The closest commercial rafting tours can be found on the Chilliwack River just one hour from Vancouver. And while the Chilliwack River suffers from a relatively short season it makes up for it in bumps, grinds and pure white water excitement. Dropping at a rate of 7 metres per kilometre, the Chilliwack is known for seemingly endless stretches of froth and foam.

The Tamahi Rapids in particular are home of the annual Canadian Kayaking Championships. The Chilliwack River is rated at between class iii & iv and rocks n' rolls through high water season from May to the end of July. During that time consumer-savvy Hyak Wilderness Adventures operates a daily shuttle service from downtown Vancouver. Pick up at 8 AM can be arranged from any major hotel. Hyak's Chilliwack River paddle-rafting tour lasts 4½ hours and includes a riverside feast. As an added touch participants can warm up at the end of the day with hot showers before returning to the city.

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Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Looking much like tiny concord grapes on a holly bush, the intensely sour fruit of the Oregon grape is loaded with Vitamin C. Munch them directly from the bush for a surefire pucker or render them into sugar-loaded jelly for a more palatable treat. Traditionally Oregon grape berries were mashed with other, sweeter berries to enhance their flavour. The inner bark of both stems and roots was a source of brilliant yellow dye during pre-European times. The source of the colour, an alkaloid called berberine, is known to possess antibiotic properties that are still used to combat both internal and external infections. An extract concocted from the roots is used by modern-day herbalists to correct a wide range of liver, kidney and urinary tract problems.

Illustration by Manami Kimura