Sunday, August 9, 2015

Islet Lake

About 30km east of Sherwood Park on Wye Road (which becomes Highway 630) is Islet Lake.  Access is from Township Road 200, which goes north off Highway 630 just as 630 bends south. Islet Lake is part of the sprawling Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.

The parking lot has pit toilets, water, a cooking shelter and picnic tables. Beach access requires a 200-foot carry that descends about 30 feet to the water. The gravel trail to the lake takes off from behind the cooking shelter and runs west. Eventually you come out to this sand and gravel beach.

As you can see from the map above, the lake has some islands, the biggest of which is the one below. The last time we were here (2000 or 2001?) we saw a huge beaver on the east shore.

The weather was lovely (30 degrees, no clouds, slight breeze). The water is pretty murky (can't see the bottom of your paddle) and Jenn picked up a small leech getting in or out.

There are lots of views like the one above, with the sun sparkling off the ripples. Apologies for the streak on my camera lens. There were about 10 other cars in the lot on Sunday at 11 am, most with boats. The lake is large enough that we rarely saw anyone else and there are no motorized boats.

 There are beaver lodges, deadheads galore and we saw lots of water fowl and a pair of hawks.

Overall, a nice prairie paddle with lots of time to appreciate the huge skies. If you are looking for a beach, however, you might prefer Miquelon Lake Provincial Park to the south. I hope to put in there later this summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jackfish Lake

Jackfish Lake is located about 60km west of Edmonton, just south of Highway 16 off Secondary Highway 770. This is a small lake (about 2 km of surface area) with lots of bays. The size and shape seems to keep the waves down.

Public access is on the east side of the lake and includes a nice boat launch, lots of parking, washrooms and picnic site. The county dings you $20 to gain access to the launch and the parking.

The lakeshore is almost completely developed. There were a fair number of birds and the paddling was nice. There is also at least one island.

The major issue with this lake is the power boaters. The locals seemed reasonable enough but the yahoos putting in at the boat launch were most discourteous! Going early in the day seems like the best plan.

The lake has no public beach but plenty of swimmers. The bottom that we could see was quite sandy.