“You don’t have to be a little old lady sitting on the shore doing needlepoint!” That’s what Sea Eagle boater, Maggie Dickeson, says. Maggie knows of what she speaks: she’s an active hiker and boater in the East Kootenays, British Columbia, Canada. Maggie’s 78 years young.
An active lifestyle
The East Kootenays (pronounced KOOT-nees), in Canada, north of the U.S. Idaho – Montana border, are remote. A recent census pegged population at about 56,000 inhabitants in a region of about 27,600 square miles. That’s about two people per square mile.
And as you’d expect, those are some hardy folk. “The people who come here are outdoor types,” says Maggie. “It’s just part of the lifestyle up here.” And “up here” is really “out there.” The nearest city is Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “It’s about 250 miles away,” says Maggie.
“Around here, everybody’s active,” she tells us. “This is outdoor country and the scenery is just fantastic. All my friends are outdoor people.” Nearby Mount Fisher tops out at about 10,000 feet. “We’ve all been up it,” Maggie says. “One friend of mine climbed it on his ninetieth birthday.”
Columbia River headwaters
And between the mountains are plenty of lakes and rivers, making the East Kootenays a boating paradise for outdoors people. “We’re a short distance from the headwaters of the Columbia River,” Maggie told us. “I’ve boated on it; it’s a large, calm lake.”
She’s always loved water
Against this backdrop of rugged outdoor adventure, Maggie doesn’t see herself as much of an adventurer. “When I look at Sea Eagle’s blog,” says Maggie in a charming Scottish accent, “there are so many people doing fantastic things, I don’t know why you’d want to post my story.” We politely disagree. Most of the 78-year olds we know are perfecting their needlepoint or puttering in the garden. But not Maggie and friends.
Growing up in Scotland, there was lots of sea around. “I always liked boating, swimming, and getting out on the water,” says Maggie. Her husband, Paul, built a canoe a few years ago. But when he tore a rotator cuff while skiing, “I was left high and dry,” says Maggie. That’s when friends recommended she get a Sea Eagle inflatable kayak.
“Never leave home without your Sea Eagle!”
“I love it,” she says, and has even christened her Sea Eagle “Erne,” the zoological name for the Sea Eagle — a bird of prey of the genus Haliaeetus.
“You can take the Sea Eagle anywhere.” And she does; she deflates it and throws it in her van. Maggie tried a plastic kayak first but, “It didn’t have stability,” she says. “You’d put your paddle in and it’d spin 360 degrees.”
“I like the Sea Eagle because you don’t have to sit in a little hole,” as you do in a hard-hulled kayak, says Maggie. And you don’t have to do an Eskimo roll. “Eskimo roll? Not interested, thank you. I stay afloat, I’m surprised at how floatable it is,” she says. “You sit high on the water. A kayak sits low in the water and I thought the Sea Eagle wouldn’t be stable, but it’s very stable.”
Maggie told us, “You may tell your public I’m 78 and I just love my Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. Never leave home without it!”
I’m with you, Maggie. I’m almost 74 and still paddlin my SeaEagle paddleski down here in San Diego. The dogs love going along for the ride, too.
Fair winds and warm water,
I hope I’m still paddling when I’m Maggies age,unfortunately in Ireland the weather ins’t always condusive to water activities
I will be 75 in a few months and I dont have the Kayak but I have their SEA EAGLE Frameless Pontoon whick I use for fishing.I feel safe and I went back to tease the fishes.It is one of the best investment I made and just love it.So keep on going Maggie.
As a mere stripling of 61, I applaud you! I have just taken up stand up paddle boarding, and expect to continue until the final curtain. There are no Eskimo rolls with SUP boards, but always the possibility of a brisk dunking. The view is excellent, the exercise superb, and it’s rather like walking on water.
God Bless you Maggie, keep padling.
Maggie, it is so good to be inspired by you. I am 71 and still getting used to my rather new Sea Eagle SE9. I use mine for fishing and just having fun splashing about. I wish now that I had purchased a smaller boat, maybe one like yours. Having owned several boats during my life, I think the Sea Eagles are great, a good value, and enable people of age to accomplish feats that other people think cannot be done. Keep paddling!
Loved your reply. I was really inspired by your experience. I’m a lifelong sailor/power boater and have been looking for a comfortable way to be on the water, less strenuous than owning a boat. I love “gunkholing” up canals and little inlets. Thanks, guess I’m not nuts after all at 72.
Congratulations to all you paddlers who replied to my blog (such a funny word) We should start club and share stories. Great to hear that other people are as daft as me and I’ll probably get dafter as the years go on!!
Hl Maggie, I also owned an SE9 with a 1.5 hp gas engine. I gave it away when I stopped fishing. I will be getting my Sea Eagle 465 Fast Track Pro in 3 days, for my wife’s birthday. We are both 76.
Instead of fishing we will be gandering. We live on Beautiful Puget sound with so much to see and so many remote saltwater camping grounds. My wife is a whole 3 days older than me, so I guess I’ll have to do most of the paddling. Ouch! she just got me with a left hook! I will keep a log of our trips and post them on this website. Please keep us up to date on your escapades also,