Pelicans, Paddlers and Hydro Power: Saskatoon White Water Park Plan Resurfaces

Plans to build a hydro power station at a Saskatoon weir have given new hope to proponents who want to build a white water park at the same location.Two years since the idea was last put on ice, the City of Saskatoon announced last weekit was planning to build a hydro power station in partnership with the Saskatoon Tribal Council. New hydro power station proposed at weir in Saskatoon Report says Saskatoon weir feasible for hydro power Saskatoon Whitewater Park proposal co-chair Al Peterson said that would drop the cost of building a park for paddlers to $3 million, down from $14 million."A lot of the work that would be required is done in those projects," he said.The idea to transform the weir into a paddler's paradise was originally floated between2006 and 2007, when a committee outlined plans to build facilities for rafting, tubing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming.The original water park plan included the construction of a hydro power facility, and it stirred up debate over possible impacts to wildlife and riverfront homeowners.In 2015, it was put on holdafter concerns were raised about the cost of building the hydro power component. Saskatoon water park plans on hold But last week's announcement that there are plans to build the hydro power facility has given the water park proponents renewed hope.The hydro power project, slated to cost between $61.5 and $62 million, will also restore the weir's current infrastructure and construct a river crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.With the cost of those works covered, Peterson said the water park plan needs only$3 million to go ahead. Surf-waves and slalomThe park would consist of two features: a flow-through channel with a "surf-wave" and a second, adjustable channel which could accommodate slalom or "play-waves".Co-chair Kent Gray said white water parks like the one proposed for Saskatoon havebeen successful south of the border in Colorado.His committee brought engineers from that state to look at the Saskatoon weir in the South Saskatchewan River.With its 3.4-metre drop and year-round water supply, Gray said the engineers concluded the weir was ideally suited for a world-class park facility.He also travelled to Colorado to get feedback from communities where the parks had been built."And there was not one negative comment," said Gray."They loved what it had done for their communities and how it had bolstered their recreation."Public supportand pelicansPeterson said the project had been buoyed by "huge public support". Previous attempts to build the park did raiseconcerns about the impact to wildlife, including pelicans.Liz Philips was part of a group called Pelican Watch formed around2009 in response to the original white water park proposal.She said her opposition to the white water park was about more than the birds."The birds are sort of a symbol, really, of keeping the weir as a contemplative spot," she said."You can go up on the CP bridge there and have a beautiful view of the city, it's quiet."And because of where the boom is, that island is kind of a de facto bird sanctuary."But Peterson said research into other parks showed the pelicans would still come, pointing to a water park in Calgary, which he said had not deterred the birds. "When they were building theirs, they had big machinery in the water, the pelicans were circling the machinery," said Peterson."As long as there is moving water, the pelicans will return."City council presentationThe proponent's goal now will be to convince city council that the park is a good idea. They plan to make a presentation at the environment, utilities and corporate services meetingon Monday."We had done a really good job with the former group but there has been a lot of changeover so we know our job now is to get in there and just show them what it could be," he said.If the project gets a green light from council, Peterson said the proponents would look to private investors and various levels of government to raise the $3 million they need to get started.MeewasinValleyAuthority planning and conservation manager Mike Velonassaid the project would also need approval from the authority boardunder the Meewasin Valley Authority Act.He said detailed environmental impact studies still need to be completed, and the city administration hasindicated it willwork with the authority through that process."Those studies need to be completed with respect to impacts on aquatic habitat and fishery habitat, riparian habitat, flow ... is this going to alter the flow and what effect will that have on things like upstream flooding and erosion and flooding and so on," he said."Those studies are yet to be completed."

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Scouts Seek Adventure in Maine Woods
WESTFIELD -- Boy Scouts from Troop 73 ventured into the Maine North Woods in search of adventure and history as they retraced over 100 miles of the most remote part of Henry David Thoreau's 1857 journey.The inspiration for the trip was the unveiling of the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail in 2007, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Thoreau's third and final journey into Maine's North Woods.In 1857 Henry David Thoreau traveled from Moosehead Lake to Indian Island near Old Town, Maine, on the Penobscot River. This was Thoreau's longest and most arduous expedition. Thoreau, along with friend Ed Hoar and Penobscot Indian guide Joe Polis, completed the canoe trip in twenty days, including eleven in the Maine North Woods. Rather than paddling Moosehead Lake, the largest lake in Maine, the scouts began their trek at Roll Dam on the West Branch of the Penobscot River, avoiding the two-mile Northeast Carry. Traveling down the West Branch the scouts visited Chesuncook Village as Thoreau did. They visited the community church where Thoreau worshipped and Ansel Smith's grave, a man who made his living by lodging and feeding the lumberers and at whose home Thoreau stayed in. The scouts also paid a visit to the "store" for homemade root beer floats. From Chesuncook the scouts made their way up to Umbazooksus Lake into the Allagash Wilderness Waterway via the infamous 1.6-mile "Mud Carry" which lived up to its name. The scouts explored both Chamberlain and Eagle Lake, the northern-most point of Thoreau's expeditions, and then returned to Chamberlain Lake via the abandoned tramway built in 1902 to transport timber from Eagle to Chamberlain Lake. Along the carry are two giant oil-burning steam locomotives, which traveled between Eagle and Umbazooksus Lake in the early 1900s, and now stand abandoned in the forest as reminders of Maine's logging history. From Chamberlain Lake the scouts paddled east to Round Pond, Telos Lake and Webster Lake, before descending class II white water on Webster Stream into Grand Lake Matagamon. Thoreau portaged around a dam at the outlet of the lake and finally paddled the length of the East Branch back to Indian Island. After traveling over 100 miles in ten days in the wilderness the scouts pulled out at the Grand Lake Matagamon Dam. Unprecedented rain had swollen the East Branch to over five times the normal flow and the scouts were unable to paddle it, as water levels raised significant safety concerns. Undaunted, the scouts climbed Mt. Katahdin, which Thoreau climbed on his first visit to Maine in 1846. Katahdin's summit is almost a mile above sea level at 5,268 ft. It is the highest mountain in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Called "Katahdin" by the Penobscot Indians, the term means "The Greatest Mountain." The scouts ended their trip with a wild day of rafting on the West Branch of the Penobscot River below Ripogenus Dam, a tough class IV-V river with chutes, drops and large holes that challenged the scouts in exciting rapids like Exterminator, Cribworks and the huge Nesowdnehunk Falls. Stop by and learn more about Troop 73, which meets in the Holy Trinity School cafeteria on Monday evenings beginning Sept. 8. For more information, visit or call Scoutmaster Steve Deduck at (908) 233-2867.
Three Things Charleston Wv Offers
Places that are close to nature always attract tourists and people on a vacation. At the heart of the Appalachian Highlands is what's commonly known as the "Mountain State" or West Virginia.Places that are close to nature always attract tourists and people on a vacation. At the heart of the Appalachian Highlands is what's commonly known as the "Mountain State" or West Virginia. Other than the rich natural resources it has, this sate is loved by many because it mixes country lifestyle and modernity.Relocating to Charleston West Virginia could imply letting children grow in a peaceful community. Or it could also mean leaving the big city for solitude. Whether you choose to live in it or just visit, there are always things to do and places to discover in WV.Take a break.People look for different things in a vacation. Some things to be included in your vacation would be white water rafting and the like. While some are content in the comforts of their hotel rooms or with quiet nature walks, some think such activities don't make a vacation a real one. Your vacation is not complete without some adventure or your vacation is defined by how many historical landmarks you could visit, one thing that makes all vacations perfect is the accommodation. Accommodations in Charleston WV are guaranteed to keep you well rested after all the exciting things you did and to relax you throughout your stay. Hotels and corporate housing in Charleston West Virginia are equipped with great amenities you look for fitting your budget. Weekends in Charleston West Virginia will be one of those weekend getaways that will keep you energized even when you get home. Some vacationers would love to have their pets with them, but not many places have hotels that accommodate such guests. Pet Friendly hotels in Charleston West Virginia aren't choosy in entertaining visitors. Now that's a perfect vacation place.Fall in love.Many people fall in love with West Virginia, and most of them choose to get married in it. Every couple wants to get married in the most special way there is. That's the ultimate reason why it takes months of planning before a perfect wedding takes place. No matter how grand or simple you want you're wedding to be, you have to save up for it. Weddings depend much on financial stability that's why you have to find a place you like that offers discounts. Affordable weddings in Charleston WV is one of them. There are hotels in West Virginia that have function rooms fit for a large number of guests. They also have full catering services and plans specially created for wedding purposes. The place offers the romantic ambience for free. Affordable weekly rates in Charleston WV could accommodate you for as long as you want even after the honeymoon is over.Accomplish business.Vacations are most of the time disrupted by calls from the office that you urgently need to take. Some people just can't run away from work no matter where they head for a vacation. The truth is they too enjoy a vacation but would rather want to finish all the work first. What if work never ends? Places to stay for conventions in Charleston West Virginia make it possible for people to roll work and vacation in one. You can try the corporate housing in Charleston West Virginia where you and your team can be occupied with work at the beginning of the week, and then be relaxed still in the same place for the remaining days until weekend.
Things to Do in the Summer
As the holidays come closer, children as well as parents are looking for some interesting summer activities. Here are some amazing ideas, that will help in making the holidays a fun-filled time for kids.Children are always excited by the thought of summer holidays. The thought of spending 2 months without studies makes summer appealing for them. However, the excitement only remains for a few days, and within a week of the holidays, children start feeling bored with nothing do at home.This is something very common, and most parents experience such situations. Hence, it would be a great idea to make a list of activities that you can enjoy, so that the kids do not get bored.Whatever you plan for your kids, you should keep in mind their interests and hobbies. Also, ask their opinion as to what they want to do, so that they do not get bored while indulging in activities planned by you. Here are a few things to keep boredom away from your kids this summer.Picnic/Slumber Party A picnic is one of the best things to do with friends. If you have a large lawn or backyard, you can arrange the picnic in the premises itself. If you plan it in the morning or afternoon, it would be important to provide some shade.Invite your kid's friends, and arrange for some food and drinks, like sandwiches, cookies, finger fries, juices, sodas, etc. You can also arrange outdoor games for the children or some water games during a hot day. If possible, you can extend the picnic into a slumber party.However, for this, you will have to make arrangements a few weeks before the actual party. Setting a bonfire in your backyard during the night will be a great way of having a sleepover for the kids.Holiday If you haven't gone for a family holiday for a long time, you can do it this summer. There are various travel companies which offer family packages to several places on reasonable rates. Beaches and islands are great places to go in the summer.However, if you cannot afford to take your kids for a holiday, arranging a short trip to an amusement park, a museum, or a wildlife sanctuary would also be enjoyable.Cooking One of the best things to do is to have your kids learn cooking. The kids can learn a lot of important things like maintaining hygiene, cleaning, safety, etc. The kids can start with baking cookies.This is because cookies do not require working on the stove, and it is comparatively safer for kids. Ask your kid to choose his/her favorite cookie recipe and then, prepare a list of things that you would require to make them. Once you are done with the list, take your kid to the supermarket to shop for the ingredients needed to make the cookies.Allow your child to measure the ingredients, and mix them together. After the cookies are made, you can also indulge in some cookie decorating activities with your kid.Adventure Sports If you are looking for some fun and crazy ideas, trying a hand at adventure sports would be a good idea. However, remember that these should be tried only by older teenagers and also, only in the guidance of the parents.Some cool adventure sports include scuba diving, white water river rafting, bungee jumping, paragliding, etc. Undertaking a mountain biking trip, rock climbing, etc., with friends are also good ideas for teens.Apart from these, some other activities that you can introduce your kids to, include learning to play an instrument, joining a fitness club, making a scrapbook, taking up a part-time job, taking part in a camp, etc.So, this summer, you do not have to worry about your children getting bored, rather plan a few of the aforementioned activities for them. They will surely help in making the holidays happy, exciting, and fun-filled.
Making a Splash
Marenad is hidden in South Kodagu (Mare is invisible and Nad is land), and through it flows the pristine upper Barapole River. We are going river rafting. "It is the perfect way to complete your outing in Coorg," K.C. Poovaiah, head of Plantation Trails, Tata Coffee, assures us. We have just bid goodbye after a memorable stay at Tata's Cottabetta bungalow.We drive past picturesque Hudikkeri, and stop at Tata's Glen Lorna bungalow (named after the grand children of the British planter who planted the first tea bush in 1914). It is the sole tea estate in the coffee country, set amidst 1,000 acres on the Kerala border. Sipping fresh lemon tea with a dash of Coorg honey, we head to Coorg White Water Rafting.The organisation, managed by Prakash Devaiah, Deepak Chengappa and Alok Appovah, has been active for four years now. "Safety is our priority," says Devaiah who drives us through the organic Ponya estate to the centre of action, the gurgling upper Barapole. Qualified guides from Nepal take the guests on the water only after an hour of briefing.You are advised to preferably wear shorts or jeans and T-shirts, with floaters. And, no valuable jewellery and mobile phones. A safety kayak accompanies every raft. Devaiah, Chengappa and Appovah started rafting to kill boredom during the monsoons; they've been riding the frothy white waters for over 10 years now. In the Marenad belt, when it rains, it rains hard. "There is a lull in activities because of the continuous rains, and can get depressing if we are idle," they say. "The river outing helped us stay connected with Nature. We took our friends along. Then, we wanted everyone else to enjoy the experience."Barapole is unique because of its zero-pollution zone. There are no industrial units in the rain-fed area, and most of the farms are small to average holdings. As the region receives heavy rainfall, the sediments are washed away, and what you get is clean water with gradients, tailor-made for river rafting. "Keep aside just three hours, and you can go back with happy memories," they say, and let the friendly Mahendra Saru take over. "I need your co-operation," smiles Mahendra and hands over the life jacket and the safety helmet. Mahendra acquaints you with the raft (inflated boat made of PVC rubber), the seating positions while navigating the river, the right grip for the oar and the rhythmic forward and backward rowing movement. He reiterates the dos and don'ts (for instance, he says always pass the pole side of the oar and not the flat paddle side to someone who has fallen overboard).Saroj Ale, another guide, joins us on the raft. Subash Thapa follows on the kayak. Before we set off, there is the simulated boat capsizing drill. A deep plunge and all I remember is yelling 'help' in panic. "You have your life jacket. Just lie on your back," Mahendra instructs. "Stretch your arms and look at the sky." I calm down, follow his instructions and watch the sky in awe. Soaking wet, we get back to our positions on the raft, compose ourselves, and row on.The first level is 'Morning Coffee', and we smoothly glide on the frothy rapids. Next is the 'Grass Hopper', and with a rush of adrenaline, we dive into the waves, and emerge with a splash on the white waters. Just within a short stretch (a three-km distance), there are five levels of rapids. After every rapid, you glide along the still water for a while. Take in the sheer expanse of the water body flanked by the organic coffee and cardamom plantations. Then, gear up for the next plunge!'Ramba Samba' is thrilling with turbulent waves, always threatening to topple you. Tackling the thundering rapids leaves me feeling victorious. And, that is when the heavens bucket down, an intervention that adds magic to the whole experience. "Now, meet the crocodiles," says Mahendra. He diverts the raft, and you realise it is just a cave that resembles a crocodile! "It is a calm river, and no crocodiles. But, the waves can be tricky, the sudden spurt could last a few seconds," he warns. After the 'Wicked Witch' dive, there is more excitement. A big pool awaits us at the end of 'Big Bang', the last rapid. That concludes the thrilling experience.We warm ourselves with piping hot tea at the fireplace in a thatched hut. "Nature always throws up more than what you expect. We want our guests to go back satisfied and that matters the most," says Deepak. And, I am ready for a repeat.
Whistler Backcomb's Summer Season Sizzles | Vancouver Sun
With one of the best ski seasons finished you would expect Whistler Backcomb to get quieter in the summer. You would be wrong. Home of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which offers incredible 360 degree views of the valley and the bustling cobblestoned village, Whistleris truly a year-round destination.With its endless array of shops, cafés and bars, parks and outdoor artworks, restaurants and legendary après nightlife, Whistler Village is a destination unto itself. One part quaint mountain village, one part international cultural mecca, it is a pedestrian-only wonderland.The culinary scene offers more than200 restaurants and bars to choose fromsothe range is as big as your appetite. Keep it casual at GLC or Ingrid's Village Café, or stick with establishments like Earl's and The Old Spaghetti Factory. Discover why the fresh fare from Sushi Village has a devout following, browse the internationally acclaimed wine cellar at Bearfoot Bistro, or truly indulge at Araxi, named Whistler's best restaurant.From the heart of the resort in the main village, to the alpine seclusion of the Upper Village base of Blackcomb Mountain, to the charming and laid-back location of Creekside, each area has its own distinct feeland advantages.Experience picture-perfect lakes and beaches, walking and biking trails, four championship golf courses, or fun at the Nintendo Family Adventure Zone. Get your adrenaline pumping with Ziptrek Ecotours, the world-famous Whistler Mountain Bike Park, white water rafting, or backcountry ATV/UTV tours.Then relaxat the Scandinave Spa, or take in a world of culture at the Audain Art Museum.Whistler's summer season offers something for everyone.Here are just a few of the events happening this summer.The name is a misnomer as there are4 distances to choose from: a 21.1 km half marathon, 30 km, 10 km, 5 km, and 1 km kids run. With Whistler's natural beauty you may just keep running long after the finish line. Add to that a festival atmosphere with live music and kids activities,and it makes for a great weekend.This is your opportunity to test ride the latest and greatest new bikes. For four days, the world's leading bike and gear manufacturers will be set up ThinkBike Whistler, formerly known as Outerbike, at the expo site at Whistler Village. Access to Whistler bike park, the lift-accessed downhill mountain bike park, as well as guided trail rides, lunches, parties and beer all included in the price of admission.Choose from the half (8 kilometres, 13 obstacles) or the full (16-20 kilometres 20 obstacles) either way you are going to get dirty and you're going to have a good time.Tough Mudder isn't a race - it's one of the bestmud obstacle course challenges on the planet. With the help of your fellow Whistler Mudders, you'll overcome obstacles, adrenaline-pumping challenges...and the little voice in your head that says "you can't." The Whistler Children's Festival occurs each summer at Whistler Olympic Plaza for a weekend-long celebration of creativity and art for kids and families. With a diverse lineup of live performers, hands-on creative workshops, roving entertainment and free activities, this festival is the largest of its kind in the region. It is a great opportunity for families to spend some quality time together.Yoga and music come together in the mountains for the annual Wanderlust Festival. Yogis from around the globe will be down-dogging, dancing, dining on organic delicacies and sharing their wisdom in an amazing event across the wellness community. Drawing the world's leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, Wanderlust Whistler is an event not to be missed.Whistler's tastiest summer event.
This Cruise Ship Company Will Pay You to Instagram Your Way Around the World This Summer
Earlier this month, we reported that cruise giantRoyal Caribbean is looking to hire a "Shore Explorer"to travel to far-flung destinations likeAlaska, Japan and Dubai, while documentingtheir bucket list worthyexperiences on the 'gram- and they'llbe paid £2,000 per week for the three-week trip.Now, it has been revealed that 35,000 millennials have applied for the role - but with five days left to send in your application, this role of a lifetime could still be yours for the taking.The successful candidate will be appointed apprentice to Royal Caribbean's so-called 'Instagrammer-in-Chief,' like Russ Francis, who scooped the role following his application in 2016.Here's a look at the kinds of stunning photos Francis has captured while on his travels with the Royal Caribbean.As well as sharing their experiences on Stories and IGTV, the explorer will get tovisit glaciers in Alaska and Osaka in Japan, go white water rafting in the Norwegian Fjordsand ride the world's longest urban zip wire in Dubai.They'll also beone of the first to set foot on Royal Caribbean's new private island in the Caribbean, CocoCay, which is set to open in May 2019.Specificallythe company says it's after an "adrenaline junkie who is not only hungry for adventure, but also has a unique ability to capture a moment and tell a story in a simple social media post." An independent panel of judges, including I'm A Celebrity's James McVey, will pick the winning candidate.To apply, all you have to do is share your best travel story on Instagram, either an image or video (via a post, Instagram stories or IGTV) and tag@RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ShoreExplorer.Applications opened at 9am on February 4 and will close at 11:59pm on March 1.Candidates must be 21 years and over, hold a valid passport and be able to travel this summer. Head to Royal Caribbean's UK website for more information.
Golden and Kicking Horse Resort - of Glaciers, Grizzlies, Gondolas, and Gorges
A 15 foot wall of white water crests before us and the raft stands almost vertical. A 600 pound grizzly bear charges us stopping a mere 3 feet away. Our mountain bikes wind down through steep switchbacks over bridges and streams. We dine at the top of the mountain at Eagles Eye Restaurant 7000 feet above sea level, then head out for a guided alpine hike. Just another awesome weekend in Golden BC and Kicking Horse Resort.After surviving the monsoons of rain peaked Alberta rivers, we decided that an escape to Golden BC was in order. The easy drive down the David Thompson Highway was a pleasure as very little traffic and wide open roads stretched out before us. Travelling from Edmonton, about half of the drive to Golden is in the mountains and it's a pleasure.GlacierArriving at the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge we checked into our spacious suite. For under $200 a night, this suite would sleep 4 comfortably. Resting easy on the deck perched high over the valley the view is spectacular. It's such an affordable treat.BellStar, who owns the lodge, adds "Kicking Horse is one of the finest alpine resorts in North America. Glacier Mountaineer Lodge is the perfect home away from home, located just steps away from the Gondola waiting to whisk you 4,000 feet up to breathtaking mountain views. Glacier Mountaineer Lodge offers ski-in, ski-out convenience and is in the heart of the alpine village action.The Lodge offers unit choices from guest rooms for two through to three bedroom plus den units that can sleep up to ten. Cozy fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, balconies that showcase the breathtaking scenery, in-suite washer and dryers, ski/bike storage, a steam room, sauna, fitness centre, and an outdoor hot tub."Heading downstairs for our first check of the resort we met Andy Brown (Social Media and Marketing Coordinator at Kicking Horse) and chatted about our itinerary for the next three days. By the way the discussion developed I could see an exciting, fun filled, and somewhat tiring long weekend.We wandered down through the shops and headed into the Peaks Restaurant (where we would eat several times because it was so good) and had dinner.GrizzlyThe next morning after breakfast was a visit to the Grizzly Bear Refuge to meet Boo the bear. Boo was orphaned when his mother was shot and killed. He spent his first year near Vancouver with his brother Cari. Cari died during his first winter hibernation due to a twisted intestine.His 22 acres has ponds and terrain ideal for grizzly habitat. He is fed a mixture of vegetables and peanuts, but still gets about 50% of his nourishment from the roots, berries and rodents within the reserve. There has been an ongoing study of his behavioral patterns in hopes other orphans can be saved.It's best to ride the chairlift in the morning around 9:30 to see him. If you're lucky you can catch him being occasionally fed by the observation deck, but usually his supplements are spread via the gondola that passes over his sanctuary so he has to work for his food promoting natural foraging behaviours. There's nothing like standing 2 feet away from a 600 pound bear with only an electrified wire fence between you. He doesn't particularly like cameras and when a fellow observer got down and close to him he "bluffed" a charge right in front of us. It scared me so much I jumped back falling on my rear end to the laughter of several children.He escaped twice 2006 and 2011. In 2006 he came back on his own looking a little undernourished, but after his foray into the wild the second time he was tracked many kilometres away and eventually returned again, but this time looking bigger than ever.Boo killed a small moose so his hunting instincts are like that of a wild grizzly. He also makes his own winter den and has hollowed out a swimming hole where he plays away on many days. They don't let him stay in that den, placing him an enclosed man made den for his protection. A camera allows observation of his hibernation habits through the winter.Nicole wants the public to know that Boo was brought here because his mother was poached and they are a educational, research facility promoting conservation efforts for the Grizzly Bear species.Nicole continued " We teach people these animals, although dangerous are not killers and are not waiting in the woods for their next human snack. We want to remove the fear people have of bears and educate people about living and playing in bear country so that we all can coexist peacefully and without fear." Go see Boo. Such a beautiful creature.Gorge - The Kicking Horse RiverAnother wall of water stands before us like a white temple of doom. Adrenaline begins to flow as the impact nears. I'm honestly thinking there is no way we are going to make it through this set of rapids upright. The next section downstream they call "Table Saw" is even bigger. In seconds the lady in front of me is on my lap screaming like she's going to die. And then she laughs.This all started off quite innocently thinking rafting on a 30 degree day might be a nice relaxing way to cool off here in Golden, but this is intense! It turns out to be one of the best days I can remember in years.We arrive at Alpine Rafting just outside Golden to find out the Kickinghorse River is running tremendously high, so high that we can't run the lower section of the river. It's far too dangerous. We put in at what is called the midsection and after getting some extremely good instructions, we head out into the bubbling cauldron. As we round the second turn all you can see is white water across a 200 foot span of the river endlessly displaying whitewater as far as we can see.We enter our first set of class III rapids and everyone in the raft is soaking wet laughing and whooping. That's just the first little class III that we have to run. We need to get ready for a lot more our guide explains. One of our fellow rafters yells "if it gets bigger than that I want out now!" We don't know if we should take him seriously but as I turn around and look at the expression on his face he looks nervous.I'm glad we picked the premier river rafting company on the Kicking Horse today. Alpine Rafting has been sending people down this river for 29 years. Our guide Jock is a transplanted Aussie and has been rafting for years on the river even though he only looks like he's 21.We blast through endless numbers of class three and four rapids as he yells out commands of forward, back, hold on and DOWN. Down is the key one. These walls of whitewater sometimes require that everyone in the raft to hit the bottom and hang on for dear life. The front row of the raft is definitely getting the worst of it as far as getting wet, but if you want the wildest ride on this water that's where you want to be. That's not to say that the people in the last set of seats aren't having a great splashing time.Every time I go whitewater rafting it seems a sense of comradery forms between the team members. I strongly suggest Alpine if you're in Golden.Golden Eagle RestaurantA stop at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is not complete without a stop at the crown jewel of dining experiences. The Eagles Eye is located at the highest elevation of any restaurant in Canada. As you dine in the glass encapsulated building, you can see 5 different National Parks.Chef Sylvain Bourget has many culinary delights including my choice of an incredible seafood soup with mussels, scallops, and an array of vegetables. Everyone around us raved about the salads, and apparently the crab ravioli was to die for.With the view from this stunning restaurant and the well-crafted assortment of menu items, it's an experience you will not soon forget. Go. Treat yourselfPeak HikingAfter chowing down on our fantastic meals, we headed out to meet up with our hiking guide Gary Jolivet. Gary is a ski instructor at the resort who has a very obvious love of the mountains. We headed out onto the CPR Ridge trail and began our 1000 foot descent on a well maintained trail.Gary was showing us mountain flora and explained how the plants adapt to the harsh mountain environment at this elevation. We plucked a very small sprig of juniper and smelled the vibrant fragrance of Gin.After a slow and steady climb back up to the top, it was time for a beverage and snack. After a breathtaking decent down the gondola to Peaks Grill located in the heart of Kicking Horse Plaza we rested our weary legs..Another day, Another challenge. Mountain Biking.I met up with Steve Crowe who is the Trail Supervisor for the mountain and headed into the bike rental shop to get set up. Sliding on armour over every limb and appendage I felt like a gladiator ready for battle. Sitting on a top-of-the-line downhill bike we scooted over to the gondola and were heading into mountain bike heaven.There is a track called 10 mile. You can guess why. Winding down from the peak to the valley you get a lot of distance out of one quick gondola ride.We headed over to what would be my favourite trail of the resort called Super Berm. The amount of work put into this single track is startling. Dozens and dozens of berms keep you on your toes as you pass over bridges, streams, ponds, and glide though tall grasses. It is simply outstanding.Due to some overnight rainfall we arrived muddy and smiling at the pub for a refreshment. I'm bagged and Steve is looking like he could ride another 2 days straight.Kicking Horse is introducing a bike race series with five races to take part in throughout the summer. Get the chance to win awesome prizes including biking accessories. Races are on July 13th & 27th and in August on the 10th & 31st.Horsing AroundRight at Kicking Horse Resort is a great horseback adventure. Flying W Trail Rides offers 1, 2, and 3 hour rides into the Columbia Valley and up trails getting you great views of the terrain.Simply GoldenDowntown Golden has quaint streets and a plaza where they have live music. The many small shops, pubs and restaurants make this a must visit when you're staying at Kicking Horse. Check out the wooden pedestrian bridge at the plaza.The Wrap-upGolden and Kicking Horse Resort supplied an endless variety of fun, excitement, and beauty. It was more than I expected on so many levels. Get out and get on "The Horse".For rafting information go to: more information about Kicking Horse Resort go to:Kicking Horse Website or call 1-866-SKI-KICKFor booking the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge go to:
Richmond, Virginia: Beyond the American Civil War
At the former Tredegar Ironworks, a reconstructed water wheel turns, a remnant of Richmond's somewhat chequered past. Tredegar was where much of the Confederate weaponry was produced during the American Civil War, and although that ended exactly 150 years ago, Richmond is brimming with reminders of it. The capital of Virginia became the capital of the Confederate States for the vast bulk of the war, only to be burned and evacuated a week before the climactic surrender at Appomattox.Richmond Battlefield National Park (001 804 226 1981; has its main visitor centre inside Tredegar, with a strong focus on the battles that shaped proceedings. It also does a good job of showing how the city was in many ways the antithesis of the southern stereotype – industrial urbanity rather than sprawling plantations.But this month, Richmond will be more about bicycle wheels than water wheels. From 19 to 27 September the city will host the UCI Road World Championships (richmond, where top cyclists including Britain's Mark Cavendish will compete for medals.Featured heavily in the courses will be Monument Avenue; if ever a road summed up the good and bad about Richmond, this is it. The architecture is impeccably dreamy. But the monuments are on the wrong side of history. Grand, lionising visions of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, plus generals Robert E Lee, Jeb Stuart and Stonewall Jackson, feel out of time and tonally indefensible. The motley collection of statues devoted to slave-owners and segregation fanatics outside the State Capitol building (001 804 698 1788; also feel like they're part of the conversation that America needs to have.The strangest thing is how unrepresentative such throwbacks are. Venture beyond the downtown area, and Richmond feels both lively and rather liberal. The Shockoe Bottom and Church Hill areas to the east pack in multi-cultural energy and excellent food. The university area to the west, and the Carytown shopping district beyond are all grand buildings, brunch terraces and pleasingly individual enterprises. And if that feels like a bit of the North in the South, then the James river brings in the West's great outdoors. Richmond proudly boasts that it's the only city in the US with Grade IV white water rapids.UnpackThe Jefferson Hotel (001 804 649 4750; occupies an entire block and is among America's grandest of dames. Opened in 1895 but currently, the lavishings of richly decorated Renaissance-style marble columns are actually an illusion (it's meticulously-painted concrete). But the wow factor is undeniable, and locals make a beeline there for OTT Sunday brunch and afternoon tea. An on-the-quiet two year refurbishment programme, which should finish in January 2016, has seen the rooms get a sensitive modernisation. Doubles from $312 (£208).Given Richmond's history as an industrial hub, and the fact that most of the industry was built along the James River, you might expect the river itself to be pretty grim. Wrong – it's wild and scenic. Locals turn little mudbanks and islets into impromptu beaches in summer, while rapids and the remains of bridges destroyed at the end of the Civil War make it marvellously picturesque. Hire a kayak or paddleboard from Riverside Outfitters (001 804 560 0068;; $15/£10 an hour) on Brown Island, or head out on a rafting trip with River City Adventures (001 804 233 4000;; $60/£40pp).EatEarlier this year, long-standing nouveau-Southern cuisine favourite Julep's (001 804 377 3968; moved from Shockoe Bottom to East Grace Street, which is emerging as a downtown restaurant strip. Replacing it is Shockoe Whiskey and Wine (001 804 771 1711;, where adroitly-spiced Southern-fried whole red snapper with pineapple salsa ($28/£19), and sinfully superb bourbon-glazed meatballs ($12/£8) are among the offerings.DrinkGrandstaff & Stein (001 804 918 2627; opened in the spring, and is gradually pulling in cocktail enthusiasts who have cottoned on that it's not a bookshop. The wall of stacked shelves at the entrance of this Shockoe Bottom speakeasy disguises a door to a darkened bar, with a little outdoor courtyard as a bonus. Get chatting to the barman and he'll happily go off-menu.SpendCarytown – basically Cary Street, to the west of the main Virginia Commonwealth University campus – is rampantly varied. For The Love Of Chocolate (001 804 359 5645; is about bunny-boilerish obsession rather than simple love. Huge cabinets of truffles and cookies are dwarfed by the shelving that pulls together bars from gourmet chocolatiers across the US and beyond.The American Civil War Center (001 804 649 1861;; $8/£5.20) inside the former gun foundry at Tredegar is due to undergo an expansion next year. The museum acts as an absorbing timeline of the tensions leading up to the war, before going into just the right level of detail on how it panned out. Events, reasonings, and aftermath are looked at from Union, Confederate, and African-American perspectives, but there's no fudging the fact that the war was primarily about slavery. For non-historians, there are a lot of "I didn't know that" moments.Getting thereFly with United (020 7136 0582; from a range of UK airports to Richmond via Washington Dulles or Newark. It’s arguably simpler, and almost always cheaper, to fly non-stop to Washington from Heathrow or Manchester on United; Virgin Atlantic (0344 209 7777; and British Airways (0844 493 0787; also fly non-stop from Heathrow to Washington Dulles. From there, rent a car; the drive to Richmond takes around two hours and 15 minutes.More
Plucked From Death: Launceston Man Describes Being Trapped by Flood
A quick dip on sunny Saturday turned into a nightmare for Dylan Beardsley and his girlfriend after their lives were threatened by flash floods at Launceston's Cataract Gorge.The two were among many swimmers to enjoy calm conditions at the Gorge before the peaceful scene was violently washed away by a wall of water."The water was warm, shallow, clear ... there were tourists and families everywhere," Mr Beardsley said."It was about three in the afternoon, there were about 10 people swimming around us."It all changed in a matter of minutes as water spilled over the top of Trevallyn Dam and crashed into the South Esk River."I turned around and all the kids were pointing towards us and then at the water - the shock on the kids and Nayaran's (a witness) face was the same as ours," Mr Beardsley said."Before we knew it the white water was surrounding us."(I thought) I'm going to die, I don't want to die."'He said they hesitated to jump as the water's volume and ferocity increased around them."We're both very strong swimmers," Mr Beardsley said."I just knew the safe decision was to stay where we were."If we did jump and didn't have that uncertainty it could have been a tragedy."The next three hours were excruciating for the two.The crowd of onlookers grew as police and emergency services rushed to the scene.Mr Beardsley said the roaring torrent prevented most communication between them and the rescue party."We'd get a big splash and then in the next 30 seconds we'd have three more, we knew it was getting higher."Towards the end there was water everywhere - it was on us for the last half an hour."The two were safely airlifted to the Aurora Stadium by a rescue helicopter, but Mr Beardsley wondered why more wasn't done to prevent the incident."You'd think if there was to be a flood that some sort of personnel would walk the track and alert people about the danger," he said."There's a lot of tourists that can't read English, and wouldn't even think to look for alerts on such a nice day."Mr Beardsley was aware of the signage at the Gorge, but said it was almost obsolete due to its constant presence."That sign is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year," he said."It's been there my whole life, it's just one of those things that are a part of the Gorge."I just want to thank the SES and emergency services - they did such a good job."Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the council had announced the flood risk through the media, but was unsure what further action was taken. "It's virtually impossible for us to monitor the Gorge to the extent that we prohibit any entry into the area," Mr Dobrzynski said."As a consequence of this incident we'll review measures of signage and how we monitor it."
JOURNEYS; Shostakovich, Or Shooting the Rapids?
IT'S around 3 on a Sunday afternoon in early August. Hundreds of people are stretched out on blankets that cover acres of rolling hillside, picnic baskets unpacked, wine bottles opened and the strands of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 wafting over the crowd. It's another perfect day at the Tanglewood music festival in Lenox, Mass.Around the same time, nearly 30 miles to south, a group of hardy souls are having an epiphany of their own. After a roughly three-hour climb that has taken them, sweating and grasping for the nearest water bottle, through dense pine forests, they have finally reached the 2,239-foot summit of Alander Mountain, just outside Sheffield, Mass., and are taking in the breathtaking view of the lush farmland that stretches all the way to the blue-tinged Catskill Mountains in the distance.That's the great thing about the Berkshires, a 950-square-mile area of western Massachusetts that encompasses the rugged terrain of the Mohawk Trail to the north, the hayfields and dairy farms near Ashley Falls to the south, and everything in between. Although the area is probably best known as the summer home for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (which has been coming to Tanglewood for 65 years) and other cultural attractions, it's also a land of extraordinary beauty and variety, offering almost untold opportunities for outdoor activities.The choice is yours. Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 or shooting the rapids on the Deerfield River? Kenneth Lonergan's ''This Is Our Youth'' at the Berkshire Theater Festival or grappling the narrow edge of a East Mountain trail with your toes, trying to thrust yourself up to the next finger hold? Touring Edith Wharton's home, the Mount, or getting those quadriceps pumping on a bike ride up Mount Greylock?The Berkshires offer activities for almost every skill level, whether you're a serious hiker or a Sunday stroller, whether it's your first time on a horse or your hundredth.The following adventure guide to the Berkshires breaks down each activity into two categories: the ''family friendly'' excursion, suitable for people of varying skill levels who just want to have a good time together, and the ''hard core'' outing, intended for adults and older teenagers in excellent physical condition with a good deal of experience in the sport.HikingFAMILY-FRIENDLY TRIPBenedict Pond (Great Barrington); one-and-a-half-mile loop; the hike takes approximately one hour at a moderate pace.Silence. That's probably the first thing you'll notice as you take a tranquil walk around a postcard-worthy pond. There are no watercraft buzzing around, no motors breaking the silence of the woods.This is a perfectly flat trail with no incline at all. Beaver dams and bunny hutches dot the small tributaries off the pond. Children will enjoy the treasure-hunt aspect of following the blue triangles that mark the trail approximately every 100 feet. (There should be no fear of getting lost. But just to be sure, pick up a well-marked brochure at the trail's start.) Bring a pair of binoculars to spot the hawks and eagles soaring overhead.HOW TO GET THERE -- From the town of Great Barrington, drive east on Route 23 and make a left onto Blue Hill Road. Proceed 2.1 miles and make a right at the Beartown State Forest sign onto Benedict Pond Road. Drive four-tenths of a mile to the picnic and parking area. (Parking is $5.)HARD-CORE TRIPAlander Mountain/Bash Bish Falls (Mount Washington); seven miles; at least three hours.The Alander Trail spans fields studded with so many wildflowers that you'll feel as if you've dropped into a painting by Monet. Clamber through the hemlock and laurel forests to get to the summit; it's worth the steep (and sometimes tricky) uphill climb. The views at the top are breathtaking, stretching all the way to Albany. Bear right and look for the white blazes on the north ridgeline for your descent, which follows the steep cliffs of Bash Bish gorge.Legend has it that Bash Bish, an Indian maiden, was accused of adultery and sentenced to go over these falls strapped to her canoe. Just as she was about to plummet to her death, she was rescued by a swarm of butterflies. Alas, you will not have such a light-footed descent. The trail by the falls is treacherously steep, composed of an almost-sheer rock cliff. Though swimming is technically prohibited -- people have been killed diving into the pools -- you will spy numerous lawbreakers enjoying a quick cool-down. Or perhaps they are just baptizing themselves. This is more than a hike; it's practically a religious conversion.HOW TO GET THERE -- Take 41 South from South Egremont and follow the sign to Mount Washington and Bash Bish Falls (to the right past the pond). If you are taking two cars, which is recommended, turn right on the signed road at the church before the Mount Washington State Forest headquarters and park at Bash Bish Falls's upper parking lot. Park the second car at the state forest headquarters. If you don't have two cars, consider doing only half of the hike to avoid an additional four-and-a-half-mile hike back from the falls to the parking lot.CyclingFAMILY-FRIENDLY TRIPMain Road, Tyringham; five miles; one hour.Set in one of the prettiest valleys in the Berkshires, this rural hamlet (a ''hinterland settlement,'' as the Tyringham town sign accurately proclaims) is dotted with dairy farms and haystacks. Many of the houses here date back more than 200 years.Look for the gingerbread-style art gallery on the left side of Main Road. On the right, across the valley, the yellow and red houses in the mountains are original buildings from a 19th-century Shaker village. At Ashintully, gaze up the hillside and try to find four white pillars, all that remains of the old mansion that burned down in 1952. (You can visit the gardens on foot if you like.) This loop does have some inclines, but youngsters can dismount and walk up the hardest one, at Tyringham-Monterey Road.HOW TO GET THERE -- From Route 102 east out of Stockbridge, make a sharp right onto Main Road before the entrance to the Massachusetts Turnpike in Lee. Drive four miles to park behind the Tyringham post office on your right.HARD-CORE TRIPMount Greylock State Reservation, Lanesborough; Stony Ledge Trail; approximately seven miles round trip, two to three hours.At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock is the highest peak in Massachusetts, and though the trail is marked by switchbacks, which allow you to catch your breath along the most difficult stretches, be prepared for a steep incline at the end.If you hike up Rockwell Road north from the parking area for 1.8 miles, you'll roll up to a picturesque overlook of virgin forest. At the directional signs, veer left on the unpaved Sperry Road for a mile and a half. The trail dead-ends at Stony Ledge with panoramic views of the wilderness area.HOW TO GET THERE -- From Route 7 north in Lanesborough, turn right onto Rockwell Road into the park. Turn left at the visitors' center and proceed for three and a half miles on Rockwell Road to the Jones Nose trailhead and parking area.Horseback RidingFAMILY-FRIENDLY TRIPUndermountain Farm, 400 Undermountain Road, Lenox; (413) 637-3365.For children too young for a trail ride, Undermountain Farm offers pony rides at its stables. Vacationing children who want more exposure to riding and horse care may want to take advantage of the stable's weeklong summer camp for ages 7 and up.HARD-CORE TRIPJohn Drummond Kennedy Park, Lenox; four to five miles; one hour.Undermountain Farms also offers one-hour trail rides for adults and children 12 and older who have some riding experience. There are more than 10 miles of blazed trails rated for technical difficulty with short climbs and descents. The Main Trail is a wide track with good footing for horses. Though you'd be able to explore more if you had your own horse, the one-hour tour will still steer you by the most popular sights in the park: the pond, a balancing rock and a natural-fed spring. From the scenic overlook, try to spot Ventfort Hall, a red brick mansion in Lenox that you may recognize from the movie ''The Cider House Rules.'' It's now a museum of the Gilded Age.Rock ClimbingFAMILY-FRIENDLY TRIPThe Rocks, East Mountain, Great Barrington; half-day outing.A great introduction to rock climbing for children 8 and up is the beginners' excursions offered by Appalachian Mountain Gear. At the top of the highest climb, you'll get a bird's-eye view of the after effects of a recent tornado along Route 23 and on the back side of the Butternut ski basin. (Difficulty levels begin at 5.0, which is a flat hike, and go up to 5.14, which is nearly vertical, not to mention almost impossible.)Take a beginners' class near Reservoir Rocks, where you'll learn basic safety, rope-handling skills, and top-roping techniques. Within an hour, you and your little ones will be scrambling up the rocks faster than a billy goat. Then you'll move on to the more challenging part of the mountain, where stone outcroppings tower sky-high.HOW TO GET THERE -- Appalachian Mountain Gear (; 413-528-8811) is at 684 South Main Street (Route 7) in Great Barrington.HARD-CORE TRIPKoyaanisquatsi, East Mountain, Great Barrington; half-day outing.At this level of climbing it's best not to think about the views. You mainly stare at the rock ahead of you and try not to look at the abyss below. This is one of the hardest climbs out there, rated at 5.10. ''Koyaanisquatsi'' is an American Indian word meaning ''out of balance,'' which you certainly will be if you try this climb. The Zen of the trip lies in finding the right handholds and footholds. But it's not all terror. There's an exquisite stroll through the high grass to get to the rocks, one in which the heady smell of wildflowers and heather provide a serene prelude to the climb ahead.HOW TO GET THERE -- Though a map of the East Mountain climbs is in the works, the best way for visitors to learn about specific locations and difficulty ratings is to visit Appalachian Mountain Gear before starting out. To go directly to the mountain, take Bridge Street in Great Barrington, make a right onto Pine Street and then park on Quarry Street.White-Water RaftingFAMILY-FRIENDLY TRIPLower Deerfield Float; seven miles; half-day.Zoar Outdoor, a white-water rafting company in Charlemont (www.zoaroutdoor .com; 800-532-7483), offers a variety of excursions at every thrill level. This float trip (no white water) is for novice rafters ages 5 to 10. (Older children will want to try the more thrilling Zoar Gap section of the Deerfield River, with some light paddling and a bit of white water.) The trip past North Adams on the Mohawk Trail is staggeringly beautiful, full of twists and turns and photo opportunities on the mountainside. Once on the river, there is plenty of time for splashing and swimming. Because there is no white water to attract the droves of paddlers, you may have this part of the Deerfield to yourselves. Look for herons, hawks and beaver dams. A picnic supper awaits your group at the end of the day.HOW TO GET THERE -- Take Route 2 (the Mohawk Trail) from North Adams to the town of Charlemont. Zoar Outdoor is on the left side of the highway, at 7 Main Street.HARD-CORE TRIPThe Deerfield River's dry way; four miles; three hours on the river.Zoar Outdoor runs day trips for rafters ages 14 and up on this dam-controlled section of the river. Originally a dry waterbed, the water level is now kept high for the hydroelectric plants in the area. Because the flow is man-made, you're guaranteed Class III to IV white water. Prepare yourself for foam, foam and more foam. This route offers a lot of technical paddling with precious little float time to appreciate the lush vegetation around the river.RESOURCESFor Directions, Maps and StoresBefore heading off to the Berkshires, consider picking up the following books, which have excellent maps and trail directions. The shops listed below will provide all your needed equipment, for sale and for rent, and the salesclerks are particularly knowledgeable about the area.Hikes and Walks in the Berkshire Hills, by Lauren R. Stevens, Berkshire House Publishers (1998).Mountain Biking Southern New England, by Paul Angiolillo, Falcon Publishing (1999).Arcadian Shop, 91 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, Mass., or (413) 637-3010.Mountain Goat Outdoor Shop, 130 Water Street, Williamstown, Mass., (413) 458-8445.
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