Paddling upstream is always a good workout and part of a spring fitness program, getting ready for longer paddling adventures on the bigger lakes, the rivers, and the ocean in the summer. One route we do every spring is to go up the North Thompson River, which is a bit harder than the South Thompson River. I launched at Pioneer Park and paddled downstream to start the day.
The route goes under the Red Bridge, then the Black Bridge to the confluence, an easy 1.3 km start to the paddling day.
There was a “flotilla” of swans near the confluence which were annoyed at this long (18′) green boat coming toward them, but I turned the corner and started upstream towards the Halston Bridge.
There are a number of gravel or sand banks on both sides of the river so the best course is to paddle straight up the middle. There are sections of faster water so progress is slow at times. Ducks and geese stayed close to the shoreline and a bald eagle watched from a still-leafless cottonwood tree.
The beaches along Schubert Drive were starting to shrink as the flow of the river increased. This is a quiet route with no road noise until we got close to the bridge. Progress upstream is at about 3.5 km an hour. We can probably do 4 km/hour, but steady, rhythmic paddling is the key to endurance work.
The Halston Bridge was busy but there was also a train crossing the CN Bridge. Some faster water swirls under both bridges.
I paddled past the CN Bridge and looked upstream at the river. That section of river up to Rayleigh will be another day of paddling, launching out of Westsyde.
I turned the boat and paddled gently downstream, averaging more like 7.5 to 8 km/h. Mt. Paul stands over the rivers on the way back to the confluence.
Looking south into the sun is the confluence of the South and North Thompson Rivers overshadowed by the City, but reflected clouds in the river were the memory I took away from the return paddle. Turning the corner, the final 1.3 km is another slow one, upstream to Pioneer Park.