Saturday, October 3, 2020

North Saskatchewan: Whitemud Drive to Rowland Road

A few weeks back, we took a float down the river from Fort Edmonton to the Dawson Park. With a tiny bit of paddling this took 2.5 hours. Much much easier trip than my usual "paddle up and float back" runs in the evening. Thanks to Jessica for running a shuttle bus.

Entry was underneath the Quesnel Bridge. There is a nice vehicle pull out under the bridge right before you get into the Fort Edmonton parking lot. A very short carry (70 feet?) down a concrete ramp and we were in the river. An alternative entry further upstream is to entry off Whitemud Road, upstream of Fort Edmonton. Longer carry to the water but longer float.

We passed Whitemud Creek and then the End of the World. The river was shallow with lots of places out in the middle having only 18 inches of water.

It was quite overcast which makes the colour quite flat but there were moments of interesting sunlight. The Hawrelak boat launch looked better in lower water than it did the last time I out there.

In mid summer, the water was almost at the top of this pipe below the old museum,

The Groat bridge was still under construction, with a berm around two the piers. This forced the rive river and the current under the bridge was quick.

I know the High Level bridge is big when I cycle across it. But floating underneath reveals just how big it is.

The old pump house is very pretty from the water. The effort the city spent landscaping under the Walterdale bridge was well worth it--creating a public space where people were fishing, throwing balls, reading books, and shooting what must have been an album cover.

I hadn't been down below the Walterdale bridge by water before (except a long-ago trip on the riverboat) so this was all new to me. Great sites (coal seams, the Mill Creek spill-way, the MacDonald Hotel and the funicular).

The new LRT bridge is finally connected. Not sure of they will keep the berms that created accidental beach downstream.

After a paddle along the east side of Riverdale, we finally pulled out below the Rowland bridge at Dawson Park. It was very shallow here. We ground out about 40 feet from shore (not the traffic cone in the water) and managed to wiggle our way over. If we'd been in a canoe and drawn even another inch, we would have had a long gooey walk to the exit.  

Overall, a very interesting float and a nice way to see the city. A bit of sun and some more colour on the leaves would have made it better. We might also have gone a bit further and pulled out at Goldbar or Rundle.

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