How we beat the heat (the non-traditional way) this weekend; and made it into an adventure!!

Taking in the view at ghost lake, west of Ghost River.
Taking in the view at ghost lake, west of Ghost River.

This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting our 5-year-old nephew, Kale. It has been a while since we have had a sleepover weekend and we all were very excited to re-connect, spend some quality time and have some fun, while beating our hot summer heat.. (My ultimate non -traditional beat the summer heat activity below!)

Alberta has been having an unusually hot summer for weeks and weeks now, with temperatures up into the 30’s.. which we are not used least not for this length of time!! Our home doesn’t have A/C so we knew many of our activities were going to be out of the home. Anyone else without A/C at home and trying to escape the heat?!

My favourite beat the heat activity is an afternoon river float!!

What better way to keep cool than being right on a chilly glacier fed river all day!?! You get the best of both worlds while on the river, you can keep cool while getting the benefits of the sun. There is something about being out of the city, in nature and on the water that is so relaxing; I always feel more grounded and at “home”. We headed off to Ghost River (10-15 minutes west of Cochrane, AB) around noon, its approximately a 45 minute drive from Airdrie to the turn off of Ghost Lake Cottage Club.

A bunch of goofballs having a great time on our float.
A bunch of goofballs having a great time on our float.

*Tip: The road to the river is now closed off, and the “put in” spot is a steep climb down to the river.  I recommend pumping up your raft at the bottom of the gravel path, unless you have quite a few buddies to help carry it down.

On a clear day the mountains are visible in the river’s western background, making for some picturesque views. The water is a beautiful “turquoisey” colour and the shore lines alternate high to low and are rocky and treed. There are a few spots along the route that are inviting to pull off for a shore break, lunch, swim or even a cliff jump.We stopped twice along the route to partake in cliff jumping (well.. Kale and my partner Sean did), for lunch and to allow Kale to warm up as the winds made it feel “cool” when moving on the river.

Meet Ursula, the old english bulldogge.
Meet Ursula!

I loved that this river float was calm enough to bring a 5-year-old on, with only a few class 1-2 rapids along the route. The float without any stops would take approximately 3.5-4 hours to our end point at the first bridge coming into Cochrane.

Rafting the ghost river.
Kale’s first time rafting with auntie and uncle.

One of the highlights along the route for me, was discovering the Wild Cat Recreational Island; which has a camping area only accessible by water.  How cool is that!?! This has now been added to Sean and my list of adventures!

8 Tips for having the best day ever on the river! 

My recommendations for having an epic day “beating the heat” on the river:

  1. A sturdy raft with paddles; you don’t need a professional raft but a higher quality material is recommended as hazards like sharp rocks and tree branches are along the route.
  2. A hat and sunscreen; I love my Ten Tree flat brim for all my outdoor adventures; stylish and breathable.
  3. A waterproof speaker; my favourite is the UE Roll. It has great sound and a convenient clip system to secure it onto your raft or life jacket. 
  4. A dry bag for all your belongings you don’t want to get wet; we use the First Ascent 24L to keep our lunch, clothes, shoe and anything else you don’t want to get wet, dry! 
  5. On that topic, a water proof phone bag, you’ll want the phone for music and to take some photos.. I have found out first hand, ziplocs just don’t cut it… LOL.
  6. Snacks and water in a small portable cooler; we packed almonds, cheese, pepperoni sticks, cherries and mandarin oranges to keep us fuelled up!
  7. WATER TOYS!!! This was a highlight of our trip, having water fights down the river, Kale loved it.. and let’s be honest, so did we!
  8. Life jackets for you and your pup (we got ours from Outhound)… We brought our Old English Bulldogge, Ursula… who slowly is starting to come to terms with the water and  the many adventures we will be having on it with her. She did great (at times a little too confident!) and loved visiting other rafting groups we met at our pit stops.

Note: I won’t go into all the safety gear you should have in this post, but let’s keep it safe. It is Alberta Law to wear life jackets while on the river. 

Taking a break on shore to soak it all.
Taking a break on shore to soak it all.

Overall this float was an amazing “non-traditional” way to beat the heat (and the crowds) and have a memorable adventure with our nephew as we got out in nature to relax, explore and connect.

Please share with us below your “non-traditional” ways you have been beating the heat this summer!

The most beautiful things in life are turquoise.
The most beautiful things in life are turquoise.

XO Stephanie Dawn


  1. Papa John

    2017-07-30 at 8:37 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun, wish we was there.

    1. Stephanie Dawn Forseth

      2017-07-30 at 8:46 pm

      Wish you guys were there too. Next time, for sure!

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