I whisked my way downstream along the forest path that winds through Roderick Haig-Brown Park, located 70 km from Kamloops in British Columbia. Salmon flickered through the water while throngs of fish watchers flowed through autumnal cavalcades of colour.
The Adams River is home to the world’s largest return of sockeye salmon to a single river. Every four years people come from all over the planet to witness this ritual of return. The run has been recurring for thousands of years, ever since the last Ice Age when glaciers carved out the awe inspiring Rocky Mountain range. After leaving the Pacific Ocean, over 3.6 million sockeye brave an epic trip of over three hundred miles, thrashing their way up the Fraser and Thompson Rivers to spawn.
According to Shuswap First Nations lore, the arrival of the sockeye was heralded by the singing of crickets and a west wind that began to blow in the first week of October. Today fish fans looking to tap into the regions rich indigenous heritage can do so on a tour of Quaaout Lodge & Talking Rock Resort.
#DobberTours First Nations Cultural Experience at @QuaaoutLodge with Little Shuswap Indian Band
Barb Callihoe, the properties Cultural Coordinator offers up a historical narrative, which has us popping by the lakefront lodge’s Kekuli (Pit House), Salmon Smoke House and sacred Sweat Lodge. Owned by Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, the Lodge features tastefully decorated rooms and suites with lake views from private balcony or patio just steps from Talking Rock Golf Course. The interior of the lodge houses traditional crafts, Jack Sam’s restaurant featuring local cuisine, indoor pool and Le7ke Spa where signature Indigenous Hot Stone Massage offers a perfect pampering via sage and cedar oils.
It is estimated that over 240 thousand visitors will travel to the Shuswap for the Salmon Run this October. While most will enjoy the encounter while strolling along the parks trail, the most unique way to appreciate this natural marvel is from a First Nations perspective. Quaaout Lodge’s Frank Antoine offers daily expeditions for paddle pro’s, hands-on travel by voyageur canoe. You can’t help but peak over the bow as hundreds of rouge fish below dart to and fro.
#dobbertours Enjoying the Salmon Run via hike + canoe @shuswaptourism @helloBC View on Instagram
While the Salmon Run has been on every nature enthusiasts hit list for a millennia, the Shuswap has most recently wooed lovers of the great outdoors via luxury houseboat. Twin Anchors is a pioneer in the industry, becoming the first commercial operator in Western Canada in 1964. Today their combined fleet includes more than 100 houseboats.
We hopped on the CruiseCraft V, designed to be the ultimate floating resort at 3,900 sq ft. The boat sleeps 24 people and features three deck levels for entertaining. On the rooftop you’ll find a large custom hot tub with swim-up bar and deluxe wet bar. The bridge deck has three staterooms, deluxe bathroom and a covered dining area with BBQ. The main deck is spacious and outfitted with an incredible gallery complete with bar fridge, wine cooler and large work island for those who like to chat in the kitchen.
Wind whistled through my hair as we cruised along fir and cedar dotted coastline. The sunset splashed across the horizon while I sipped a glass of Ortega from Celista Estate Winery, which sits perched above the lake only a few kilometres away.
I had a chance to visit Jake and Margaret Ootes winery the previous afternoon. The couple bought the property in 1995 and at the time lived in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The first vines were planted in 2002 and now they are proud owners and operators of a multi-award winning winery, dubbed the “northern most winery in North America.” The Oootes grow grapes, sell wine, operate a petite art gallery, maintain a farm with Icelandic horses and rent cozy cabins.
I let out a deep sigh and muse, “the stoic natural beauty of the Shuswap is perhaps British Columbia’s best kept secret.” It’s hard not to feel romanced by this place. Seems as though the salmon have had it figured out for years. Best you follow their lead.
#dobbertours Icelandic Horses + splash of rose in the sun at @CelistaWine @shuswaptourism @helloBC