Trip Leader: Adam Belanger
Four members of the Northwest Voyageurs Canoe and Kayak Club ventured south of the city to meet Adam in his backyard at Coal Lake, which is located about 45 minutes south of Edmonton between Camrose and Wetaskiwin. The lake is long and narrow stretching from highway 13 in the south to secondary highway 616 in the North. Our put in point was on the south side of the lake near the Municipal Campground. The weather wasn't looking too good for the morning with rain, wind and otherwise uncomfortable weather for us to be on the water.
Trip Leader: Alan Stewart
With North Saskatchewan River flows over the 75 percentile and a sudden increase from 400 to over 600cms, we cancelled the Genesee trip and instead went to Islet Lake for a gentle paddle.
The day was pleasantly warm with a thin overcast at the start. We (Trudy Ayotte, Ellin Campbell, Jeannette Gasser, Freeman Adane, Wes Schultz and Alan Stewart) were sharing the lake with about an equal number of other small craft.
I think the water level is up from last year. Some of the marshy connections between islands and mainland are just passable again; perhaps we’re on a recovery pathway and water levels may continue to rise. We had great sightings of pelicans, big blue herons, black capped night herons, geese with goslings, the usual panoply of ducks and grebes and, at the take out, a group 5 to 10 (numbers kept growing) butterflies congregating on the beach.
Trip Leader: Mike Eaton
On a warm Saturday morning with scattered high cloud, thirteen Northwest Voyageurs in a flotilla of eleven single kayaks and a tandem canoe set out from the Rotary Park dock in St. Albert. In our group were Tom, Colleen, Ethan, Rob, Stephanie, Clint, Doug, Leslie, Mike, Paul, Cathy, Denise and Helga. We paddled up the Sturgeon River to into Big Lake. Since it was early in the season the water levels were perfect for a paddle. After passing under the Ray Gibbon Drive bridge, the river opened up to the expanse of aptly named Big Lake. Big Lake is two large bodies about 3.5km by 2.5 km each connected by a narrow stretch about 1km long.
Our route had us traveling along the south shore headed to the narrows and the second lake section. We saw a wide variety of wildlife; beavers, ducks, herons, gulls, many marsh birds and surprisingly few mosquitoes. Helga was very helpful in identifying the various bird species for the group including both red-wing and yellow-headed blackbirds.
With the water levels being high, there were few solid places to pull off for a break. After about an hour we pulled out to stretch our legs then continued on through the narrows into the second part of the lake. At the 7km mark we started to