Paula gathers her gear and loads the inflatable kayak onto it's wheeled cart as we prepare to launch.
I will let her be the one to post most of the details of her route and why she chose to paddle as she did, but here are the basics. She is in her mid-size inflatable kayak, (I don't know the length but it's somewhere around 13ft). She launched about 25km east of Red Deer and is expecting to land in Drumheller four days after starting. Her paddle plan has her doing 6hrs on the water each day, but she has been making excellent time so far and was already more than halfway after only 24hrs.
Inflating the kayak at our launch point, a small campground near the intersection of HWY 11 + HWY 21
So far she reports the trip has been excellent. She managed to setup camp about 5min before a small thunderstorm and didn't even get soaked! She has said there are tonnes of people on the river, which is good for her safety (kayaking alone, even with a Spot transponder is so dangerous!) but takes away some of the tranquil alone time she was hoping for.
Paula loads the last of her gear. The kayak was packed tight, but she is prepared for anything!
Setting up on a busy campground beach was pretty funny. We answered dozens of questions of curious locals while their wet dogs shook water all over her gear. But the instant she hit the water, she forgot all about us and just exploded away. I have a pretty amazing video of her launch that I hope to post tomorrow, but don't get too excited - I still have photos of kayaks in Thailand I need to post from April!
With so much gear, the kayak was struggling a bit as it launched! I was nervous, but once she hit the water she never looked back.
Looking at the river as we setup to launch, I can certainly see the appeal. It was beyond beautiful out there, and I hope she is having the paddle of her life! I go to meet her in Drumheller on Wednesday, and will try to bring my laptop with us to Calgary so I can post pictures of her triumphant return as well.
If you look carefully, there is a teeny, tiny dot left of center at the curve in the river. That is Paula only a few moments after launching. She was more than ready to leave us, and the blisteringly hot beach, far behind!
*I've had some requests to see more images. Unfortunately, there are no more images of Paula on the river as she brought no cameras nor companions. However, if you would like to see more about her trip, please click the label below for "Red Deer River," and you will see a list of all related articles. If you are interested in seeing more of my photography, please check out www.froghaven.ca (sadly lacking in kayak pictures at the moment, but we are hoping to post some of our kayak yakkers in the coming months)!