be rather discouraging to paddle some nice river and suddenly arrive at a waterfall.
- Kettle River
- Tofino so for sure.
- Turkey and Greece, natch.
- More upper Adams.. especially the place that apparently has islands nearby. done
- Similkameen River , near Keremeos.. a
- My river. DONE A LITTLE BIT!
- Murtle Lake http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/wg_murt/ done.
Planning my camping via paddleboard:
As in, camping gear on the board and off we go. Oh this is going to be an adventure!
July 2013 Update.. have everything I need. And other than food, clothes and the pack, it weighs 15lbs. How cool is that?
- Dry pack back pack. Thanks, Courtney and family!
- Tiny tent.
- Sleeping matt. Check
- Sleeping bag . check
- *Stove and cook pot… got a sweet tiny set
- cup, dish, bowl.. yup
- cutting mat… yup
- Fuel… yup
- first aid kit.. yup
- Tiny things needed …
- … cell phone. what about charger? or what if i just turn it off except for emergencies.. would that work? (Update: yup)
- ….fire sparker and lighter .. yup
- ….multi tool/ knife (incl screwdriver for fin)
- aeropress coffee maker
- I’m pretty much set. Best to just go.
- …cutlery Check
- …Flashlight and headlamp. check
- itty bitty book light. check
- * Water purifier. check.
- Lightweight water bag. check
- Toothbrush, paste
- Biodegradable dish and body and hair soap.
- More straps for better securing on the board. check
- * Waterproof camera would be nice.
- Something that could act like rain gear. Kamloopsians don’t own rain gear. Oh, I could get the $1 plastic raincoat thingies I used to buy for my kids ‘just in case’ and we seldom ever used. check.
- Rubber boots… have them for those chillier seasons. check.
- A SUP carrying strap coming soon… can it be altered to be a tie down for gear too?.. got it. Used it once. Really, that was a waste of money.
- safety strap
- life jacket.
- books, art /writing stuff.
- Epipens, drugs include advil.
- Food. OH man, how is that going to fit?
- Chair – super tiny. check