A PREMIER PADDLE






Put together the ideal conditions of timing, wind, water, weather, and you have my recent paddle on Premier Lake. Situated south of Invermere approximately 1.25 hours drive (the last thirty km on gravel roads with teeth clacking washboard) Premier Lake is in a provincial park. The payoff for driving the rough road came when a momma deer and her fawn modelled their spring coats in the middle of the road, entertaining us for several minutes.

The cozy park had an adequate concrete launch, managing steady traffic when we arrived at 10:00 a.m. The lake formed a typical pattern for this province, curving down a valley between two mountain ranges. With only a 10 kph wind, the surface spread like a mirror, reflecting the greens and purples of the surrounding scenery, while displaying the deep turquoise colour caused by powdered limestone in the water.

Fallen trees at rest.

The whitish bottom formed a canvas on which nature displayed the skeletal outlines of fallen trees. Although I did see a man fishing, I never saw so much as the shadow of a minnow in our circumnavigation.

The Park and water access is on the west end of the lake. For the first 3/4s of its length there are tiny gravel beaches where you can pullout for a quiet lunch or stretch.

Merry creeks join the party.

At intervals small creeks run into the lake, marking their entrance with the merry sound of rippling water. As you approach the east end ‘private property’ signs appear on tree trunks, and more cabins peeked out of the stands of fir. Crossing the end of the lake you pass by a developed area of cottages and landscaped lots, with buoys guiding  you away from the shore.

Fascinating rock formations.

However, the long paddle heading south gives you back a sense of being in the wilderness, though the odd dock breaks the waterline. Again, we found fascinating rock formations and little creek mouths feeding their hungry mother.

By early afternoon, the wind gusted 20 kph down the length of the lake on our sterns, giving us an effortless paddle back to the launch.

Island protects quiet bay for swimming.

Within the curve of the shoreline fronted by a small island we swam, off-setting temperatures that had climbed to thirty-five degrees Celsius. Again, we found the small boat launch in demand, and a line-up of vehicles waiting to load. Exceptional circumstances made Premier a near perfect paddle. I would recommend this silver treat in the mountains for those who like scenery, solitude and silence.

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