Saturday, May 8, 2021

North Saskatchewan, Emily Murphy to Hawrelak

I had a chance to get down on the North Saskatchewan this week, putting in at Emily Murphy Park. This is the most convenient access point for me ad has been closed the past two years to to bridge rehabilitation. 

They are still working on cleaning up the site. The have poured the mooring for the dock that is supposed to go in here but the rest of the site is still under construction (switch back trail down the slope). It was a mild scramble to get down but otherwise great access.

The river was at late summer levels and clearer than usual at the time of year (no run off from fields).

I paddled up to the Hawrelak park boat launch (also clear) and then floated back.

Lots of interesting ice left over in the shady shore spots.

Overall, a great paddle and thrilled this access point is open again.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Telford Lake

Cold weather and low water on the Sturgeon has meant not much paddling so far this year. I went out to Telford Lake in Leduc this week. It has been about 10 years since I was last there. 

The best access remains the paddling club on the SW corner of the lake. There is a paved parking lot, a concrete boat ramp, and a pier. Access is off 47th Avenue and then north on 44th Street.

The lake runs east-west and can be pretty windy. Usually the north shore gives some shelter, so head east on the south shore and come back on the north.

The west end of the lake abuts downtown Leduc and has a cool boardwalk. As you go east, it rapidly becomes a prairie lake, with bullrushes, scrub trees, and no ready access to the shore. There is a pathway around the lake--some of it paved.

Overall, a nice paddle (maybe 90 minutes around?) close to the city. There is nothing spectacular about it, but there were lots of water fowl and the occasional jet (it is on the approach to the airport).

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Low water on the Sturgeon

We were back on the Sturgeon last Thursday night for an early paddle. The river level is very low (like end of summer low) because of the absence of any real snow pack and probably four feet below where it was last spring.

The Mission boat launch was entirely exposed and we decided to try out luck up at the Riel Park launch. Even with rubber mats being laid, it was a mucky entry.

Once we were out, it was fine. A few low spots. Then the wind came up (40kph maybe) and make for a very interesting paddle up to Big Lake.

The water doesn't look rough because the wind was blowing across the river, which was about 50 feet wide at most. But it was hella windy and the boats were constant being blown against the south bank.

We got out to the lake where there was some open water. But most of the lake was still iced over.

After some dithering, we decided to turn back because it just wasn't a fun paddle. We bought Jess a paddle board for Christmas (she's outgrown the beige kayak) and I'm happy we didn't try it out in this trip!

Getting the boats back on the truck was, frankly, a misery in the wind. And I was covered in gooey bank mud and had to drive home with the windows open because of the stink. I'm keen to get back on the water but not until the Sturgeon rises or the North Saskatchewan breaks up (water is also low there).