Saturday, October 23, 2021

Hasse Lake

 I ducked out after work one day in early September to paddle Hasse Lake, just SW of Stony Plain.

Access is through a recreation area maintained by Parkland County. There is a big dock, parking, a port-a-potty, a playground, and a boat launch.

The boat launch was challenging (shallow and gross). If I'd had a canoe (or more nerve), I would have use the dock. I managed to get both in and out without getting my feet wet or muddy but there was a lot of bum-scooting the boat.

Once away from shore, the water clearer up some and was a murky iced-tea colour. Lots of birds and some fish evident in the lake.

The most interesting part was a group of pelicans on the island the middle. They sunned themselves for most of my paddle and then went fishing near the end.

The lake itself is fine and it was a very nice day. The shore is all reeds (small beach by playground) with bushes or trees in behind it.

There was one (and maybe two) beaver lodges. The lake is silting up so the edges were often very shallow. 

Lots of water fowl and shore birds. I would think this would be a bird watchers paradise in the spring.

All told, this was okay. The gross entry was a major drawback and there are nicer lakes (Mayatan, Hubble, Jackfish, Wabamun, Muir) in this general area so I probably won't be back.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Mayatan Lake

Took the family out to Mayatan Lake in late August. The water was a bit lower than in the spring but still very clear.

We had a beautiful sunny day for it. Probably Jess's longest paddle board of the summer and my 30th paddle the year (which was my goal).

The narrows between the two halves of the lake were interesting but very shallow and smelled terrible.

The water was super clear and we checked out the underwater passages to the beaver dam on the east lake.

I didn't get a picture but saw what I think was an osprey.

Crazy clear water when lots of other lakes have algae warnings.

The parking lot was empty when we arrived but by noon it was filling out and there was even a momentary back-up at the boat launch.

A pretty good paddle on a nice lake. Would definitely go back.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

North Saskatchewan, Dawson to Accidental Beach

I took a rare trip east of downtown and put in on the North Saskatchewan just downstream of the Dawson Bridge. Dawson Park has great parking, washrooms, and a decent boat launch.

There were all manner of boats on the river: SUPs, outrigger canoes, a dragon boat, a jet boat, and a lime scooter.

This was a nice section of the river with a gentle current on the north shore all the way up to accidental beach. The new LRT bridge seems to narrow the river a bit and the current picks way up at this point, so I ferried across to the south bank and floated back.

Accidental beach was quiet and is starting to get some plant growth.

Overall, this was a very nice way to spend an hour and was a pleasant change of pace from the west end.

The area around the boat launch itself is quite shallow so I was happy the river was higher the usual.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

North Saskatchewan, Quesnel to Fort Edmonton

It was extremely hot this past summer so many activities got scheduled early in the morning. I was on the river at 7:30 on day in August, putting in under the Quesnel bridge. It was already 17 degrees out (hit 33 that day).

The river was up a bit for that time of year. It was hit even paddling in the shade of the south bank. Lots of crew out on the water that morning.

I followed a beaver upstream and the water was clear enough to catch a picture of it swimming underwater.

I went as far as the Fort Edmonton footbridge. I'd hoped to go further but I was starting to cook (it was 24 by 8:15!) so I turned around and floated back.

Lovely morning light on the north bank--lots of interesting erosion to see.

This picture conveys a bit how hot it was. Just scorching and dead calm.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

North Saskatchewan, Laurier to Whitemud Creek

I've been trying to venture out of town to see some new lakes this year, but the North Saskatchewan is just too convenient to not paddle on.

The Laurier Park boat launch has been so crowded on the weekend that I haven't bother with it. But it is quite during the week. I had a nice paddle upstream with very clear water (no rain so just mountain runoff). Always happy for this rock to hide behind before pushing the last bit up to Whitemud Creek.  

The Edmonton Queen is still in drydock air the mouth of the creek.

The water in the creek was higher than usual so I was able to get underneath Fox drive before grounding out. A very pretty little section of creek.

Then a nice float back down to Laurier, which went quickly since the river is a touch higher than usual this year.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Twin Lakes

 The Twin Lakes are located about 90 minutes north of Peace River. This is a long drive unless you are on your way to High Level (in which case, this is about half way). There are two lakes here but only one is readily accessible for paddling from the recreation area.

The recreation area has two parts. Up top, there are campgrounds, a picnic shelter (watch your head!), and really awful pit toilets. Down below, there is a sandy boat launch, dock and parking area. 

The lake is clean enough to swim in and has an interesting (if weedy) bottom.

The shore is a mix of weeds, bushes, and turf with a few beaver lodges. We followed two loons around the perimeter (maybe a half hour paddle).

There is also a trail around the lake (maybe 3km) that connects to the second lake. The trail is fairly rough so hauling boats isn't really an option.

It looks like there is a fair bit of fishing and we ran across some bear poop on the lake trail. also lots of bugs on the trail (but none on the lake).

I was surprised how much I liked this lake. At one point we were the only ones on it. I can't imagine I'll every get back here but who knows.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Cardinal Lake

Cardinal Lake is located just west of Peace River. We put in in Queen Elizabeth Provincial Park. The boat launch requires a hard right as soon as you pass under the park archway (the left take you to an outdoor museum and rodeo ground).

The boat launch is nice enough (ramp, dock and gravel beach). The lake was pretty murky (you could see down less than 12 inches). There are washrooms, lots of parking, a playground, and a campground here.

The only other access point I could see was what looks like a boat launch on the south shore off range Road 244, to the west.

As a paddle, this was a bit of a bore. The shoreline is a mix of rocky beaches with scrub growth and reeds. Looked like lots of fish though and we saw some birds, including a pelican.

We had a very overcast day but, on the plus side, this very late lake was glassy calm, which make for some great reflection in pictures.

I don't think I would go back. It was nice enough but not super interesting.