“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!”