On a recent assignment for ZenSeekers, editor Vince Hempsall and photographer Dave Heath travelled Castlegar and the Lower Arrow Lakes, capturing the beauty, eh.

I’ve paddled, sailed, swam, and camped in or on Lower Arrow Lake near Castlegar, British Columbia, but this is the first time piloting a 1991 Volkwsagon campervan beside it. The van belongs to photographer and long-time Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine contributor Dave Heath and he’s in the passenger seat giving directions while staring at his smartphone console and piloting his drone, which is somewhere in the sky behind us. We hope.

Above: The Lions Head Pub near Castlegar is the only eating establishment in Canada with a natural rock climbing wall in its backyard. Top: Driving the beautiful Broadwater Road beside Lower Arrow Lake. Both photos by Dave Heath.

For whatever reason the drone has stopped communicating with us and so, at Dave’s instruction, I pull over to the side of Broadwater Road and we search the skies, finally locating it about 60 metres above and in front of the van. While Dave restarts his phone, hoping that will reboot the connection, I reflect on the amazing area that is greater Castlegar. Some of my favourite rock climbing cliffs are located a few kilometres West of where we’re now parked. There are world-class mountain biking trails on the slopes nearby and the 232-kilometre-long Arrow Lakes system, with its plethora of deserted sandy beaches, is right beside us.

Shooting the boating scene for the video at Scotties Marina with owner Rod Slusar piloting our boat.

Further up the road is Syringa Provincial Park, a unique location of vast beaches and tall grasses where my kids love to scramble up boulders and run amongst the Ponderosa pine. Then there’s Scottie’s Marina where my brother-in-law moors his sailboat. And one of my favourite pubs, the Lion’s Head, is just East of us. It serves cold craft beer 30 metres away from another of my favourite rock climbing walls.

Heath and Wheeler film Castlegar locals, and our models for the day, Gitansh Nagpal and Saumya Bhasin in Syringa Provincial Park.

Dave and I (along with videographer Chris Wheeler) are on assignment to #ExploreArrowLakes and capture all the above sites for ZenSeekers and Destination Castlegar but it’s tough to do without a functional drone. Thankfully, after a few tense moments and some colourful language, the “turn it off and on again” approach fixes the drone issue and we’re once again operational, driving alongside Arrow Lakes capturing the beauty of the region.

To see all of Dave’s photos from the #ExploreArrowLakes shoot and to read the resultant story, visit: