1 In Adventure/ Canada/ Explore

17-Feet and a Heartbeat

Self-propelling into stunning surroundings notwithstanding, the most satisfying part of Girls Gone (into the) Wild 2019 may have been successfully lifting and securing the 17-foot tandem kayak rental back onto the roof of the car after a 20km home-stretch paddle. (The rental guys had been kind enough to do the initial load and tie down – while we watched carefully, made mental notes, and yes, took pictures for future reference, while lamenting that knot-tying was not a badge either of us had ever earned.)

Now, that’s not to say that the rest of the three-day, two-night kayak trip on Jasper’s Maligne Lake was unsatisfying.

After sitting in the parking lot at the crack of dawn pre-departure and willing the rain to stop, to no avail, it was satisfying to muster the mind-space required to leave the heated seats and head out onto the lake. (Eventually. Mustering can take some time sometimes.)

More accustomed to packing for backcountry camping than kayaking, it was indeed satisfying to discover that our gear would in fact fit (almost) into the recesses of a tandem kayak without having to strap a mountain of items to the top bungees which would have surely advertised our rookie kayaker status.

It was satisfying to soak up the intermittent sun rays, look towards the heavens with closed eyes and make a rejoicing Ahhhh sound (Every. Single. Time) when the clouds temporarily parted to let a single glorious ray shine down on us.

It was satisfying when Janelle mastered the pedal steering from the rear seat position re-charting our course from a zig-zag across the lake to cutting a straight(ish) line. Just like that.

It was satisfying to sit around a campfire (my first in far too long) with strangers-no-more sharing stories, asking too many questions, laughing, and learning that I may in fact be one of the few people on the planet who had never heard of, The Band. (Though I am familiar with Fannie and taking a load off. But, full disclosure, I have been singing about ‘Annie’ this whole time.)

It was satisfying (to my belly) to help consume some of the food that our new friend’s wife had packed for he and a buddy (which incidentally included 18 dehydrated meals, a kg of each coffee and trail mix, and no less than two dozen hard-boiled eggs. Two. Dozen. It seemed worth repeating.) for their own weekend trip.

It was satisfying to wake up in a tent after a night of rain and not be in a pool of water. For a change. Possibly a first for a Girls Gone (into the) Wild trip.

It was satisfying to attempt an iconic picture of the Travel-Alberta-brochure-infamous Spirit Island (though, more full disclosure here, upon first approach my gut reaction was to utter, ‘This can’t possibly be it, can it?’). Turns out, angle is everything. And we got to capture it from every single one since there was not another soul around.

It was satisfying to sign the campground guest logs camouflaged inside their wooden boxes, telling myself, like I always do, that I will return one day and look back on what I wrote.

It was satisfying to chase the perfect rainbows that were undoubtedly put before us in exchange for imperfect weather.

It was satisfying to battle the wind and navigate the rapids on the paddle back on the final day that had us white-knuckle clenching our paddles (well, I was anyways) and our butt cheeks (still me) as we rode out the rough waters.

It was satisfying to keep up the tradition of venturing out with the gals (or sometimes just the one – cheers to Janelle!) to continue the sisterhood of the traveling backpacks.

Yes, these things were all quite satisfying.

Nonetheless, in my books, getting the kayak back up onto the car for the drive home was indeed one of the most. 17-feet and a heartbeat, baby.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Paula Bremer
    October 29, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Nicole. What can I say? Your account of yet-another-adventure fills my mind with beautiful images and warms my heart. Thank you for sharing with this armchair kayak-er and Would-be-Wild-Girl. Love, Aunt Paula.

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