With its big mountains-meets-canyons scenery, the Kicking Horse River in southern B.C. is probably as interesting as its name is memorable. Sure, high-octane names like Double Trouble, Rollercoaster and Portage Shotgun rapids have helped make its Class IV whitewater the stuff of legends, but the mystique behind this river’s reputation actually begins on a historical note at HQ in Golden, B.C. This is where soon-to-be paddlers are given every conceivable layer of neoprene and fleece they could want, before we trundle up to the put-in, via yellow school buses. It’s at this time that you’ll likely hear that the river got its name when an early Canadian pioneer was kicked so hard by his horse that his friends thought he was dead and so, they dug a hole in which to bury him. Fortunately for him, just before they tossed in the last shovelful of earth, he woke up and they named the water after his kicking horse. Another story says a miner was traversing a narrow trail when one of his pack horses tumbled down the cliff. The horse continued to roll down the cliff until a tree stopped him at which point he kicked so wildly, his owner rescued him. With stories like these, it’s no wonder the adrenaline and intrigue was high. One of seven rafting companies with leases to guide on the Kicking Horse, we chose Glacier Rafting Company which is the only company on the Kicking Horse to employ a full-time photographer and videographer who relies on the footage that the guides collect by wearing a Go-Pro on their helmets.
So, if a photo is worth a 1,000 words—let the following video speaks volumes. And we’re not just talking amounts of water!