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PostPosted: April 21st, 2008, 4:59 pm 
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Hello everyone. 1st post. Curious to know how many paddlers are out there in Western Canada that enjoy this sport. I recently purchased a 2008 Aire Leopard and needless to say I'm pretty excited. Reason for choosing this particular boat is the versitality of being able to troll with it at the lake with a 10 hp kicker and secondly to do some extended 3 to even 7 day river trips with the large payload this boat has.

I'm new to this type of paddling so the more technical twisty log jammed strainer type rivers that run around these parts will be avoided in the early goings or maybe altogether. Eventually an expedition type trip to the Spatsizi and upper Stikine would be an ultimate paddle. Maybe even the Babine or Gataga. Of course this type of boat is popular on the Colorado Rivers and Idaho rivers where it is well suited. Also the Leopard is a popular boat with the Alaska hunters that like to fly them up river and float down their heavy payload of meat.

I have Mark Lund's new book and have found a wealth of info there. Of course he is geared to the canoeist so you have to keep in mind this craft has 18 ft tubes with a frame that measures 6 ft by 10 ft. Yeah, like paddling a car down the river. Basically I'm asking anyone out there which rivers in Alberta and S. East BC (class 2/3) where you have seen these types of boats (or general inflatable rafts) as I'm looking at some trips (1 or 2 day ) out of my home here in Calgary. Whitewater obviously is not a problem with this type of boat...but obstacles are.
Any info is appreciated. Cheers.
Wayne

pic is similar to what i will be paddling.

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Last edited by Leopard on April 21st, 2008, 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 21st, 2008, 6:32 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2006, 12:15 pm
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Location: calgary
Hi leopard not sure if marks book list the kooteny river from mcleod medows down but have seen rafts on that stretch also if you don,t mind paddling the red deerup stream of drumheller is a nice trip through the badlands wide slow moving river though


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PostPosted: April 21st, 2008, 7:01 pm 
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woodenkayak guy wrote:
Hi leopard not sure if marks book list the kooteny river from mcleod medows down but have seen rafts on that stretch also if you don,t mind paddling the red deerup stream of drumheller is a nice trip through the badlands wide slow moving river though


Thanks. Yes, Mark has Mcleod Meadows to Canal flats on the Kootenay. Skilled paddlers indicated for the middle portion. Just getting some feedback at the moment on some rivers that might be unforgiving with a boat like this.
And yes, the Red Deer river from Big Valley to Drumheller may be one of my first floats to get the feel of the rigging etc..I've heard that portion of the Red Deer is very scenic too.


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PostPosted: April 28th, 2008, 11:03 pm 
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Joined: April 28th, 2008, 4:32 pm
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Location: Edmonton
I think you will find that any big river will be a blast on the Cat. The Kicking Horse, the Thompson, might challenge you and the boat depending on water levels but anything else will be a float. The Kootenay might splash you a bit in places. Look for rivers the commercial rafters run and downgrade the river ratings by one level at least. The Leopard is a very big and capable boat.


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2008, 7:19 pm 
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Marv wrote:
I think you will find that any big river will be a blast on the Cat. The Kicking Horse, the Thompson, might challenge you and the boat depending on water levels but anything else will be a float. The Kootenay might splash you a bit in places. Look for rivers the commercial rafters run and downgrade the river ratings by one level at least. The Leopard is a very big and capable boat.


Thanks for the input Marv. I believe a twisty swifter type river could
give me problems. Providing I do my homework and exercise caution before I choose a particular river I should be ok. The Adams River looks like fun in which I see a commercial rafter using catarafts.

Well I just built my boat up in the backyard so that I don't get many surprises when I get to the river. The swivel seats I have mounted in the front might not take any heavy bounces but will be comfortable on a leasure float. I will probably have to tweek the C of G with the seats and oar positions but I'm ready for a novice run soon. Probably the Bow below 22X. See attached pics.


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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2008, 7:02 pm 
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Hey Leopard, nice rig you got there! There are a lot of rivers you can run with that. I used to raft commercially in 18ft bucket rafts and we took then down all kinds of river in BC. A cat raft should be easier, although I personally have never rowed one. As already mention, thompson, kicking horse, clearwater, white, chilliwack, upper frazer, chilko, chilcotin, quesnel, cariboo, babine, stikine, nahatalatch, elaho, squamish, similkameen, among others.
I have got a trip this sept down the grand canyon that we will be renting 18ft sotars for. It is going to be fun. I have seriously thought about getting my own raft. Maybe someday. First have to figure out this canoeing thing :D


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PostPosted: June 4th, 2008, 6:26 pm 
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Leopard, that looks like a great raft you have there. Lots of fun in store for you. :D
If you ever need a passenger...... ;)

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-Jim-

"Paddle faster, I hear banjos!"


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 4:22 pm 
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dunkin' wrote:
Leopard, that looks like a great raft you have there. Lots of fun in store for you. :D
If you ever need a passenger...... ;)


I'll keep you in mind Jim. :D I'm heading out next week for 3 days on the
Red Deer River from the Trenville campground to Drumheller...about 90 kms.
A pikerel in the frying pan is one of the goals. :lol:
I hope to post some pics up later.


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 4:51 pm 
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Leapord,

Looking forward to hearing how the trip went. Both with the raft and the river / camping conditions.

Wife and I are doing the same trip in a few weeks, but starting in Red Deer and going to Dry Island buffalo jump. Would like to hear some feedback!


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 7:10 pm 
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Leopard wrote:
I'll keep you in mind Jim. :D I'm heading out next week for 3 days on the
Red Deer River from the Trenville campground to Drumheller...about 90 kms.
A pikerel in the frying pan is one of the goals. :lol:
I hope to post some pics up later.

Now, careful that you don't set your goals too high, that fishing can take a toll of a guy. ;)
Man, it has been near 30 years since I have paddled on that stretch of the Red Deer. It would be hordes of fun to do the Red Deer upstream of Sundre.

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-Jim-

"Paddle faster, I hear banjos!"


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PostPosted: June 9th, 2008, 5:59 pm 
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Location: Calgary
Hey leopard nice boat. I just got a lion16 recently and am looking for others to do some day trips with.


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PostPosted: June 9th, 2008, 6:19 pm 
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I couldnt decide what size of cat to get so I decided to go for a road trip to the Aire factory to size them up. The lion was old stock so I got it for a good price. Its a bit massive! It feels like a tank on the river but it got the capacity for big trips. I'll get some photos up soon. Theres a lot of good day trips from calgary if anyone else is looking for adventure!


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2008, 1:49 am 
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Lion16 wrote:
Hey leopard nice boat. I just got a lion16 recently and am looking for others to do some day trips with.


Congrats on the new purchase. Maybe they are catching on a little up here. Just got back from a Milk River paddle from Gold Springs to Writing-on Stone. Leopard was amazing with the river running at 22 cms. I scrubbed my Red Deer River paddle due to all the rain and opted for the Milk where we had great weather aside from 10 minutes of sleet. Watch for some pics soon.


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2008, 9:45 am 
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Did you camp at poverty rock?

How's the site? Any firewood left? - Its been dwindling the last couple of years and I'm wondering if we should pack it in


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2008, 4:54 pm 
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mark m wrote:
Did you camp at poverty rock?

How's the site? Any firewood left? - Its been dwindling the last couple of years and I'm wondering if we should pack it in


I was going to put this report and pics into a new thread but then decided I'll just keep the cataraft theme going.

Our original plan this week was to do a gentle float down the Red Deer River from Trenville Park to Drum but the forcast had waaay to much rain in it.
Looking south to Milk River the forcast was much more promising. In the end we had to endure about 15 minutes of high winds (to our back) and sleet just downstream from Big Rock Bend. GPS indicated we had attained a speed of 13 kph from that sudden storm :o . A few km later we were camping at Poverty Rock where it had cleared up and stayed that way all nite. Following day was sunny up until the last few kms into W.O.S. where it started to spinkle a little. Overall we were very lucky compared to all the rain the rest of S. Alberta had to endure at this time.

Sunday June 8th we arrived at Gold Springs Park around 9pm. Ken and Wendy Brown from Milk River Raft Tours would shuttle my truck and trailer to W.O.S. We missed all the rain prior to arriving and were given the shelter
to set up our tent. We were high...and dry. Bonus!

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Ready to launch from out front of the Gold Springs campground. River running about 22 cms. Should be perfect for the Leopard. I already had 3 hrs experience on it from having it on the middle Bow....so now I was the expert. My partner had never seen a cataraft before and was coming for the ride. By the end of the trip he was an expert too. :D Nothing but fear and common sense stopping us now. :o


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The early goings.



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Osprey nest. You can see a fledgling if you look close.

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The Aire Leopard is a very capable boat...if you don't mind paddling a mini-van down the river. With a boat this size you are now able to bring a bigger tent, bigger coolers and generally more of everything. We had a good sized bundle of birch firewood too. :lol:



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Scenery was amazing. This river is truely an Alberta gem.

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We arrived at Poverty Rock. A little slice of paradise I must say.



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Two couples arrived shortly after us. One couple got wet at The Twin Ledges
but were fine. We also got high sided on the same rock and had to push ourselves off with the paddles. One of two times we got high sided on rocks. Not bad eh? Had the river been much lower our chances (of grounding) would surely increase considering how heavy we were.

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More Poverty Rock. Firewood that was available was knotty and large. My 26" Estwing had trouble getting some pieces small enough to fit into the stove. Plenty of logs over by The Rock to feed the fire ring though. Ken Brown keeps it stocked but of course can't keep up when the long weekends come and the number of paddlers increase.

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Cactus ready to bloom.

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20 kms to W.O.S. from Poverty Rock. It was a beautiful morning.

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Saw plenty of deer too besides these guys.

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This is the Landing at W.O.S. Careful it's steep. Apparently a few inches under that board is a steel post that can rip your inflatable. It happened to Ken Brown the outfitter from Milk River Raft Tours.
Only scary moment for us was a Cottonwood tree that was 3/4 across the river just above the Weir Bridge. It's river right. The river sweeps left just before this tree so you have to go hard over to avoid it. The Leopard manouvered and performed well and we got through the opening which was only about 10 feet wide and avoided the tree. :o It really needs to be cut off. I mentioned it to Ken.

Tricky Landing at W.O.S. but we nailed it. :lol:

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W.O.S. Provincial Park.

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See ya.


Last edited by Leopard on June 11th, 2008, 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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