If you don’t have white water rafting on your list of adventures, get it on there. If you’ve already marked it off, add it again. This is an awesome way to spend a day while you’re in Fernie. You won’t regret it.
With the high water season ready to go, I jumped on a Canyon Raft Company group trip to the Bull River and had a blast with some friends. As our local river guide Blair would say, the Bull River is only 20km away from Fernie… as the crow flies, but with the limited flying capabilities of the Canyon Raft Van it was about an hour's drive out to the river. We stopped a few times along the way to check out some scenery but the time passed quickly as Blair filled us in on his extensive knowledge of the area. If you want some inside information to fill your trip itinerary, he’s a great resource! There are a few scenic areas he pointed out along the way that I'll be heading back to check out.
It’s obvious Canyon Raft has done this a few times (they've been in operation since 1985). It didn’t take long to get suited up in our rafting armor, all except a bathing suit was provided. Even their dog Kasm was suited up in a k-9 life jacket, eager to jump in the boat. If you need to make a bathroom stop there are outhouses on site but I recommend doing that before you gear up as you'll be wearing a few layers on top of the wetsuit. Like most guided activities there was an informative how-to and in-case-of-emergency session complete with some of Blair’s best comedic work. If there is anything you need to bring along in the boat, a dry bag is available. Don’t worry about photos, there are professionals on shore capturing your day and the river guides in the boat have a small camera tucked away.
The launch into the river was really exciting, and I'm not going to lie, a little nerve wracking. Luckily the initial area of the river was fairly tame. It didn’t take long to get the hang of handling the river and paddling as a team with expert advice and instructions provided by our experienced guides. Whenever there was a moment to rest, everyone in the boat loved taking in the amazing views in every direction — this scenic area of the Canadian Rockies is unforgettable. We were very lucky to be able to be here as this trip is only available for a short period in the spring and early summer due to frequently changing water conditions.
After our introduction to the Bull River, we were all ready for more rapids but welcomed a quick break for lunch, we had paddled up an appetite and were ready to eat. Lunch was awesome; a full spread of cold cuts, cheese, and condiments along with a variety of breads from Fernie's own Loaf Bakery to build a custom sandwich were all laid out in a very appetizing banquet. I believe I even saw a few people with a different slice of bread on each side of their sandwich. Topped off with lemonade, salad, fruit, and dessert, it was perfect. There's plenty of food if you've worked up an appetite, so don’t be shy.
The next section of the river was even more exciting. With everyone’s comfort level now a little higher we were navigating the rapids like pros, well at least we thought so! We were even lucky enough to spot some deer along the bank. I began to wonder why anyone would be so excited to visit a Splash Mountain, there’s no way it’s as fun as this was.
With most of the Bull River guided tours, there is an option to complete an additional section with class 4 rapids for the ultimate in adrenalin-fuelled excitement. There's always an option to hop out of the boat before heading down into that area and our group opted to leave this section for another day. Once you commit to that portion, there's no going back.
The last time I went rafting was a long time ago and I had forgotten how much fun it is but this won’ t be my last adventure with Canyon Raft Company. I plan on taking a ride down the Elk River, (Elk River trips are available all summer) and one day battling the class 4 rapids on the Bull River! For a full day of adventure with an amazing lunch you really can't beat the price. If you're looking for something a little slower paced Canyon Raft also offers scenic river floats.
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