Saturday, August 29, 2020

North Saskatchewan, Laurier Launch

Back on the river last week and I decided to try my luck at the Laurier Park launch. This was a much nicer starting point than Hawrelak Park.

It was a beautiful night, with a hot sun and a light breeze. Paddled up to the the Quesnel bridge.

The River Queen is in dry dick on the beach below the Whitemud Creek snd the current was still pretty fast over on that side of the river.

I spent some time cycling in and out of the eddy behind this big rock. Usually this is in the middle a rock garden but the water was high enough I could float in pretty easily.

With the hot weather causing the river level to drop, I'm hopeful to put in at Fort Edmonton and paddle up to the foot bridge (or maybe the dog park) in September).

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Jackfish Lake

Jackfish Lake is located just south-east of Stony Plain with access of Highway 770. Parkland County operates a day-use area on the east side of the lake that includes the boat launch, washrooms, and picnic tables. While access to the boat launch is free, the county charges $20 to park in the evening and on weekends.

The lake itself is reasonably pretty and clean. It is about four km north to south and maybe 2.5kms east to west but the irregular shape make the lake seem smaller and keeps the waves down. There are a lot of cabins on the lake and a fair number of boats (especially on the weekend).

This trip we went into the south end of the lake (we'd previously been to the north about five years ago). There were a large number of coves and reaches to paddle that kept us out of the wind.

The water was very clear. Parts of the bottom were sandy and parts were quite weedy.

I got to try out the new life jacket Jenn and Jess bought me (old one was 20 years old and smelled pretty bad).

Of particular interest is the main island which has boat-in cabins. How do you empty a septic tank on an island?

We had a better time this trip than last, mostly because there were fewer yahoos in boats. I suspect that a hot weekend would see the lake full of power boats, so timing the trip is important.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

North Saskatchewan, Hawrelak Launch

Although I haven't been blogging about it (because we haven't been anywhere particularly new or interesting), we've been kayaking a lot this summer. The water finally dropped on the North Saskatchewan enough that I could get out.

Construction on the Groat bridge has backed my usual launch site at Emily Murphy so I tried the new launch at Hawrelak Park. It is so-so. Short carry (200 feet?). Bottom is rocky and seems to drop off. You launch right into a pretty stiff current, which isn't great for starting out paddling upstream. Not sure how the dock (if ever installed) will affect that.

I then paddled upstream on the south shore basically to the Laurier boat launch (so just below the end of the world look out). The first part (to the foot bridge) was a reasonably hard paddle. Once under the bridge, it got easier.

It was a beautiful night to be on the water.

I haven't paddled this stretch before and there are lots of interesting bank formations showing the various layers of clay and a bit of coal.

I also cut down some fishing tackle that was trapped on a tree. An upstream breeze came up on the way back and I had to paddle downstream against white caps! Think I would launch for Laurier next time. Nicer paddle.