It’s the end of February. All around town, skis, snowboards and snowmobiles are strapped onto car roofs and truck beds. I, myself, have a Ski-Doo strapped into the box of my half-ton GMC pickup most of the time. But occasionally I unload my sled and replace it with my paddleboard. I am sure I raise a few eyebrows as I drive across town and head for Lake Revelstoke with my board in the back. After all, it’s snowing and –7C. More than once I’ve pulled up to the boat launch to people staring at me with looks of disbelief as I carry my board into the water. More than once someone has muttered that I was crazy. ‘It’s freezing and you’re going to die when you fall in,’ they say.
So, as I was paddleboarding I thought about crazy. To me, crazy would be staying home and not experiencing an epic solo paddle. Crazy would be missing out on watching the sun dip behind the jagged Monashee mountain peaks, seeing the sky change from hues of blue to fiery shades of oranges, pinks and yellows — their reflection illuminated in the gentle ripples of the lake. It would mean not seeing the trees veiled in fresh snow or snowflakes swirling around in circles in a light breeze as they fall silently into the calm water. Crazy would be unhearing the water lap at the cliffs in an age-old rhythm or not experiencing the sound of scattered chunks of ice scrape along my board. It would mean not smelling the scents of winter, the sweet smell of fir mixed with wood-smoke. Crazy would be not experiencing the frigid air kiss my exposed skin on a breeze or the shock of glacial water splashing me when a rogue wave crashes over my board.
Revelstoke is at its most magnificent in the winter and paddleboarding during this time is no exception. Some might call it crazy but to me it means exploration and adventure. To me it means living the way I want to live my life — no matter what the season.
Oh, and I never fall in.
This article first appeared in the March issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.