Banff man kayaking 75 laps of Emerald Lake for local charities

Banff's Lawrence Carter plans to kayak 352 kms on Emerald Lake in four days, 88 kms a day and approximately 75 laps of the lake to finish the race. Thats about 216,480 paddle strokes. He hope to raise funds for local charities; Jumpstart for Kids and Rocky Mountain Adaptive. Photo submitted.

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Banff local Lawrence Carter had his heart set on the Yukon River Quest this summer, an annual paddling endurance race that covers 715 km from Whitehorse to Dawson City in the Yukon, with a time limit of 72 hours. First time paddlers must participate as a tandem.

After this year’s race was cancelled, like a lot of other races this year due to COVID-19, a virtual race is taking place instead and there are no restrictions from participating as a solo.

To ensure the race is at least somewhat fair, race organizers have mandated that the race be completed on a closed cirrus course, like a lake, as opposed to a river.

Carter has decided to paddle his race on Emerald Lake, BC.

“As lakes provide no assistance to your race they have cut the total distance in half and will double our tracks against a map of the river to determine our finishing time against the other participants,” said Carter, who works as a shipper at the Atmosphere Store in Banff.

This means he aims to paddle 352 km on Emerald Lake in four days, 88 km a day.

“One lap of Emerald Lake by kayak is 4.75 km long which means I will have to complete approximately 75 laps of the lake to finish the race.

“Thats about 216,480 paddle strokes! It’s going to be a long haul! Luckily Emerald lake Lodge has been kind enough to provide me with a room where I can rest each night on a real bed rather then camping on the shores of an alternate lake! I think it will make all the difference in the world to my actually completing the distance in the allotted time.

“I have yet to paddle in the Yukon but it’s definitely on my, admittedly, very long list! I have been lucky enough to paddle in some amazing places in North America. The Bay of Fundy out of Alma, New Brunswick with its 13 metre (43 foot) tidal range. To put that into perspective the average tidal range worldwide is about 1 metre or 3 feet, three inches. Everglades National Park in Florida with manatees and alligators. Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park with its crystal clear waters and I spent last summer working as an expedition kayak guide in British Columbia paddling in the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound and Johnstone Strait. I have had Orca swim under my kayak and Humpback Whales surface less then 50 feet from my boat! On top of all of that my home waters are in Banff National Park, I literally get to paddle daily in one of the premier nation destinations in the world! Moraine Lake, Bow Lake, Lake Louise! What more could I ask for?”

He said he is worried that he might start running low on motivation so he decided to find a way to dedicate himself to the cause.

He choose charities Jumpstart for Kids and Rocky Mountain Adaptive, both active in the sporting community of the Bow Valley, both of which have reported shortfalls in annual fundraising after COVID-19 lockdown struck.

“I chose Jumpstart for Kids because I work for Atmosphere in Banff and it’s our company charity and I have seen first hand the great opportunities it provides financial aid to the families of children in the Bow Valley to participate in activities like ballet and soccer that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

“I have a friend who works with Rocky Mountain Adaptive winter ski programs, and I know the great work they do allowing differently abled children and adults to actively participate in all of the sports opportunities available in the Bow Valley.

I spent my early adult years working in group homes in Ontario so I love seeing the positive effects on the participants self esteem, independence and motor skills as a result of their participation in the programs.”

If any paddlers would like to join Carter on the water, he will be paddling on Emerald Lake from July 13-16 starting at 5:00 a.m. until about 7:00 p.m. each day.

“I’d love the company, and I tell a mean whale tale,” he said

To find out more about the event or donate, check out the Facebook event Paddle Onwards