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Lytton

Lytton is a small town, its city centre located about an hour outside of Hope. It’s known for it’s white water rafting, the First Nations population living there and on the reserves surrounding it, and it’s temperatures; Lytton is, after all, Canada’s Hotspot.

It’s also a very cool place geographically because it is surrounded by three distinct mountain ranges, and is situated where the Fraser and Thompson rivers meet.

This weekend was the Lytton Ambassador Pageant, so I spent three and a half days amidst excitement, culture and almost unbearable heat.

I drove up with the White Rock girls and coordinator on the Thursday.

As usual, we were running just a little behind schedule, so we missed the bus that was supposed to take the 25+ visiting communities onto the reserve for a Healing Gathering.

Our only option was to head up there ourselves.

After about an hour of off-roading through pouring rain, we made it to the Powow in time to watch the candidates give their speeches and to make our visiting royalty greetings.

We left shortly after due to the less than desirable weather, and on our way back to town, saw a black bear cub galloping across the road.

We met up with the sparklehead crew later on for a barbecue and pool party, even though it was still raining.

Again, we didn’t stay too long. Instead, we went exploring.

The Lytton Friendship Ambassador for 2009 took us on a tour to the West Side, a residential and ranch part of Lytton on the other side of the Fraser river.

We took a two-car reaction ferry across: a reaction ferry is propelled by the currents in the river, and also runs along several cables attached to each shoreline.

There used to be about 30 reaction ferries in B.C.; the Lytton ferry is one of five still in operation.

Besides ranches and houses, the West Side is home to the spiritual Stein Valley.

Hikers and adventurers can spend months hiking the entire valley with its many trails, but we decided to walk about 15 minutes deep to the Asking Rock.

This massive boulder was once decorated with First Nations paintings from over a hundred years ago. Today, you can still see the remnants of the art. It is a First Nations’ custom to bring a gift of tobacco to the rock as an offering to the ancestors who were once there.

After hiking back up, we returned to our hotel which was creepy and filthy to say the least, (it is apparently haunted, and is definitely inhabited by black widow spiders…)

Friday was my favourite day of the trip. After a delicious breakfast, we went to a resort just outside of town called Kumsheen, known for it’s white water rafting.

We spent a couple of hours in purple wet suits paddling the mighty Thompson river through rapids with six foot high waves.

To give you an idea of the size of the Thompson, it is the third largest commercially run river in the world, with a volume that day of about 48,000 CFS (cubic feet per second).

Perhaps the coolest part of our rafting trip was getting to hop out of the raft and swim down the river.

Like when I went last year, we swam in a calm section, in between rapids.

But this year we were allowed to swim through six foot high rapids!

This clearly would not have been possible without our life jackets, and I did swallow quite a bit of water, but it was totally worth it.

That evening was the talent and fashion show portion of the weekend.

Saturday we visited Hell’s Gates, located on the cliffs on the other side of the Fraser.

We took a short but rocky tram ride across and spent a couple of hours taking pictures, learning about the area’s history and browsing the fudge and ice cream parlour.

Finally, we attended the pageant itself, which lasted about five and a half hours.

The B.C. Ambassador team is very close to the 2009 Lytton royalty as both programs are run by the same coordinator.

The three of us were honoured on stage with hand-carved paddles, each with engravings unique to us: mine has a hummingbird backed by mountains, symbolizing inner and outer beauty.

We were also given beaded roses, four each to represent four of the world’s ethnicities: red for the East, black for the West, yellow for the South and White for the North. The bouquets were awarded to us for our work in bringing communities and people of all types together.

Sunday morning was spent with a nice sleep-in, followed by breakfast and the car ride home.

The Lytton pageant was a lot of fun, and I am simply ecstatic about my paddle.

Next stop, a weekend at home for the first time in weeks: the Miss White Rock Pageant and Spirit of the Sea Festival is five days away!

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@HayleyWoodin

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