Fraser River trip a journey of reflection and learning for Port Coquitlam couple
Their muscles are strong from paddling, their knowledge of the Fraser River is deep, and for a Port Coquitlam couple summer is ending on a high note thanks to 23-day paddling trip down the iconic B.C. river.
On Sunday, Aug 24. Alex Ensworth, 23, and Katie Furness-Moore, 19, will conclude the Sustainable Living Leadership Program sponsored by the Rivershed Society of BC. They will have documented the trip with photographs and interviews that they will publish in a book called "Faces of the Fraser."
Dubbed a trip of the lifetime by Ensworth, a third-year applied physics student at SFU, and a learning opportunity by Furness-Moore, a nursing student at Douglas College, the paddling journey from the Fraser River headwaters to the mouth was an opportunity to learn about the Fraser River and people who depend on it for food, business and their spirituality.
As well, according to Ensworth, the couple learned how to live with little waste and to enjoy wilderness camping.
"Even our preparations of cooking, how we don't throw out everything, our garbage is very small, and even the facilitators talk how to work more in a circle than a line, reusing, and not just depleting a resource," Ensworth said.
Some of the highlights included a rafting excursion and meeting up with a group of Big Horned sheep while on a solo hike.
The food was great, said Furness-Moore, and she particularly enjoyed a meal of polenta and vegetables cooked by a former graduate of the program who joined them for part of the trip.
The couple met numerous people who rely on the river for their income. One organic farmer told them how he relies on the river to flood his farm and fill the soil with important nutrients.
On Aug. 21, they spent the night at Colony Farm and their hosts were the Kwikwetlem First Nation. Trip organizer Fin Donnelly, who is also a founder of the Rivershed Society and the New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody MP, said the 1,400 km trip is an opportunity for young people to learn about the river, study the watershed, and how to lower your ecological footprint. Participants are encouraged to do a research project and share their knowledge with the community.
More information is available at www.rivershed.com.