Glacier Kayaking in the Coast Mountains of BC

Water is the most versatile element, in constant cycle. It moves and transforms with the changes in our seasons. We find ways to play in its diverse forms, from stomping in puddles to surfing, skiing, skating, and in this case kayaking. One thing I love about having an Oru Kayak is that there is a constant desire to push the limits on where and how you use it. My kayak’s versatility mirrors that of water.

Last spring some friends and I had the chance to kayak deep in the frozen backcountry in the southern Garibaldi Ranges of British Columbia. When spring changes to summer in the coast mountain alpine, there is a very short window of time when the frozen glacier lakes begin to thaw, but only on the surface, and only around the perimeter. The result is a network of vibrant turquoise rivers and pools far too dreamlike to be real. But they are, and they make the perfect racetrack for kayaks.

Flying over imposing snow covered peaks with Compass Heli Tours, we were able to get up to this frozen theme park at the perfect time—the day was hot, the ice below still thick, the water like paddling in a blue slurpee. Naturally, we used the kayak as a toboggan on the moraines and snow hills, sliding down and attempting to land smoothly in the freezing pools and streams.

It was a strange juxtaposition; playing and paddling in snow and ice while in shorts and developing weird sunburns (remember to wear sunscreen—everywhere).  

It’s a super neat feeling knowing you are the first person to paddle a certain body of water. It’s an even neater feeling if you think about who has potentially interacted with that same water in another part of its cycle throughout history. Aristotle may have bathed in it in Greece while pondering intrinsic forms. The Incas may have used some of it to irrigate their crops. Even if they didn’t, take comfort in knowing that all of the water beneath you was once dinosaur pee.

All things considered, it was a formidable day spent kayaking around massive glaciers and splashing each other with the blue runoff. Honestly, if it weren’t for the photos I would not be convinced it actually happened.

Heli or not, take a day to take advantage of paddling the unique state of water in whichever season you find yourself in!

*Please remember to wear the proper safety gear when you're out on the water, we were foolish for not always wearing life jackets.