Kids Kayaking: Family Fun on the Kicking Horse River in BC

Our Road Trip to Alaska was amazing! We explored many places, saw many things. It was exactly how we all expected it to be! Rugged, rough, filled with Type III fun, and absolutely remarkable. I loved it. I cannot wait to go back. Paddling in Alaska was beautiful, we even kayaked in Denali National Park!

Wildlife was abundant. I saw fourteen bears, exactly! A linx! Tons of Moose! So many Buffalo! Bald and Golden Eagles. We fished the Salmon Runs. We hiked and had epic mud wrestling matches. We met countless local Alaskans, we even were invited to dinner!

On our way to Alaska, we spend a lot of time in BC, particularly kayaking and paddled the Kicking Horse River.
We saw so many amazing animals, the greatest of all … the Grizzly!

We swam in Hot Springs. We attended the Canadian Freestyle Kayaking Nations and US Team Trials. Kenny, Dally, Kady and Cardy were judges.

We did so much. Time flew by. It’s crazy that this whole trip was last year (2018)! It really feels like it was just a week or so ago! So much happened in the four months of that trip! So much!

We spent a lot of time in Canada before entering Alaska. We explored a lot and ran a ton of rivers throughout British Columbia and Alberta. One of the rivers we ran, the Kicking Horse, was in Golden, British Columbia. We connected with a bunch of local paddlers who gave us some beta on The Kicking Horse River.  It was funny, one of the guys had a little girl who loves watching our videos on Youtube. We gave him a couple KelloggShow stickers to give her…give us a shout if you want one. We will send them for free, you just gotta pay shipping.

Anyway, the Kicking Horse River has three sections. Some hard, and some easy.

Since we’d never run the Kicking Horse River before, we decided to do the first section, which is a class three, first. We thought it would be a good idea to get a feel for the river before sending a Class IV.  Just to be safe.

Rowdy and I were so down to go. We were super excited because running new rivers is super super fun.  But considering, it did have a class four in the midst of it, Emmy decided not to go. She’s sticking with three’s for the time being, but she is only 9.

It was freezing out, and my Mom volunteered to stay back and hang with my younger siblings, while we kayaked. She’s so nice, ha ha.

We tied up the boats, and put our gear in the truck, which is much easier and more organized now, thanks to our Gili Bags. After we were all loaded up, we said goodbye to Mom, Emmy, Elly, and Coby.

And we drove away. It literally was freezing and sleeting. I was thinking about how crazy this was, and how crazy we were. ha ha

We geared up as fast as we could. We all don’t have drysuits, but the ones that did, put theirs on.

When we got in our boats, Kenny, Dally and Cardy seal launched down this hill, and over this stump, because why just get in? Right? Lol!

We all sat in the put in eddy for a bit, and talked.

Then, Kady pointed out that the mud under the water was so soft…It was, and it felt really weird. Apparently, it was soft because it was from Glacial silt. The Glaciar grinds and crunches rocks. And they become soft sand. Earth Science!

Kenny stated that it possibly could cure acne. We all nodded, laughed, and rubbed the mud all over our faces. It felt…oddly good on our faces. It was so funny. Until it went in my eyes, then it just hurt.

The Kicking Horse River is a fun family run!
Super fun and beautiful river!

When we all were ready we all peeled out of the eddy. We kayaked downstream. For about a half mile it was just boogie water and some flat moving water.

Once the rapids came Brody was sweep, meaning he went last to make sure everyone was safe. I was right in front of him.

At first it was just tons of big rollers, and little holes. We all eddied out, when Dad announced that the class four was right around the corner. Time to scout. We all jumped from our boats, and checked it out, by the railroad.

Kayaking the Kicking Horse River is super fun!
Scouting is the best way to prepare yourself for what you will encounter down river!

It didn’t exactly look that bad, but it definitely was a class four.  And probably a massive body holder. Luckily, you could easily bypass it, by going right, and hitting this little hole.  

Kenny, Dally and Brody, wanted to boof the big hole, on the left. They did as we watched them. They aced it, of course.

Then they caught an eddy right below the big hole. And they got ready for safety… just in case. Cause, anything could happen. At anytime.

We jumped in our boats, and got prepared.

Like I said, it didn’t seem that hard, like when I’m scouting it. I thought, “Oh, this’ll be a piece of cake!” But, as always, it turned out a little harder than I originally thought. I am always going to remind myself of this fact before running things I think look pretty straightforward.

Anyway, Cardy peeled out of the eddy first, then, Rowdy, Kady, me, and finally my Dad, running sweep this time. I watched everyone’s lines.  I remember Kady decided to go middle-right of the rapid.

Kayking the Kicking Horse River is super fun!
Paddling with my family is crazy fun!

When it was my turn, I passed the hole, a little too far right, and got a bit messed up. I ended up in a eddy, right beside the hole, as if I was just going to paddle up into that crazy whole and surf. As peeled out of the eddy, I got caught in a tiny hole, right behind the huge main whole, that I had just surfed out of.

When I made it out of that, I saw that Kady was waiting for me.  She told me to follow her left, so I did.

I heard Kenny, and Dally hooting and hollering, I turned around and saw they were right were behind me. This is the other thing about paddling with my family. There are tons of us.  And so, no matter how messed up you get (or they get) there is always someone to help lead me down mew rivers.

Now, I think I can read Class III water really well. I’m working on honing my Class IV water reading skills, so I appreciate the help, a lot!

As I followed Kady, there were a lot of rocks and pour overs. Kady successfully dodged all of them.  I maneuvered all … except one. I paddled right over a drop. The next second I found myself stuck against a rock. Pinned, yes, but for not even 10 seconds. So quick, I didn’t have time to get scared. Instinct took over and I just leaned against it and slowly pushed myself away.

The Kicking Horse River is super fun!
Kady waiting for me to make sure I’m good!

Kady was watching me the entire time, she was ready, if I needed rescue. When I rolled up she patted the top of her helmet, asking if I was Ok. I did the same, letting her know all was good.  

We caught up with everyone else in a tiny eddy where they were waiting for us.

Kenny was on the other side of the river, boat scouting the next rapid. When he caught our attention, he put his paddle vertical in the air. He, then put his hand on the very middle of the paddle. Which meant go through the middle of the next rapid.

Then, Kenny, Dally and Brody took off down the rapid first to wait for us below.

My dad and Rowdy went first. We watched as they went over the first waves and holes. They were big and my Dad even flipped on one of them. Which pushed him behind Rowdy so that Rowdy ended up leading my Dad down until he caught the Eddy next to Brody.

When Kady and I were ready, we went down next. What we paddled was pretty much just flying over big wave rollers. I know I had a huge smile on my face the whole time. It was definitely the easy part of the class 4. There were no hazards at all, that I saw. Just big rollers and little holes. Super fun.

Paddling the Kicking Horse River is so much fun!
Kenny styling the drop in his Jackson Nirvana.

When we got to the bottom, we caught the same eddy as my dad, Rowdy and Brody. Cardy, Kenny, and Dally came in next. We all chilled and talked a bit.  We watched a bunch of rafters come down, cheering for them as the flew. One didn’t have the best line and he got pancaked on a rock.

The rest of the Kicking Horse River, was only, wave trains, little holes,  and easily avoidable pour overs. Nothing much, and no more class 4’s. We paddled  down while talking about the run. We went under a huge bridge, it was cool.

Kayaking the Kicking Horse River is So much fun!
Kayaking down past the bridge!

After a while we came to the Take-out. We all got out of our kayaks.  I was in the sidekick because Kady and Cardy were in the small Zens. The RV was right there at the takeout. So we didn’t have to walk, or drive far.

The Kicking Horse River was so much fun. Perfect for people who just started running Class Four. The water was so pretty. It was a mixture of milky colored water, and blueness. I thought it looked like chai tea.

But it was great, I certainly loved it. The class four was totally portageable, so if you’re not comfortable running at that level yet, it’s fine.  I totally recommend this river. Have fun!

–  Maddy..follow this link to my Instagram!


Leave a Comment