Saturday, October 19, 2019

Athabasca River, Athabasca

During  recent work trip, I managed to get an hour in to paddle on the Athabasca River, which flows past the town of Athabasca. I've paddled the Athabasca in Jasper but never this far downstream.

Access is really easy, with Highway Two depositing you right a the river's edge in a lovely park. There is a boat launch right there and ample parking.

I paddled upstream about 45 minutes until I started to lose the light and then floated back. The river is a bit larger than the North Saskatchewan and had a pretty decent current, even late in the autumn.

The autumn leaves made for a nice paddle. It might be more fun to do this paddle with a shuttle arrangement.

My time was limited during this trip but nearby Island Lake and Baptiste Lake to the west and Lawrence Lake to the north look like good places to try the next time I'm up (in the summer!).

There is also Skeleton Lake and North Buck Lake to the east (the latter has a provincial park).

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Long Lake Provincial Park

Work took me north in early October and I managed to swing by Long Lake Provincial Park during the drive. This is a different Long Lake than the one which hosts the Forfar Recreation Area (which is to the west about an hour).

Long Lake is a bit of a haul from Edmonton (2+ hours each way) for a day trip, but there is a nice campground here. The facilities were pretty decent and included a boat rental and concession (open during the summer) as well as a store and gas station just outside the park gates. The boat-rental dock (normally on the left in picture below) had been hauled out for the season when I got there.

There is a large public beach with a playground and picnic facilities. You'd have to haul a boat maybe 200 feet to beach launch, but this is likely the best option.

The lake is very long (north-south) and it can be windy. When I got there, the air temperature down in the valley was only 3 degrees (!) and the wind made it much worse. I'm pretty hardy but this was just too cold for me to paddle.

There is a boat launch to the north of the main beach.

There is also a dock at the boat launch.

Overall, likely a nice lake on a calm day. Not so nice of a paddle if the wind gets rolling. I would say this is a slightly less attractive paddling option than the Forfar site at the other Long Lake in the region.