Girls Day Out! Paddleboarding and Canyon Exploring

Nothing makes you feel more young and carefree than a day with your girlfriends. Fed up with work, bills, and life I arranged a girls day out in Waterton for my friends to find sitters so we could pretend we were teenagers. But alas, illness and family commitments kept two of the four of us away, but Cat and I headed to the mountains despite the dark clouds looming overhead.

We headed straight to Blakiston & Co. to get our paddleboards! I participated in a social media contest over the winter and won a season of free rentals- HELLS YES! But I’ve been waiting all season for a “good day” and damn it that just hasn’t happened. We decided that rain or no rain we were going and headed to the rental place.

Cat had only been paddleboarding once before on calm waters whereas I had that crazy experience in LA on a choppy ocean. The water on Lower Waterton Lake was CHOPPY and Cat went in once we hit the choppy waters. I immediately turned around and started heading for shore thinking she was freezing and would want to go back. Cat said she was not ending the excursion and didn’t feel that cold, so we continued on! (Mad props to Cat!)

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Ringing out her hoodie

Ringing out her hoodie

We paddled to Middle Waterton Lake and decided to hug the coastline that was sheltered from the southerly winds. It was still super windy though and we paddled hard to make progress.

At one point we stopped for a break and I had this great idea to climb up through the trees to Loon Lake. I didn’t realize Loon Lake was farther over and we were headed nowhere. Anyway, we were tramping up through the brush when Cat asked “What does bear scat look like?” To which I looked down and replied “I don’t know for sure but I see a little foot print here.” If we were on a trail I would have brushed it off as the print of a large dog like Rocky. We took two more steps and then heard a low groan. I looked at Cat and asked “Did you hear that?” She nodded and we took off running through the brush back for our paddle boards laughing hysterically in a mix of fear and amusement.

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Laughing and running

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Running for our lives! Ha ha ha ha!

We paddled along the shoreline where there are some nice cliffs that would have made for good cliff jumping on a hot day. Speaking of hot days, the weather was fine for us this whole time. We didn’t get rained on and the sun would peek out at us from time to time.

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We stopped short of making it to Wishbone Landing where we could have taken the short trail to Loon Lake. That’s definitely on the list of things to do this summer.

We found a small cove that had calmer waters and decided to play around with various SUP Yoga poses. I’ve done a few poses at the Calgary Outdoor Adventure Show but that was on a thick Boga board on a little demo pool. We were on epoxy boards on a large lake on a windy day.

Catherine was determined to get her handstand and she took a few falls back into the water before she nailed it!

Cat nailed it!

Cat nailed it!

Hilarious! Took her a few tries to nail.

Hilarious! Took her a few tries to nail.

Then it was my turn. I played around with the easy stuff; downward dog and upward dog. I was able to nail a pretty good crow.

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But then I decided to try a head stand. Cat worked hard to do it and I wanted to work just as hard as she did but alas I’m a wimp! The minute I went up and over and into the cold mountain lake I was done.

I came close

I came close

In I go!!

In I go!!

I started swimming for shore while screaming about the shock of the cold and after a couple strokes I realized that I could stand up! Ha ha ha ha!

swimming for shore when I could have stood up

swimming for shore when I could have stood up

We were both soaking wet but surprisingly not that cold. We paddled back in but when we rounded the corner to face Lower Waterton Lake was saw one hell of a storm brewing south and the water was even choppier than earlier in the day. I wasn’t going mess around so I dropped to my knees and paddled hard for Emerald Bay.

I was so focused on paddling hard and not tipping over I didn’t hear Cat fall in again! But she got right back up on that board and paddled, I was very impressed.

We took one last picture of us with our boards and headed back to drop them off. We were so surprised to learn we had been gone for a couple of hours! The time FLEW by!

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Wet and cold we went back to my car to try to dry off with a towel and I decided that I had to get out of my wet clothes so I foraged for dry yet dirty clothes and Cat put a coat over her wet clothes.

I look crazy but Im dry!

I look crazy but I’m dry!

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We headed into town for lunch and to try and warm up and dry off. We hit Trapper’s since Cat had never been and I was pleasantly surprised to see they offered gluten free buns! So of course a burger and sweet potato fries were needed.

A hot cup of tea was a godsend

A hot cup of tea was a godsend

After lunch I NEEDED dry pants because it was way too cold for me to be bashing around in my short shorts and long socks. We hit every store on the main road and even the Tamarack and the only pants I could find were performance hiking pants at Tamarack or the $10 brightly coloured leggings I went with at Caribou Clothes. We laughed a lot over the bright leggings and the fact that I was literally only wearing the leggings and a hoodie and nothing else. But I was dry and warm.

We couldn’t stop the fun and headed up to Red Rock Canyon just to walk up to the log jam and back.

We walked through the canyon, chatting and rock hopping until finally giving up and slogging through the water.

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We were walking for quiet a while and wondering where the log jam was that blocked the canyon. We finally came up to a tree that I remember taking a picture of Ryan and the kids on that was on the OTHER side of the log jam. I knew we were for sure past it when the red rock canyon turned into a regular canyon of grey rock.

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I realized that the second set of flooding must have cleared the jam and on the way back we realized that the couple of logs jammed into the canyon above us was all that remained.

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Do you know what this means? That I need a full day with a lunch to trek as far up the canyon as I can!!! How fun does that sound? I was so fired up I planned to ditch all my responsibilities and go up the next Sunday but life got in the way as usual.

For that precious day we were carefree teenagers again and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I told Cat we have to plan way more girls days like this, it’s so good for the soul.

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What’s your favourite way to hang out with your girlfriends?

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