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Ice Ice Baby

Oru Kayak in a glacier

Photos by Taylor Burk, Words by Hayley Gendron

Water is the most versatile element, in constant cycle. It moves and transforms with the changes in our seasons. We find ways to play in its diverse forms, from stomping in puddles to surfing, skiing, skating, and synchronized swimming. Heck, we send each other flying into it by jumping onto giant floating blobs. We use bath-bombs and water-guns. Oh, and we kayak.

One thing I love about having an Oru is that there is a constant desire to push the limits on where and how you use it. My kayak’s versatility mirrors that of water.

Mountains British Columbia

Some friends and I recently had the chance to take the ‘box outside the box’ and deep into the frozen backcountry in the southern Garibaldi Ranges of British Columbia. When spring changes to summer in the coast mountain alpine, there is a very short window of time when the frozen glacier lakes begin to thaw, but only on the surface, and only around the perimeter. The result is a network of vibrant turquoise rivers and pools far too dreamlike to be real.

But they are, and they make the perfect racetrack for kayaks.

The catch: transporting kayaks to such remote places isn’t easy—near impossible, really. Unless there’s a helicopter, and unless you have an Oru.

Assembling Oru Kayak

Transporting Oru Kayak

Flying over imposing snow covered peaks with Compass Heli Tours, we were able to get up to this frozen theme park at the perfect time—the day was hot, the ice below still thick, the water like paddling in a blue slurpee. Naturally, we used the kayak as a toboggan on the moraines and snow hills, sliding down and attempting to land smoothly in the freezing pools and streams.

Sledding in Oru Kayak

Sledding in Oru Kayak

It was a strange juxtaposition; playing and paddling in snow and ice while in shorts and developing weird sunburns (remember to wear sunscreen—everywhere).  

We had snowball fights and fell thigh-deep into snow. We even found the bellybutton of a glacier.

Bellybutton of glacier

Oru Kayak in a glacier

It’s a super neat feeling knowing you are the first person to paddle a certain body of water. It’s an even neater feeling if you think about who has potentially interacted with that same water in another part of its cycle throughout history. Aristotle may have bathed in it in Greece while pondering intrinsic forms. The Incas may have used some of it to irrigate their crops. Even if they didn’t, take comfort in knowing that all of the water beneath you was once dinosaur pee.

All things considered, it was a formidable day spent kayaking around massive glaciers and splashing each other with the blue runoff. Honestly, if it weren’t for the photos I would not be convinced it actually happened.

Heli or not, take a day to take advantage of paddling the unique state of water in whichever season you find yourself in. With an Oru and a little childlike imagination, it’s sure to be one for the books.

Carrying Oru Kayak

Transporting Oru Kayak with helicopter

Oru Kayak in British Columbia

Kayaking in mountain lake


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