Trip Coordinator: Fiona Munro
Photos: Fiona, Paul
The group met at West River’s Edge Loop in Fort Saskatchewan at 9:00 am. This was a great place to launch from as it had a large grassy area to park our boats, and a boat ramp with a small sandy beach area for an easy put-in. This area also had a huge parking lot above and a pavilion with public washroom facilities.
Our original plan was to shuttle to the road beside Vinca Bridge, however, Heather informed us of the bridge construction going on and told us about Range Road 211 access to the river. After viewing Vinca Bridge, the shuttle group decided to use Range Road 211 as our take-out point. It had ample parking for the vehicles.
We were 8 paddlers, 6 of us in kayaks (Fiona, Bob, Julia, Kathleen, Paul, Clayton) and 2 in a canoe (Heather, Greg). We started our 30 km. trip at 11:45 am with cloudy skies and a light headwind and flow rate of 232 cms.
We passed under the Fort Saskatchewan Bridge, then a railway bridge, which was a good landmark for knowing that the islands were coming up soon.
Approximately half the distance of our trip, we stopped for half an hour on the first island across from the Shell Scottford Plant for lunch. The approach had pebbles and a few larger rocks. Bushes covered a good part of the island, along with a large silty/sandy beach to rest on. We could hear a significantly loud noise which we couldn’t determine. As we moved further down the river, we saw what looked like a waterfall but are guessing it was part of some plant operations.
Despite this being an industrial area, it was hidden by trees on both banks of the river. We were delighted to see a fox at the river’s edge just past Fort Saskatchewan. Several flocks of geese and a bald eagle flew over us as we made our way. A large eagle’s nest was situated river right with two juvenile eagles nearby.
Throughout the trip, we paddled against a headwind coming from the NE which at times would give us a few waves. We arrived at the take-out point at 4:45 pm. At this point, Paul decided to thank the river for a safe trip by taking a quick dip on exiting!