I grew up where the rivers were vast and the lake formidable. I grew up loving the land and waterways and respecting them as only a guest to this world would.
The rivers and great lakes in the Northwest Territories are part of our rich and wild history of becoming Canada.
The use of canoes were the only way they were going to get through and navigate the unknown vast land that represents the North.
However, I did not experience that time but I did understand the North through river jet boats.
This may seem odd to discuss at a time where we are presently skating on the rivers or lakes here in Alberta but for me, it is the time of year of summer plans and family joys. It is a time where aluminum river jet boats are booked and put into production.
Here in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake, we have the best river jet boat manufacturers in the world. I know the difference between a Hamilton pump and an American Turbine, the difference between a stainless steel impeller from an aluminum one.
See here is the thing, I respect the rivers, streams, creeks, lakes and oceans and the marine life that maintain our ecosystem because of the fact that I grew up jet boating.
My parents bought their first river jet boat in the late-70s, it was fiberglass and probably the wrong boat to have on the rivers and a lake that would swallow us up, but we still went out. It was to share the experience as a family.
We would pull over on the side of the river and have a hot dog or a piece of fish, if that is what we were able to catch.
Being in the Northwest Territories, you can bank on it that we ate fish, abundantly. Our family learned together how eagles would fish and bring it back to the nest.
We experienced the sounds of loons during a misty morning while sitting at a campfire having breakfast and hot chocolate.
The three of us kids learned firsthand that we only catch and keep the fish we were going to eat that day.
We packed out garbage that was left from winter camps even though it was not ours but to keep the land clean. We saw grayling fins come towards the boat like as though it was a peacock tail in the water, it was brilliant and beautiful.
I saw a jackfish (northern pike) jump out of the water and take half of my fish with it. As I cried, my parents explained to me that is nature, it is tough out there and I need to understand that it is like that for all animals and species. So don’t be cruel. Have respect for all living things.
By having a river jet boat we were part of nature, not to mock it and think we were masters of it but to experience it. So if you are thinking of or wishing for summer, know it is river jet boat season in the making.
And by getting away where there is no cell service, packing up your family and fishing rods is not only a possibility, it promotes and teaches kids and adults alike the value of the freshwater gateways.
It teaches us to protect it, and to do that is to experience it.
Sharlyn Carter lives in Red Deer preparing a feast or loving the outdoors. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter as Market Gypsy.