Thompson Valley Stars

One couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for cruising down the river for the 12th Annual Banana Island Canoe Trip, on August 17th. There was a slight breeze when 3 canoes and 2 kayaks left the Pine Street boat launch in Chase at 9 a.m. Life jackets had been donned, lunches, sun screen, hats, cameras and ‘bailer buckets’ were packed into the boats, along with lawn chairs and the musical equipment.

The first stop was on the beach at the end of VLA road.  Five dancers from Kamloops and four from Pritchard were anxious to do some square and round dancing. Remembering what happened last year, when 2 ft. waves with white caps stopped some of the voyagers from reaching their destination; they wasted no time getting to Banana Island for their picnic lunch, swimming and more dancing.

It was when the group was nearing Banana Island; there were two fishing boats pretty well in the centre of the river. Don Rice was in one of the kayaks and decided to go between the 2 boats to ask how the fishing was. He did not see the anchor rope and before he knew it, he was dumped into in the deep water and his kayak was upside-down. Shoes and a few other items were floating away, including his paddle, when Doug Neustaedter& his boating companion Louse Foster came to Don’s rescue. He was not able to get back into the kayak because of leg
cramps, so they towed him the remainder of the distance to the Island.  No one was hurt and everyone was very hungry by then.

After a leisurely picnic lunch, the group decided it was time to do what they came for………..DANCE! Three rather rambunctious water skiers, who were also using the same beach, decided this might be fun! One of them ‘Bob’ took a turn dancing and was having a wonderful time while his buddies were snapping photos. After a couple of dances on the beach, the 8 dancers moved to dance in the water. Caller Merv Meyer called AND DANCED in the water so he could qualify for the favourite ‘Aquaduck’ badge. This badge proves that you have square danced in the water. There is also a Banana ‘dangle’ available, that one can hang from their name badge to signify the ‘Banana Island Canoe Trip’.

It was wonderful to see some Golden Eagles on this trip,  so close to where everyone was paddling. There were lots of Osprey, Bald Headed Eagles, ducks, geese, cows and even a young black bear. Seagulls were having a hard time trying to lift one of several dead large salmon floating in the river. There were quite a few fishermen on the shores and in boats

With water getting calmer after we left Banana Island, and the day turning even warmer, we pushed onwards. It was then that we spotted the 2 year old black bear scampering in the long grass on the south side of the river. This certainly made the trip a worthwhile venture.

The paddling group arrived at their destination, Pritchard, around 3 p.m. Some of them were a little sunburned but all were happy, content, and pleased they had a good trip. Five of the group
left in one vehicle to fetch the other vehicles that were left in Chase when the boats were launched at the start of the trip. Then they all drove back to Prichard to load up the boats once more. A good time was had by all with lots of fun memories. Hopefully a few more will be able to make this memorable journey next summer.

For more information, including new dancer sessions starting in the Fall, call 250-376-5636, or email:

The benefits of the recreation can be explored at:


Also, see the online video:

star Photo Albums


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