Monday, May 19, 2014

Sturgeon River and Big Lake, St Albert

A spring bike ride took us along the banks of the Sturgeon River in St Albert this weekend. The trail leads west out of town to Big Lake. On our way back, we noticed the river was high enough that the boat launch was actually feasible. I've wanted to canoe the Sturgeon for awhile.

We decided to take advantage of the spring water and hauled the canoe back there today. The boat launch is on the north side of the river, accessible off Mission Avenue. There is a public parking lot right there so the carry is less than 100 feet. The place was hopping with a dozen kayaks and two canoes on the river.

The water was high so the river was navigable down to at least Boudreau Road. We decided to go upstream towards Big Lake to check out the old trestle bridge and the wildlife.

We had a lovely paddle with lots of waterfowl and red-winged black birds. Paddling through a downtown with people on the trails and playing guitar up in the trees (local colour, as my dad would say) was a very different and enjoyable experience. Past the bridges the traffic thinned out some.

We saw at least seven muskrats out, including a pair playing. The best shot I could get (while steering) was this one (the brown smudge in the centre is the muskrat). Jess got very close to a pair of them (maybe four feet).

Overall, a lovely hour on the river. Nothing too challenging except staying in a channel deep enough to get a paddle in. The Sturgeon is much more suited to kayaks.