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.
The valley in this stretch of the North Saskatchewan is wide and the river mostly gravelly and braided but there are frequent rock cliffs with faster water and exciting waves. Good views, good water and great choice in making the trip as relaxed or exciting as you choose.
Soon after starting we had our first sighting of a bald eagle and some time later a second sighting of a baldie cruising around the river. Some of the high banks had big colonies of bank and barn swallow nests. Our other wonderful wildlife was a beaver that we had lots of time to watch as it patrolled the river and we munched lunch. Sadly the moose we saw turned out to be more domestic hoofed critters.
We met only one other paddler, a solo canoer who was camping and who appeared to be just drifting and scouting the river…I speculate that he was likely looking for good panning sites. At both the Wiley West put-in and the Berrymoor take-out there were a number of big trailers and boats but we only met one jetboat on the river itself. I wonder where these boats went as we didn’t see much of them but I’m happy that the river is still not too crowded.
All in all another fine day on the North Sask. My learnings from this trip include: Fred is not Coffee, Berrymore is really Berrymoor, and Trudy wants humankind to evolve into little green people – not Martians, but photosynthesizing animals.