Travelling North with Arrival of Spring

With the arrival of spring on our coast it was time to travel north to Prince Rupert to meet Quest University and take them into the Greatbear Rainforest for their Culture and Tradition Class. It’s an amazing time of the year to travel through BC as the leaves are coming out and things are coming back to life after a long winter.
Kathlyn Lake, Smithers

Day 1 took me up to Smithers where I was really excited to see close friends, to share some SUP stoke and to do another Standup4Greatbear presentation. I stayed at Walter and Amy’s beautiful farm just outside of town. Walter owns Raven Rescue, the top safety and rescue company in Canada, which offers all types of rescue and first aid courses. I first met Walter when we hired his company to come into Hartley Bay to do a Swiftwater Rescue course for the kids. Walter is a pro in every aspect and someone I admire greatly. The following day I woke up to blue bird skies and hit Kathlyn Lake under the incredible backdrop of Hudson Bay Mountain for an early morning SUP training session. I spent the day hanging out in Smithers, visiting Ali Howard at her new Natural Food Store. Ali, if your familiar, swam the length of the Skeena River(610kms) to keep Shell out of the Sacred Headwaters with her team. The Sacred Headwaters are the birthplace of three of the most powerful and spiritual rivers systems in BC, the Nass, Stikine and Skeena. Do yourself a favor and find her documentary, Awakening the Skeena.
Awakening the Skeena’s Ali Howard
Her teammate Brian Huntington of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition phoned me out of the blue and offered to support me on my Standup4Greatbear Expedition. Brian is another amazing brother, and he committed to 400k of open ocean paddling and he had never even been in a sea kayak before. Talk about passion. I think you get the idea that there are some really amazing people in Smithers. That day I also met with Taylor Fox who is editing all of the video for my upcoming “Stand Up” film based on the SU4GB Expedition. I saw a rough edit and it is coming together nicely and I think people will be pretty stoked when they see it. It will premiere at the Kalmalka Classic in Vernon on June 19th. Taylor and I had a chance to enjoy a couple of delicious Plan B Pale Ales while editing, interviewing and working on the film. If your in Smithers stop by the Plan B microbrewery for some tasters. That night I headed to a fundraiser for Bulkley Valley Canoe and Kayak club and met Dave Wahl of Valhalla Pure. One of the reasons I was up here was to work with Dave and his staff in order to get them ready for the upcoming SUP season. Dave carries a great line of Surftech SUP’s so if your in the market and anywhere around Smithers, stop in to say hi.
The following day I woke up, hit the Smithers Farmers market and then headed over to Valhalla for a product knowledge/demo session on SUP with Dave’s staff. That afternoon, sponsored by Valhalla Pure, I did another SUP demo for community members on Kathlyn Lake. It was fun sharing the SUP stoke with the Smithers paddlers, Dave is building a great little community of SUPers up there.
Valhalla Pure Smithers SUP Crew
That night we all went to the Aspen Lodge(highly recommended, great food and service, very cool wood building and Plan B on tap) for a Standup4Greatbear Presentation. I was really happy to have Brian Huntington there to share the show with me. All of the presentations I have done up to this point were on my own so sharing the evening with my fellow expedition partner was uplifting. That evening plans were made to surf Tatlow Falls the following morning. I awoke to yet another great morning and after a delicious breakfast with Ali and Greg we made our way to the river. These people are river people and it was great learning from them in an environment that I am not as comfortable with. With support and safety I finally made it onto the Tatlow wave on my SUP and had some great rides.
Surfing Tatlow Falls
I didn’t want to leave Smithers but I had to work my way west to Prince Rupert. I had one more stop along the way and that was to see Roy Vickers at his house in Hazelton, right on the Skeena River. I was there to thank him for creating the Standup4Greatbear crest and to deliver a couple of tshirts and some coffee.
Roy Vickers Crest
Roy has been super supportive of Standup4Greatbear and it has been an honor to work with and learn from someone so knowledgable and respected. If you have never been to Hazelton or the Kispiox Valley, put it high on your to do list. It’s one of the most stunning mountain and valley landscapes in BC with traditional culture and stories tied into it all. On a clear day that is……
Seven Sisters
Now it was onto Prince Rupert and the beginning of my 10 day journey into the Greatbear Rainforest and to the communities of Hartley Bay and Bella Bella with Quest University.


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