A Paddle Along the Continental Divide

Being a girl who grew up on the West Coast of Canada, my heart has always felt a connection to both water and mountains. So, when my partner and I decided to move away from the ocean to the Canadian Rockies, part of me worried that I would feel like something was missing.


Colleen and Matt kayaking in the Canadian Rockies

The Rockies are known for their towering peaks and dramatic rock formations, but these mountains are also home to some of the world’s most beautiful bodies of water; something people often forget.

Colleen and Matt kayaking in the Canadian Rockies


One of my favourite activities from back home in British Columbia was when Matt and I would go out for a paddle with the kayaks. Once every few weeks, we would spend a day out on the ocean and paddle along the coast but, now that we live here, that tradition has taken on a new shape.


Instead of navigating the coastline, searching for wildlife and sea critters, now we spend those days paddling to the far ends of these vast lakes, their colour so blue they rival that of gemstones.

Colleen and Matt kayaking in the Canadian Rockies


It’s a different kind of adventure. One that is equally as rejuvenating as it is thrilling.


But despite the beauty of these lakes, the landscape of the Rocky Mountains is much more rugged. The water is colder, the rocks sharper and the weather more unpredictable. It is not uncommon that the wind will pick-up mid-paddle and a wave or two will splash into the boat. Because of that, our paddles now require more preparation and equipment that is up to the task.

Colleen and Matt kayaking in the Canadian Rockies

This particular paddle was extra special because we were venturing to the end of a lake we had never paddled before: Lake Minnewanka. Named after the Nakoda word for "Water of the Spirits," Lake Minnewanka is a stunning glacial lake nestled in the Banff National Park. Known for its length and depth, it is one of the largest lakes in the Rockies and holds a mystical charm.

Paddling through Lake Minnewanka felt like gliding through a dream. The water was so clear that we could see the bottom in the shallow areas, the stones below creating a mosaic of colors. As we ventured further out, the lake deepened, the color intensifying to a deep, mesmerizing blue.

Colleen and Matt kayaking in the Canadian Rockies

We paddled in comfortable silence, absorbing the beauty around us. Every so often, we would pause to take in the view or to watch a fish dart beneath the surface. The sheer cliffs rising on either side of the lake created a dramatic backdrop, making us feel small in the vastness of nature.

Reaching the far end of Lake Minnewanka, we were met with a secluded cove, untouched and serene. The stillness here was profound, and we spent a few minutes simply floating, letting the tranquility wash over us. It was in these moments that I realized something important: while I missed the ocean and its familiar rhythms, the lakes of the Rockies offered their own unique kind of magic.

As we made our way back to the starting point and the sun began to rise higher in the sky, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for this new chapter in our lives. Moving to the Rockies had been a leap of faith, but days like this one affirmed that we had made the right choice. The beauty of the mountains and the lakes was undeniable, and they had quickly found a place in my heart. Our days on the water, though different from those on the coast, were now filled with the thrill of discovery and the joy of new adventures.

Back at the shore, we pulled our kayaks out of the water and loaded them onto the car, already looking forward to our next paddle. The Rockies had given us a new home and new traditions, and I was excited to see where our journey would take us next.

Words and photos by Colleen Logan

Colleen and Matt kayaking in the Canadian Rockies


Colleen’s top pick: ADB SPORT

Matt’s top pick: ADB ICE