Have you ever wanted to spend a week on a houseboat during the summer? Not sure what to expect from the experience? This August we joined Todd's family on a boat, docking from the Houseboat Capital of Canada, Sicamous British Columbia. The houseboat rental company we chose was Twin Anchors Houseboats where we booked the CruiseCraft II, a 15 person boat. We spent 7 days slowly making our way along Shuswap Lake, overnighting on beaches in the evening, enjoying some beautiful hikes, a waterfall, and of course a whole lot of swimming. What was the most memorable part of the trip? Here we go!
Placid Deep Blue & Mountain View
The first afternoon on the water was kind of mind-blowing for me. I was struck by the awesome beauty of Shuswap Lake and the surrounding mountains, teeming with evergreen trees. Lounging on deck in the warm summer sun, mid lake, I had one of those moments. THIS is the LIFE! Setting out I was concerned that we might become bored or feel trapped on the boat. 7 days felt like a long time. We are the kind of travelers that always like to have something going on, new things to see and do. It turned out that just going where the current took us was a refreshing change, and with scenery like this, I had plenty of beautiful views to admire, from shore and on the lake.
Swimming, Floating, Diving, Sliding, Soaking
We had pretty good weather for late August, with most days offering sun and heat enough to enjoy the fresh lake water. Even though Shuswap has an average depth of about 250 m, it's actually maintains a pretty comfortable temperature. The water felt great on your skin, and left you feeling fresh enough to skip the shower most days which was nice since one shower shared among 9 adults and 6 kids provides a logistical challenge. We all enjoyed the lake in our own ways. I personally prefer to float with a drink in hand, but I did try the slide out a few times. Who could resist? Eve was a bit intimidated by the lake itself so she floated with me a few times in the giant pink flamingo, and spent the rest of the time splashing in the hot tub on the top deck, which we kept unheated during the warmest part of the day. Any concerns that we had about safety for the kids were relaxed after the first couple days. They were all respectful of the rules and made sure to have an adult on watch when swimming off the back of the boat. The youngest of our group was Eve ( 5 years old). I think that's the perfect age to join in this type of trip since she could climb the steep stairs and ladders herself and knew to be safe around the rails and gates. A few floats and one SUP board added to the fun on the lake.
All houseboats on Shuswap Lake adhere to a no boating after dark rule, which means you need to have your houseboat moored on one of the many beaches along the lake at night. Exploring a new beach ended up being one of our favourite parts of the day. Each was unique from the next. Some sandy, others filled with the most beautiful river polished rocks. We arrived at Marble Point just after a light morning rain had tapered off. The sun began to peek through the mist, illuminating the granite and quartz stones like gems! Picking rocks became a treasure hunt that amused us all evening long, until it was time for a bonfire and a sing-a-long (my guitar took the trip with us).
Hikes, Waterfalls & Petroglyphs
Yes, there's a beautiful lake to cruise through and swim in. Yes, there are plenty of beaches to chill on. However, if you really need to get your body moving and go exploring you're in luck! A morning hike took us to a Albas Falls, a 5 tier fall accessible by a 3 km trail.
Along Marble Point we discovered a large Inukshuk like rock stacking, and added our own stones to the group sculpture.
It was pretty funny how many times we all claimed to see something painted on the rocks while searching the cliffs for petroglyphs. When we finally discovered them, it was only by paddle board because they were so much smaller than we imagined. Of course it made sense, our scale was totally off!
There was so much majestic beauty around us, but the small wonders drew just as much attention, especially from the kids. Tiny sand frogs at every beach, slugs along forest paths, snakes meandering through shallow waters, fish, gulls, eagles, owls, and even a bat who decided our open houseboat door was an invitation to the party one evening! The kids found apple trees to raid on one beach and made it a team effort. Each sparkling rock, patch of moss or hollowed out tree added to our enjoyment of this time together on Shuswap Lake. It was a summer we'll never forget.