Peak paddling in the B.C. rainforest

5D185762“I paddle away from the dock in a soft drizzle, sheets of pale-grey mist hanging low on the green mountains that flank a long tendril of ocean. The precipitation is to be expected – we’re in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, so named for good reason – and the propulsion is no problem. Sufficiently attired in activewear, my wingman and I are on stand-up paddleboards, not cramped and damp in kayaks or canoe. And even though the guy gliding beside me has a pair of Olympic medals and knows a few things about racing, this afternoon’s journey is proceeding at a relaxed pace. Our destination, moored in a cove two kilometres away, is a floating cedar sauna where a stoked wood stove and cooler of beer await.”

That’s the first paragraph of my feature about stand-up paddlboarding in and around the Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, on the B.C. mainland across Queen Charlotte Strait from the northern tip of Vancouver Island — the cover story in the new June issue of enRoute magazine. The stunning images that accompany the story and this blog post were taken by the amazing Tofino-based photographer Jeremy Koreski, and my “wingman” in the aforementioned sauna expedition was Olympic gold medal winning triathlete turned SUP guide Simon Whitfield, who leads bespoke paddleboarding trips at Nimmo and shares my passion for the sport.

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Thanks to Fraser Murray — whose parents started Nimmo as a off-grid fishing lodge that’s now evolving into an adventure and eco-tourism destination run by Fraser and his wife Becky — we had a little bit of fun on our boards during my trip to B.C. last fall. Such as a full day of helicopter-assisted paddling on remote high-alpine lakes.

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Amongst glaciers.

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And through slot canyons.

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As well as boat-supported excursions onto the open ocean.

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Where we caught some swells.

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And saw some wildlife.

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And then recovered in the hot tub beside the waterfall that supplies the report’s power.

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And ate well.

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But really, it was about the epic paddling.

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