Calgary, Kanfest, Canmore

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I lazily rolled out of Calgary and sighted the mountains for the first time. Instant revival. All the prairie induced soul-searching is over; home at last. These broad glacial valleys are carpeted in tall pines, and curtained in sheer rock. They feel like home, at least, for I have been dreaming of arriving here for weeks. I won’t have to bear another over air-conditioned North Dakota truckstop again.

I happened upon some friendly looking longhairs while simultaneously scouting a swimming hole and a campsite. Two kayakers playfully rolled their craft, while a couple of sunburnt Australians welcomed me to their camp. This was, in fact, their place of employment– a river rafting outfitter– but they were camping for the night to attend Kanfest, my first kayak festival.

This section of the Kananaskis River is under authority of a flood control dam which captures water overnight and releases it the following day, beginning about 8 AM. This morning began with a contest to see who could face the growing flow of water. One guy won with the help of female ballast atop his shoulders.

The next event was a several kilometer “race” in which teams must capture and protect a large exercise ball with their team number, and transport it to the finish. The catch, this is a true whitewater river; no hands allowed; and defensive play is encouraged. It’s like capture the flag meets broomball on a raging river. Actually, it’s not like anything.

I rode several kms of singletrack along the river; colorful, human seals nosed and batted beach balls around the river.

Thanks Kanfest: I scored free Canmore-made beers last night, and a full breakfast this morning complete with fruit, coffee, and a couple of pancake and sausage “sandwiches” to go. Bike touring trick #327: meet nice people, go to a festival, and help yourself to a beer and a pancake sandwich.

Those are, as it seems, kayakers entering the river from a mossy 15 ft drop.

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One thought on “Calgary, Kanfest, Canmore

  1. You could not Make This Stuff Up, Nick! Thanks for the Vicarious Experience. Those pictures made me Squirm In My Seat and Stare Longingly Out the Door at the Highway. It is scaring Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog. I’m looking at panniers, tents and sleeping bags on the Internet. I Oiled My Chain and Adjusted My Underwear and Howled at the Moon.

    Keep ’em Coming!

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