Trip Reports

Trip Coordinator: Mike Eaton

Conditions: Sunny 23degC, wind 15-20 km, Flow 8.7 m3/s, Level 1.5m

The forecast was for warm sunny weather.  As the 13 of us met at the put-in at the Riel Recreation Park in St. Albert, a brisk west wind picked up.  We weren't concerned for the conditions as it is a small river with plenty of places to stop, rest and get off if need be.Since the trip involved paddling downstream and now downwind with a return upstream and upwind, there was some apprehension.  However, the forecast was for the winds to diminish in the afternoon.  The group consisted of Gord and Donna in a tandem canoe and single kayakers Denise, Rob, Stephanie, Caitlin, Tom, Colleen, Richelle, Jean, Ron, Mike and Fred.

Trip Coordinator: Alan Stewart

Nine of us Northwest Voyageurs were able to escape the tyranny of  Mothers’ Day on a warm, sunny morning for this trip. We were: Melvyn Kadyk and Norma Ouellette, Gary Davidson and Isobel Lawson, Jeannette Gasser and Alan Stewart paired up in canoes. Gord Pennycook paddled his solo boat, and Karyn Murray and Patrick McCloskey were in kayaks. We must all have been super-enthusiastic as we were all early.

We met at Mewassin Church on hwy 627 west of Edmonton. Mewassin is a Cree word meaning ‘good place’. It is near the junction of a major First Nations trail along the North Saskatchewan river and another that went to the Lac Ste Anne area. Mewassin itself was an important wintering camp site with shelter from the wind and a good wood supply in the valley. Somewhere in the area there is a bone bed from times when buffalo were hunted by being driven onto the thin ice in fall, stranding them for the kill when they fell through the ice.

Trip Coordinator: Mike Eaton

The trip started on a hot Friday afternoon with a large group converging on Dinosaur Provincial Park from all points of the compass.  We camped in the splendor of the park campground Friday night and on Saturday as the remainder of or flotilla arrived, we ran the shuttle over to Jenner Rodeo Grounds. On the Trip were Tandem Canoes Donna/Lisa, Matthew/Alex, Solo Canoe Larry and solo kayakers Mike, Paul, Karyn, Andre, Beth, Harold, and Denise. The plan was to launch in the creek right behind the campsite and head to the river.  Water levels and silt build up in the creek made this the most strenuous part of the trip.  Once we hit the river we enjoyed a gloriously sunny prairie summer.  At the lunch stop, the group was fascinated at the number of bone fragments on a gravel bar.  Some were from modern cows and some (perhaps) from more ancient critters.

Trip Coordinator:  Alan Stewart

We were 8 on the day trip from Wiley West boat launch near Drayton Valley to Berrymoor  Bridge on Hwy 759, Isobel Lawson with Gary Davidson and Alan Stewart with Arjun Singh in canoes, and Trudy Ayotte, Fred Coffee, Marilyn Sorken and Karyn Murray in solo kayaks.

After a not-very-well organized meet up we easily got started on the river. By this time of year the water is beautifully clear and fresh, and we had a weather-wonderful day – hazy to thin overcast, warm bordering on hot but very comfortable on the river.

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.

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:  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.  

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