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Each Canadian Thanksgiving, which takes place the second weekend of October, a group of kayakers meet for a gathering at the Thompson River outside of Lytton BC. The folks gathered come from through BC and Alberta but are connected through one women from Alberta who kindly organizes the gathering each year.

Thanksgiving at the Thompson

The Thompson is a large volume class III-IV river that flows though a steep canyon and into the mighty Fraser River at the take out. At low fall levels there are still big waves, busy eddy lines and boils, heart swelling surfs on the fly and just a few larger holes in the top section and a scenic class II-III float through the lower section. The canyon also connects the Canada Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway to Lower Mainland BC and whenever I paddle the river I never cease to be gape like a little kid at these large chugging, metal beasts which have carried to much of our so much of our life’s’ sundries and supplies for decades. Additionally striking is the construction of the railway through the canyon, its corridor cut out of the canyon wall winding below avalanche chutes and through tunnels above the river. An impressive path. We wave to conductors and they wave back as we float down giggle inducing wave trains. If you are comfortable in bigger water I found the Anitx (M) the perfect boat for this river – fun and surfy on both foamy and glassy waves, it kept me on my toes minding my edges in the boils and was comfortable enough for the longer float out. We had spectacular weather for halfway through October and our large flotilla of kayakers and a couple of tenacious canoeists were lucky enough to have two sunny days to run the river. It was summer dresses in camp and dry suits just for comfort on the water.Thanksgiving at the Thompson

We camp together at a local raft base that has closed for the season, but lets this group stay. Fires by night and a large Thanksgiving pot luck on night 2 contrbute to the warm familiarity of a paddler gathering. I am thankful for a community of kayakers to enjoy the river with, a beautiful place to camp and am lulled to sleep by the train whistle echoing through the valley as the trains continue tirelessly chugging below.

Photos by Dave Wortley