Saturday, November 21, 2020

End of the season

With colder temperatures and snow, the paddling season ended for me on November 3. Not the latest that I've paddled in Edmonton, but pretty close and a very good run. Below is a shot of Whitemud Creek on November 1--too frozen for me to bust through from the river.

I paddled a lot this year (I think 43 times--my goal was 30). We started April 20th out in St. Albert on the Sturgeon (also with ice!). High water on the North Saskatchewan into August meant we spent a lot of time on the Sturgeon this spring.

Highlights of the summer included a trip to Meadow Lake Provincial Park in Saskatchewan (Kimball Lake being particularly nice) and Horseshoe Lake in Jasper. I also had a very nice paddle at Island Lake up by Athabasca and a fun run through Edmonton with my wife.

Next year, I'd like to try Baptiste Lake up by Athabasca as well as maybe Slave Lake. Buck Lake is also on my list. Catch you in the spring!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Muir Lake

I popped out to Muir Lake, just north of Spruce Grove one day in October. This is mostly a fishing lake (stocked with rainbow trout) but offers a sheltered paddle. The lake is busy on the weekends and quit on week-days. 

A circuit of the lake takes about 45 minutes if you stop to watch the wildlife. Access is off Range Road 274 (which is Century Park Road when it crosses Highway 16). There is ample parking, a great boat launch and dock and washrooms on the NE corner of the lake.

The lake is peanut shaped and runs roughly north-south, wth one island in the middle. The water level was way up this year (based on all of the bushes that were in the water).

The southwest corner of the lake has a private beach with gazebo and fire pit.

It was very windy the day I was there (>35kph) but the lake is both sheltered and shallow, so there were no real waves, even running down the long sweep from north to south.

There was the usual prairie wildlife (ducks, beaver, muskrats) on display despite the late fall day. 

The proximity to Edmonton, good facilities, and wind protection mean I'd totally go back (maybe in the spring to see the birds).

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Island Lake, Athabasca

Work took me to Athabasca in September and, after the day was over, I nipped out Island Lake for a paddle. I put in on the NW corner, coming off Highway 2 to Township Road 680.5 and then off Township road 680A.

A pretty basic but very functional launch. No bathrooms, one bench, lots of parking. The wind was coming up so I stayed don the north end of the lake to get some shelter and passed in to the bay on the NE corner of the lake.

The lake of beautiful. Clear, clean, and no other boats. The leaves and larches were turning.

At the entrance to the NE bay, there was a beaver dam and a very unhappy beaver!

The north shore of the lake was about and hour and 20 minutes to paddle (return).

I'd love to go back next year on a calmer day and check out the islands in the middle of the lake as well as the south end. It looks like there is a public boat launch of Shank Road on the south end. Nearby Baptiste is also on my list (it was way rougher the way I went to Island Lake).