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PostPosted: July 29th, 2009, 8:27 pm 
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We left the river on 15 July.
Some of the rapids were much easier, others much harder, than in the guides. We knew that the levels were high but didn't know how high.
I just found the following:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/s ... river.html

Report is being written.

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PostPosted: July 29th, 2009, 10:13 pm 
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Allan,

Same goes for the rivers in Manitoba. The Seal River was at flood stage! The shoreline showed signs of brush and trees being torn or ripped by the flows.

My trip report is half done.

Barry

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 12:34 am 
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Well, I'm on my way there at the moment (stop-over in PA at the in-laws to break up the 5 hour drive with kids). I have heard from others of the high water (water beyond the Devil Lake filleting shack). Shouldn't affect us too much; we've been there before when the wave train below Sluice Falls ran right into Farside. This time around I doubt we'll get much beyond Spawning Channel traveling upriver and we should be camped on Barker Lake by Thursday afternoon. :D (Someday I'll post a map so the non-locals know what I'm talking about.)
Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 12:38 am 
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http://www.swa.ca/WhatsNew/Advisories.asp

Quote:
Advisories
HIGH STREAMFLOW ADVISORY ALONG CHURCHILL RIVER
July 20, 2009

The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority advises that recent heavy rains in northwestern Saskatchewan have resulted in increasing flows and higher lake levels along the Churchill River. This is in addition to above-normal cumulative rainfall since this spring. High flows and levels are occurring along the length of the Churchill River and flows and levels are expected to rise over the next several weeks as the rainfall runoff works its way downstream.

At Otter Rapids, flows are in the range experienced in the summer of 2005. Current flows are 650 cubic meters per second (cms) and are expected to increase to 800 cms over the next few weeks.

The Reindeer Lake watershed has also seen above-normal rainfall since this spring. Reindeer Lake is now near the top of its operating range so releases from Reindeer Lake into the Reindeer River will need to be increased over the coming weeks. The current outflow into the Reindeer River is at 400 cms and is expected to be 600 cms by August. Water levels along the river may rise over 1.3 m (4.5 ft) due to the flow increase.
Flows at Sandy Bay, downstream of the Island Falls Generating Station, have increased over the past several days and will increase today in order to accommodate the increased flows coming down the river. Flows at Sandy Bay are now about 1200 cms compared to normal flow rates of about 700 cms. Water levels at Sandy Bay are in the order of two meters (6 ft) above normal, and may increase a further two meters (6 ft) by early August when flows will be in the order of 1800 cms. Flows downstream of Island Falls will be higher than those seen in 2006, but not as high as in 2005.

High levels and strong currents may pose hazards to boating, navigation and other activities on or near the Churchill and Reindeer rivers. The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority will be monitoring this closely and provide updates as necessary.

Contact:

Bart Oegema
Engineering Specialist, Basin Operations
Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
Moose Jaw
Phone: (306) 694-3957

-or-

Don Dill
Regional Manager
Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
North Battleford
Phone: (306) 694-3957

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 1:00 am 
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Some current streamflow graphs from the metering station above Otter Rapids on the Churchill River. One is from Environment Canada (http://scitech.pyr.ec.gc.ca/waterweb/main.asp) and the other from the Sask Watershed Authority (http://www.swa.ca/WaterManagement/StreamFlowsAndLakeLevels.asp). Water flows have been really high on the Churchill for a few years now (since about '05 I think). It dipped back down to "normal" (average?) last year.

I should be able to get this one to show some stats for max/min/mean, etc. but for some reason that isn't showing up for me. I could dig through my records and try to figure out what the flows were at other times I've been there, but it's late & I have to paddle tomorrow. :D
Attachment:
ChRiverFlow.png


Attachment:
06CD002.GIF


By the way, I'll be looking for that report when we come back! ;)


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 6:12 am 
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The report is written but it needs polishing. It's up to 25 pages though, no photos, and that's the non-technical version.
I have to add information on rapids (UTMs, ratings and routes through them) and campsites (UTMs, size and quality) plus whatever else I can remember.
With respect to the rapids, at least one rated C3 became a C1 and at least one other became a C5, so my ratings might be pretty well useless to other paddlers.

Linda and I took the centre route through Otter, biggest waves I've ever run. The PakCanoe proved its worth once again and we had to bail only a little after eddying out on river left.
Our buddies Stephen and Bob chose the sane route, a C1+ sneak down the far left.
But that was on 1 July, at 430 cubic meters per second. 700 would be quite a thrill.

Farther down, Kettle Falls, the gorge and one unnamed rapid (the third below Wintego) were spectacular, as of course was Nistowiak, but then that one is always spectacular (I gather - I've seen it only once, this year).
The channel below the Reindeer confluence, reputed to be fast water, was a C2, with big stuff on the right at the top and more of the same on the left at the bottom.

Loved Missinipe:
An all day all you can eat for $2 (our waistlines bloomed even though we got there too late for the pancake breakfast), plus a fireworks display worthy of a town more than ten times its size.

BTW, were those gulls Franklin's or Bonaparte's?

More later, Allan

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 8:36 am 
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I just spoke with the staff at Churchill River Outfitters and they say yes the water levels are high, but the media are blowing things out of proportion. Yesterday, they had their kids out swimming Otter Rapids over and over with no problems. In areas where the water is confined, the waves tend to get bigger, and in areas where the river is not so well confined, the rapids are more washed out. Right now, portages are shorter than normal due to the higher water. A bit more care is needed at the portages as there is current up to the start that you need to watch for.

I have a trip on the Churchill R planned starting this weekend. My plan is to still go, excercise caution where required, but have fun.

regards
dave

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 11:20 am 
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Body surfing Otter at 700+ must be quite the experience. Hope I read the previous post correctly.

What Ric says goes, IMHO.
But the ratings in the guides may be way off; they sure were at some rapids we encountered.

BTW, for those going that way, huge surges make the km of so below Wapumon gorge one rough piece of water. And the put-in is no piece of cake, for the same reason.

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PostPosted: July 30th, 2009, 8:45 pm 
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Is it possible that the guys giving those warnings are just covering their whatevers?
The water has risen substantially since we left on 15 July, but we saw not a single rapid made perilous by the high water we had.
We didn't have to bushwhack around anything.
We had a few makeshift portages, but they were short and easy.

I'm wondering whether I should have posted the link to that CBC story.

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PostPosted: August 14th, 2009, 8:30 am 
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We finished up our trip through Otter Rapids and on to Missinipe on August 7, when the flow rates at Otter Rapids were at about 730 cu-m/s (normal is about 310 cu-m/s).

With the big wave train, Otter rapids looked like it would be a blast, but not for the loaded down Prospector I was paddling. My boys and I opted on the sneak route down the left side instead. (I wished I had my Caption that day).

Although the water was high, I did not see any real safety concerns that could not be addressed by being careful. Our biggest beef with the high water levels was that water rose into trees along the river made it very difficult to scout rapids, and so for the most part we did the portages, often around rapids that we had originally planned on running.

cheers
dave

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PostPosted: August 15th, 2009, 12:23 am 
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Hi ice-breaker, where did you start your trip?
Bryan

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PostPosted: August 15th, 2009, 12:27 am 
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pawistik wrote:
Hi ice-breaker, where did you start your trip?
Bryan

Never mind, I figured it out. http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/viewtopic.php?f=112&t=33815&p=313984#p313984

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PostPosted: August 16th, 2009, 11:52 am 
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For those familiar with the Devil Lake campground as a put-in/take-out, here is a picture that shows the level from the end of July.
Image

Me and the kids at Staircase Falls which we had just portaged:
Image

Cheers,
Bryan

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