Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making a splash in the North Saskatchewan River

Canoeing in a 10 person voyageur canoe with fellow River Valley Alliance members this past Saturday was nothing short of a good time by all. 
From the first few minutes in the canoe, I realized that I’d been transported from civilization into the wilderness of the valley. We saw signs of fall already starting to show its colors along the luscious banks. And it made me wonder what it must have been like all those years ago when the river was the only corridor of travel.

The canoes were navigated down the river from Voyageur Park in Devon to Laurier Park at the Valley Zoo by Ceyana Canoe Club guides. It is worth noting that we felt very comfortable with the guides since some of them have vast experience in canoeing. For instance, some of the people who did the David Thompson brigade trip in 2008, a 63 day trek from Rocky Mountain House to Thunder Bay as well as the 2011 trip from Invermere, BC, to Astoria, Oregon were the people we were paddling with. They kindly volunteered their time and canoes so thank you from us all at the RVA.
We stopped on a beach to have our lunch and take in the sheer wonder around us. It was peaceful and naturally beautiful. It only took 4 hours to make the trip since these canoes are fast on the water.

Hot & sunny it was indeed. The sun glistened from the water making it look very inviting.  The clear water showed the varying river bottom over our journey. We had to navigate around sandbars since the water was low enough to stop you still in your tracks in parts along the way.

We saw many people at access points along the shore line. From panning for gold to walking the dog or on a family outing, they were all there to enjoy a piece of the river valley.

A first for me was seeing the new suspension bridge at Ft Edmonton Park. There were people down at the river’s edge and a few on-lookers along the foot-bridge who stopped to watch us as we sailed by.

Ah yes, and what would a paddle down the river be if one did not engage in a little splashing here and there...  but  in the end, it was I who got doused much to everyone’s delight! (They had the audacity to say I started it....but regardless of who splashed who, I enjoyed the trip and look forward to next year’s!)

Thanks to the Town of Devon for providing the transportation for all participants. Hope you enjoy  photos from our day on the river.
Rio St Germain
River Valley Alliance
Advisory Committee
Strathcona County

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