I am proud to say I live in a beautiful country, Canada! I often forget how privileged I am to have so many amazing landscapes at my doorstep. This April the Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak team explored a new training site for our early spring training camp. We decided to travel to the Kootenay’s in British Columbia and explore the beautiful Columbia River Valley. I have been very fortunate to have spent many summers in this valley as my family has a rustic little cabin on the Windermere Lake in a community called Rushmere.
Over Christmas I was out at the cabin and checked the collection of river tripping books my family has collected over the years and recall stumbling across a book called Whitewater Trips by Betty Pratt-Johnson. In this rive guide I found an excerpt about Toby Creek. I was surprised to see a picture of a slalom boat with a caption “Canadian National Championships at Toby Creek”, which was taken in 1982! I had never thought to set up a slalom course on Toby Creek.
This past Easter weekend presented itself with the perfect opportunity! If you have been up to the Panorama Ski Resort you might recall a windy road that follows the deep canyon and picturesque river called Toby Creek. While training with the Alberta Team every day was filled with activities such as interval training on the windy Windermere Lake, technical slalom paddling on Toby Creek, early morning runs, hiking on mountain trails, and recovery at the natural Lusier Hot Springs.
I had a real bonus as I stayed out at my family's cabin. We call the cabin “Hirl’s Hideaway”. It is tucked away on top of a hill with old growth Douglas Fir trees sheltering it from the strong winds. My Opa built the cabin in 1976 and it is rustic, but very cozy. It has the bare essentials such as electricity and a wood burning stove for heat, but no flush toilets, running water, or wireless Internet. The simplicity of my home away from home allows me to get rejuvenated and to connect with the natural outdoor environment.
On the weekend my family came out to the valley and it provided us with an amazing opportunity to have some quality time and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. After an intense season of winter training, school and work it was nice to unwind with my family in our little cabin in the mountains.
Now I am back in Calgary getting ready for my next big event … Canadian National Team Trails in Rutherford British Columbia to be held on Victoria day weekend May 17-18! Woo!