Update on Northwest Voyageurs 2020 Events

The Northwest Voyageurs is cautiously opening up some club trips however we will be only accepting renewal memberships for the 2020 season.  We ask that anyone interesting in joining the club for the first time wait until 2021.  This was a very difficult decision for the club executive but out of an abundance of caution it was felt it was the prudent choice to ensure the safety of new and returning members to the club. The tentative trip schedule is available on the Trips menu item.

We apologize for the disappointment this may cause and we hope to see you next year.


Trip Reports

Trip Coordinator: Donna McKenzie

Participants: Jim F., John and Eleanore W., Donna M.

We agreed to meet at the Jackson Lake Staging Area at 12 noon. We left Edmonton at 8:30 am, and its an easy drive north in that time. Lakeland provides carts with large wheels to transport your gear 3.2 km to the water, and 14 of the 15 were at the trailhead! We arrived at the water and got our gear all loaded in our various boats. John and Eleanore had a tandem canoe, and so did Jim but he was paddling solo. Donna had a kayak. The Lakeland circuit starts on a 3 km long channel that by late August is weed and algae chocked, but we found a clear channel. We paddled onto Jackson Lake, and under the bridge into Kinnaird Lake. Our destination was the Island campsites in Kinnaird, which are beautiful. With our mid-week trip we passed a family of 5 paddling out in the channel, and then never saw another person for the next 3 days! Our Kinnaird Lake island was a lovely campsite, and we were off the water fairly early in the day. The loons sang for us, and we had a lovely relaxing evening around the fire.

Trip Coordinator: Donna McKenzie


We had 8 people meet at Chip Lake Park Friday night, Donna M., Nelson L., Arleen D., Stephanie J., Rob R., Denise J., Karyn M., and Captain Bob. Chip Lake is the lake you drive past when you drive to Jasper along highway 16, just past Wildwood. It turns out to be much larger than most of us realized, plus fairly shallow. The deepest parts of the lake are only 10 feet deep. It seems to be well stocked with fish though, as most of the people we met were fishing, and there is a LOT of bird life.

Trip Coordinator:  Donna McKenzie

Participants – Reg B., Lynn D., Dirk P., Alan S., Frank P., Margriet vL., Ric F., Gord P., Donna M.

After a Friday night loading of boats and gear at Reg’s house, we departed bright and early Saturday August 10th. We are in 3 vehicles, and towing Frank’s trailer with 3 boats on it. We had many stops during the day, including boat inspection just past Mount Robson, but eventually made it to Vanderhoof where we met up with Ric, who lives in Salmon Arm.

After another early start, we drove and drove. Stopped at Morisburg where they still spear fish from the rocky shores of a waterfall, and stopped at Hazelton to see the Native lodges.


Trip Coordinator:  Donna McKenzie

The Rivers are running high this year. We left Edmonton Saturday July 27th, planning to stop in Hinton and have a really good look at the Athabasca. We did and it was scary. We stopped at a logging bridge and while the clearance was probably okay, it looked from shore like we would have to duck our heads to safely paddle under the bridge. Thus began a re-planning of our trip, that never ended. Flexibility is our new motto!!

We were 8, Donna, Lisa, Mike, Karyn, Stephanie, Rob, Isobel and Gary. Most had little experience with running rivers and the Athabasca is a big river, flowing around 500 cms at Hinton and reaching 1000 cms by Windfall this day. Too high!

We camped Saturday and Sunday nights at Snaring overflow in Jasper, and used the day Sunday to paddle 14 km down Maligne Lake to Spirit Island, and back again. It was a lovely day and the views of the mountains were spectacular! Medicine Lake was full, something none of us had ever seen before.

Trip Coordinator:  Frank Geddes
Photos: Margriet Van Laarhoven

We wanted to camp on a sandy beach on a big lake. So, we headed to Lac La Biche, about a 2.5-hr drive northeast of Edmonton.

We had agreed to meet at Day Use Beach in Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park about 4 PM with an expected launch to our campsite at 6 PM. Like clockwork, our five vehicles came into the parking lot one behind the other. Upon registering at the campground office, we were directed to the official boat launch along the causeway from where we could leave our vehicles and launch our boats. That was different from the last time I was here, when we were allowed to park and set out from the Pelican Islands viewpoint. It meant a longer trip to our campsite, and a bit of jostling with mega boats being towed by mega trucks at the boat launch.

Trip Coordinator: Paul Bird

We assembled at the Boat Launch at Laurier Park. We were: 3 canoes, single, tandem and family: Gord, Melvyn and Norma, Andrea, Marcel, Rene, Elise and Sorrel. We also had 7 single kayaks: Kay, Margret, Chris, Wes, Denise, Cathy and Paul. The ages ranged from below ten years up to the early seventies. After the shuttle down to the take out, Cathy and Wes drove the drivers back to the put in.

Trip Coordinator: Frank Geddes

Wanna play fetch?

When we arrived at the Astotin Lake parking lot of Elk Island National Park at 09:30, there was a 25-km/hr “breeze” and gusts from the SSE, although the water off the beach was fairly flat. The weather forecast called for winds of 30, gusting to 50 for much of the day. Two of our potential paddlers put their noses to the wind and hastily decided to keep their kayaks perched atop their vehicles, while the other four of us weighed our options. Rob wisely suggested a counter clockwise circuit because there were small whitecaps to our right (the north), so we would tackle those first and be clear of them by the time the waves got high. As most people know, wave height is determined generally by three factors, two of which are wind speed and wind duration. Later in the day, the wind would be stronger and have been blowing longer, so the waves there would be higher than in the morning.

Trip Coordinator: Frank Geddes

Well it seemed like a good idea: Get out of the city for an easy day paddle in the Blackfoot Recreation Area, and then use the fire pits and picnic tables at the Islet Lake Staging Area for an afternoon barbecue. For me, it started off well, but at some point east of Highway 21, I realized that I had forgotten to pack my kayak spray skirt. Oh, well … it’s an easy paddle on flat water, so no problem. Then, the sudden thought that my spray skirt was clipped onto my PFD, which was also missing. Well, that can’t be: an NWV trip leader paddling without a PFD. So, I turned the car around and found a safe place to pull over and make a call. Fortunately, Alan answered and agreed to lead the others whilst I ferried back to my place to pick up the missing items.

Trip Coordinator: Alan Stewart

A dozen NW-Voyageurs met at Chelsey Robinson Park for the trip. For those of us from Edmonton it had been a week of daily snow before the trip which was a bit discouraging. But new members Marianna and Terry from Edson had been pushing muchbigger dumps of snow so we were glad they were able to make it; Welcome Marianna and Terry! With you guys on board perhaps we will start paddling the McLeod more often!

Trip Coordinator: Paul Bird

Five members of the club assembled at the boat launch at Riel Recreation Park. We were Karyn, Martine, Rob, Stephanie and Paul, all in kayaks. There had been some snow earlier, but this was melting. We launched on to the Sturgeon River and headed downstream to St Albert. The river was flowing at 11.7 cm/s, the temperature was just above zero and it didn’t get much warmer. The high level of the river was slowly falling, but the river was still wide. We passed bushes, reeds and trees and saw birds of many different species, also muskrat and beaver. Our trip took us into the heart of St Albert, and we passed St Albert Place, a notable landmark in the city, and the Highway 2/St Albert Trail Bridge.

Trip Coordinator: Alan Stewart

With a bleak forecast that slowly improved day by day as the weekend approached, 8 paddlers met in Blue Ridge with hopes of gathering enough excitement to brave the elements and take a two day trip on a delightful section of the Athabasca River.

Trip Coordinator: Alan Stewart

 We began assembling at Wiley West campground boat launch as early as 9.30, with a goal of getting on the water by 10.30 or 11.00. After setting up the shuttle we got on the water slightly after 11.00.

Weather a bit cool with a slight drizzle but enthusiasm wasn’t dampened. The river flow plenty adequate and not too high, close to 300cms according to Gord’s internet research. The current was good and somewhere along the route Mel clocked us drifting at about 8kph.

Trip Coordinator: Mike Eaton

Another one of our car camping trips, this time to the majestic mountain lakes of Jasper.  The itinerary included Maligne and Pyramid Lakes. 

Trip Coordinator: Donna McKenzie

Murtle Lake is the largest canoe and kayak only lake in North America. It’s located in Wells Gray Provincial Park about 30km west of Blue River, BC.  It’s a very popular paddle destination even for people as far away as Europe.  It is the dream trip of many from Germany and Switzerland and we met people from BC, Alberta, Washington and Oregon as well.  The NWV had attempted to run a trip to Murtle in 2017 but we decided the wild fires in BC were best avoided so we made plans to try again for 2018.

Click here to see the detailed trip report including some great pictures.

Trip coordinator: Paul Bird

Saturday dawned a hot and sunny day.  The group met around 9 am at the 50th street boat launch in Edmonton, and unloaded boats and equipment.

We were:

Canoes: Don and Gene, Eric and Marie, Isobel and Gary, Doug and Leslie with the smallest Northwest Voyageur, Abby the puppy.

Kayaks: Cathy, Karyn, Diane and Paul.

Some cars were driven to the take out at the Fort Saskatchewan Boat Launch.  A big thank you to Marian Brudnicki, who offered to do shuttling for us.  We met him there, and he and Cathy shuttled drivers back to the put in.  After a quick “comfort break” at the Capilano Park bathrooms, we launched on calm water in bright sunshine.  We commented on the large number of canoes, compared to many kayak-heavy trips of late.

Trip Coordinator: Mike Eaton

Every sea-faring yarn needs a good opening line. It was a sunny, calm day might not draw in the readers but it was a completely accurate for this day trip on Wabamun Lake. The trip was from Seba Beach to Wabamun over a distance 22 km.

During the off-season, I had found that not many in the club had paddled on Wabamun before so it would be an new experience for all of. 

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 Coordinators: Doug and Leslie Knight

Trip Report: Stephanie Jansen

Five intrepid paddlers started out on a July morning, refusing to be daunted by the dark clouds looming in the northeast. They made their way to Lac La Biche A&W to meet and drive out to Lakeland Provincial Park in a rainbow coloured convoy. Our group leaders, Doug and Leslie led the way followed by Stephanie, Margriet and Denise. Our first task, after eating lunch, was to locate enough canoe trailers for every member in the group to affix their boat to a cart and begin the three kilometer portage to Jackson lake. Doug and Leslie explained that sometimes the carts are still at the other end and one must hike in to pick them up, and repeat the trek with the kayak, thus increasing the journey from 3 kilometers to nine kilometers. So we were very relieved to find enough trailers at the start for the whole group. Doug gave us some pointers on tying the boats on and used words like “balancing the boat”. I admit to only partially listening to the directions as I was so eager to get going. Soon everything was loaded and we were on our way, only to experience the Many Plagues of Lakeland Provinical Park; rain, humidity, heat, hills, and thousands of bloodthirsty relentless mosquitos. My boat kept coming loose because I did not pay attention to Doug and my boat was unbalanced. It could have been that good ol’ Northwest Voyageur positive attitude or the fact that we had just met and were too polite to express our true feelings, but we plastered smiles on our faces and cheerfully proceeded up and down hills through the portage when we finally reached the lake. We unloaded our boats from the carts and then proceeded to fit all of our gear into our boats.

Click Here to Read the rest of Stephanie's fantastic Trip Report and see more wonderful pictures.



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 Coordinators: Rob Renema and Mike Eaton

There are several decent sized but relatively unknown lakes perfect for a nice day paddle within an hour or so drive of Edmonton. Battle Lake is one of these, nestled a few kilometers southwest of the more popular Pigeon Lake. The name Battle Lake is a translation from Cree referring to conflicts between Cree and Blackfoot in the region of Battle River (Alta. Cult. Multicult. n.d.).  It is about 7km long and about 0.5 km wide with a maximum depth of 13m and runs basically Northwest to Southeast.  Being long, skinny, and being oriented the way it is, it can be prone to wind (stay tuned for more on that).

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 Coordinator: Mike Eaton

This year the NWV endeavoured to put together some weekend river trips where car camping could be done.  This trip was the first of a few on the calendar for 2019. On this trip were canoeists Donna& Lisa, Don & Gene and Matthew& Alex, as well as kayakers Paul, Rob, Mike, Karyn, Stephanie, Harold, Denise and Arleen.

The group arrived throughout Friday afternoon and evening at the Starland Recreation Area located where Highway 27 crosses the Red Deer River.  The campground was centrally located being 23km downstream of the put-in and 30km upstream of the take-out. Not much was known about the site but on arrival, we found a large, well maintained campground.  The sites were nicely spaced with a few trees and we were able to camp well away from a large party having a combined stag/stagette.  Actually, they were very well behaved and we didn’t notice them at all.

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 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.