Nature’s Maytag

Sunday, May 17, 2015 - By: Daniel L, Ellis '17

Thousands of liters of water cascaded through the jagged rocks. The river churns like a washing machine cranked up to heavy load as nearly 25 CMS (cubic meters per second) of icy water pours between the steep canyon walls. The deafening sound of the frothing water tumbling over the falls above echoes in my ears. The strong torrent swiftly maneuvers through the narrow canyon flowing freely and powerfully. 

In the eyes of most, the idea of paddling down this seething torrent in a tiny plastic kayak seems almost suicidal. But in the eyes of some, the swift current of the Cowichan River provides an exciting getaway from the daily routines.

With third term here and summer just around the corner, nice weather is upon us here at Brentwood, and what better way to enjoy this than to cool off in the Cowichan River. And after numerous hours of practicing different safety techniques, from performing rolls to throwing rescue ropes, in the pool as well as on the ocean, Brentwood’s Outdoor Pursuits program was ready to take on the surging river. 

Last Tuesday, we loaded up our kayaks and gear before starting the hour long drive to the Upper Cowichan River. Once we reached the river we were all anxious to get a quick start. We unloaded our gear and headed for our launching point, a fish ladder just downstream of Skutz Falls.

With our gear loaded in our kayaks and all of us ready to take on what lay ahead, we started our very first river run down the Cowichan. There were ten of us. The perfect number. This made for a quick learning of the river’s ways. In no time we were making our way down rapids and in and out of eddies along the shoreline. 

As the season continues, Brentwood’s Outdoor Pursuits program will continue to visit the Cowichan, every Tuesday, taking advantage of this amazing opportunity to get outside of the Brentwood bubble and try new things, wet, wonderful and wild. 

Daniel L, Ellis '17

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