British Columbia Rafting: 7 Reasons to Go Now

British Columbia Rafting: 7 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. Here are seven reasons you should head for British Columbia rafting:

1.  You can drink out of the river.

Well, at least the Chilko River section of the trip is that pure.  The Chilko water is so cold and so pure; it beats any bottled water you’ve tasted.

2.  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.

3.  Rapid-happy.

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. That’s a lot of super-fun rapids to face. There is a section of whitewater that is actually called “The White Mile.” What more could an adrenaline junkie ask?

Chilko river rafting

4.   Toothpaste.

The Chilcotin River section is the color of toothpaste, not unlike Grand Canyon’s Havasu water.  While Havasu’s creek 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. Don’t be surprised if the color makes you want to brush your teeth. (It does me, anyway.)

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

7.  Wildlands music

If you are lucky enough to have Niels Jewitt as one of your Canadian river guides, be prepared for some phenomenal campfire-side 9 ½ fingered harmonica music. He’s good, very good.

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.


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