British Columbia Rafting: 6 Reasons to Go Now
Hear that sound? It’s the sound of untrammeled wildflowers, grizzlies hunting fish, and world-class whitewater. Canada’s Chilko- Chilcotin-Fraser Rivers are calling. Below are just six reasons you should head to British Columbia for your next rafting adventure.
1. The flight
Flying from Vancouver to Williams Lake over Whistler and the Coast Range will make you feel very small in a huge world of conifers and endless unnamed mountains. Welcome to the wilderness. It’s nothing like the commute at home.
2. Snow-covered peaks
A solid snowpack equals abundant water for rivers come spring. Luckily, the headwaters for river basins in British Columbia like the Fraser continue to see above average snowfall during the winter months. In the spring and early summer as all that snowmelt heads downstream, rafters get to experience thrilling, high-water whitewater conditions.
Speaking of whitewater, the Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser trip guarantees the longest stretch of commercially navigable Class IV whitewater in North America. There’s a lot of respect for a claim like that. There is a section of whitewater that is actually called “The White Mile.” What more could an adrenaline junkie ask?
4. Glacial waters
The Chilcotin River section is an aqua color not unlike Grand Canyon’s Havasu Creek water. While Havasu’s color is the result of play between the magnesium and calcium carbonate content, the Chilcotin’s blue-green has more to do with “rock flour.” This “flour” is actually ground up rocks from beneath the river’s originating glacier. It is fine sediment flowing in the river that doesn’t easily settle and refracts light to make the milky blue. It’s an unreal color.
5. No smog or city lights
Sometimes we forget what the night sky can look like. City lights and smog dim the constellations; big buildings limit what we can see. Multi-day Canadian rafting affords views of an unfettered night sky. When the smog and city lights are gone, the stars come out, and you won’t believe how many there are.
6. Covering some ground
The Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser river trip drops 3,000 feet in 130 miles. At 23 feet per mile, this Canadian gem finds comparable company with the Middle Fork Salmon’s average 30 feet per mile drop. Both rivers start as barely more than floatable streams and gather side creeks as they go from sub-alpine to high desert over the course of a week’s travel, ending in formidable rivers
As a final note, be prepared to use the ubiquitous Canadian “eh” in the two weeks following your trip. Yes, your neighbors and coworkers will look at you strangely. It just happens. A lingering regional vocab word is worth the trip.