SUP'ing the Columbia Wetlands
S’up, Columbia Wetlands.
I’ve always been curious as to why SUP is the short form for stand up paddle boarding and not SUP-B. I mean it’s catchier and all, but is there any danger of somebody trying to SUP a kayak or canoe. Maybe that’s the extreme future version of the sport.
If you’re like me and SUP’ing as a way to relax and unwind, there is no sweeter place than Columbia Wetlands Adventures (CWA). Located just south of Golden (watch for the world’s biggest paddle) CWA has a floating dock network, the cutest boat house ever and (best of all) mapped SUP routes.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the Columbia Wetlands, it’s basically a huge, slow moving river that has a main channel and then a number of secondary channels and lagoons to explore, especially when the water is high in June, July and August. The channels and lagoons are all delineated with greenery – water grasses, brushes and trees that get flooded when the water is high but enjoy fertile moist soil when the season permits.
This network of waterways is the recipe for success when it comes to SUPing. CWA has kindly placed a number of way-markers and printed maps for all the water adventurers. You can plot out a nice 3-5 km loop with a swim mid-way. I probably didn’t mention the glorious mountain views, so let me do so now: the mountain views are amazing.
My favourite methodology when taking in some SUP action at the Wetlands (did I mention it was a way for me to unplug) is to cruise a 2-3 km route out to the big lagoon where there is a nice little floating dock for lounging and basking in the sun. After a short siesta, there is a direct route (less than 1 km) back to the main dock. If you’re timing things correctly you can eat your picnic lunch at or inside the boathouse before hitting the road.
Bonus features: CWA rents SUP boards and paddles (also canoes and kayaks if SUP is not your thing). Next door to CWA is the Columbia Outpost Lodge so you can actually stay out there with all of your friends if you can’t get enough of the goodness.