B.C. rafting trip combines thrills and chills
Sitting at the front of the raft, Tyson McNalley and his wife Sheralyn are the first in line to get hit with the freezing glacial waters of the Kicking Horse River. (Glacier Rafting Co. photo)
If you weren't there to experience it, the description of having an ice-cold slushy poured down your back might sound awful.
But being splashed and soaked to the bone by the icy waters of the Kicking Horse River during a white-water challenge trip is nothing but an adrenaline rush.
You don't feel the pain.
Just 12 hours ago, this water was glacial ice, which melted and rushed down the mountains and then "warmed" to a still bone-chilling 3 C.
"Anybody you see here is bound to be a bit of an adventure junky," says Isaac Kamink, river manager of the Glacier Rafting Co. in Golden.
Standing in his wetsuit at the edge of the rushing river, Kamink clearly can't wait to hit the level three and four rapids as he excitedly instructs his team of six on safety tips.
"If you get bumped too hard and fall out of the raft, don't be embarrassed," he quips. "Just wave your arms up and bark like a seal."
Seriously though, no one ever -- well, hardly ever -- falls out of the rafts. That is because the thrill-seekers are all scared enough to hang on for their lives, and grip the raft's safety cords tightly, as each new set of crazy-fun rapids lunges at the vessel.
"Yahoo!" yells Kamink, as the gang helps him paddle off into the raging river known for its rapids called "Pillow Rock," "Roller Coaster" and "Man Eater."
As the thick rubber raft races along, we can see the "big one" in the distance. White frothy water swirls and twists ahead, yet that daredevil Kamink is sitting calmly at the helm, manning the oars with his strong arms, and intentionally heading straight for it!
"Paddle hard!" he tells his team of newbies, who dip their oars in and paddle toward the deadly looking froth.
"Holy smokes, it feels like somebody just poured a slushy down my back!" gasps Tyson McNalley. Brave enough to take a seat at the front of the raft, he has become the first to get a snootful of icy waters. Doesn't matter though, within minutes everyone is drenched and whooping in a mix of shock and delight as icy waters smack our faces and run down the inside of our wetsuits, right into the little rubber bootees the company provides.
Call them crazy, but McNalley and his dashing daring lady, Sheralyn, are on their honeymoon. After being married just days before, Tyson took his young bride rafting for the second thrill of their lifetime.
A busy man who runs his own D.J. service in Camrose Alta., as well as a full-time group home worker with his wife, Tyson says he is slowly checking experiences off his bucket list.
"White-water rafting was one of the things on my list," he says. "It was fantastic."
Halfway through the 32-km-trip, the Kamink pulls the raft into a quiet spot in the wilderness, where a warm fire is crackling, coffee and hot chocolate are brewing on a hot stove, and a cheerful cook is grilling steaks and chicken with lots of toppings for the hungry guests before they paddle away for more high-adrenaline adventure.
NEED TO KNOW
For more information on this adrenaline-packed trip, contact glacierraft.com and get ready to rumble! For travel information on the Kootenay Rockies and other areas of the province, contact Tourism British Columbia at hellobc.com.