View topic - N Sask River speed, bugs and water quality

It is currently December 11th, 2019, 6:02 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: February 7th, 2014, 9:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: September 24th, 2011, 4:38 pm
Posts: 14
Planning to paddle from Sask River Crossing Alberta to The Pas Manitoba this Aug and September 2014.

Can anyone comment on
1) average river speed past Edmonton

2) bugs during Aug and Sept

3) the water looks pretty muddy from pics I have seen - any chance of drinkable/cleaner creeks/streams coming into the N Sask as we paddle?

Thanks.

_________________

L&B Smithers BC



Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 5:28 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 9th, 2005, 2:27 pm
Posts: 1642
Location: Saskatoon
1) The Water Security Agency of Sask reports flows in cubic metres per second (cms): https://www.wsask.ca/Lakes-and-Rivers/S ... atershed-/

You can find current and historical flow info at this link http://www.wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/
Here's the 2012 data at PA, if the link works: http://www.wsc.ec.gc.ca/applications/H2 ... &year=2012

What you should note is how variable the discharge is. It depends very much on whether it's a dry year or a wet year, and if there's been a recent rain or not.

I would expect flows at about 5 km/hour, give or take 2 km/hr. But, don't count on this to push you along. A wind will always funnel to follow the valley and it will usually seem to be a headwind. A moderate headwind will easily overcome the advantage from the current.

The higher flow rates will push you along a little more strongly, but it also means that you don't have to meander nearly so much and are running aground on sandbars less often. That aspect can be a larger factor than the actual river speed.

2) There will be bugs. They may or may not be bad. That's the time of year for west nile so consider precautions in the presence of even low numbers of mosquitoes.

3) My experience with the N.Sask.R. is limited to the section from Borden Bridge to Fort Carleton. The banks were quite muddy, as was the water. However, you will still be able to filter to obtain water, but you'll be clearing your filter much more often and a prefilter will likely be of some benefit. So might a container that will allow settling of the water overnight. I wouldn't count on the streams that join the river having much flow, and what flow there is is not likely to be any better than the river, and may be worse due to agricultural runoff.

But, there are no portages so maybe a 5 gallon water jug might be a worthy addition if space allows; it could be refilled where you do find good access to water in various communities en route. The filter will carry you through if/when the jug runs out. A couple of 10L MSR dromedaries (or similar) would take almost no room in the canoe or kayak, and conform to the bottom of the boat keeping the centre of gravity low. A wine bladder from a consumed box of wine will work similarly, but not be as tough.

It's a beautiful river valley, by the way. Oh, and that valley will block most of your cell reception unless it has improved in recent years (unlikely along much of the route). In the past I have had to hike up 1 km out of the valley to get reception (same is true for the South Sask River which I paddle more often).

I recommend not to paddle over Athabasca Falls, that could be bad, though a friend did survive it: http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/d ... -crossing/

For more specific advice, I would contact Clearwater Canoeing (owner Vinessa Currie lives very near to the river and often guides trips on it). http://www.clearwatercanoeing.ca/
Also CanoeSki Discovery Company (Cliff is in Saskatoon but often guides trips on the N Sask R): http://www.canoeski.com/

Tell 'em Bryan sent ya.

Cheers,
Bryan

_________________
Bryan's website - http://pawistik.net
ColdspringPaddling.com
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 6:26 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: October 16th, 2008, 9:20 am
Posts: 1367
Location: Oshawa
Pawastik, that was a remarkable story about your friend!

_________________
"It's healthy to be dirty" - Lars Monsen


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 6:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 20th, 2003, 9:27 am
Posts: 943
smithers bc,
Sorry I didn't respond earlier but I missed this post until pawistik responded.
My two cents worth:
I have paddled quite a bit of the route that you propose and could attempt to describe the various reaches but I would strongly recommend that you purchase "Mark's Guide for Alberta Paddlers" by Mark Lund. He has descriptions of the North Saskatchewan from above Saskatchewan Crossing to the Saskatchewan border.

According to http://members.shaw.ca/marksguide/ the book is no longer available but a second edition will be available in late summer 2014. I have seen the first edition on the shelves at the Edmonton MEC and it might be available elsewhere.

Paddle Alberta has some of the information you need at:
http://www.paddlealberta.org/paddling/p ... tabase.asp

Information about Alberta Rivers is available on-line at:
http://environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/default.aspx
with a little searching, it should give you some of the flow information you want. I would be reluctant to guess river speed. I think pawistik's estimation is probably right for a good part of the river below Drayton Valley. Needless to say, the river is faster near the mountains and slows down as it moves across the prairies. Wind will be a factor - both good and bad.

Bugs - usually they are not too bad in August/September.

Drinking water - I agree with pawistik about carrying a water jug. Above Drayton Valley, you will probably be able to filter without any trouble. As you move further down the river and certainly downstream of Edmonton, I would be very reluctant to drink filtered river water. There is a lot of agriculture and a lot of industry. Often, counties have campsites where bridges cross the river and often these have pump water available. I would plan on using these for most of my drinking water needs, especially downstream of Edmonton. While there are some streams that enter the North Saskatchewan along this reach, in late summer they would be very low and of questionable quality.

FWIW, that description on the link supplied by pawistik is a Class V rapid on the North Saskatchewan. That paddler was very fortunate. Athabasca Falls is on the Athabasca River close to Jasper.

If you have further questions, please ask.

Ralph


Last edited by Ralph on February 12th, 2014, 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 10:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 9th, 2005, 2:27 pm
Posts: 1642
Location: Saskatoon
Ralph wrote:
FWIW, that description on the link supplied by pawistik is a Class V rapid on the North Saskatchewan. That paddler was very fortunate. Athabasca Falls is on the Athabasca River close to Jasper.

Oops, looks like I better go re-read Robert's account more carefully.

_________________
Bryan's website - http://pawistik.net
ColdspringPaddling.com
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 12th, 2015, 10:11 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: October 5th, 2015, 9:32 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Saskatchewan
That is a wild read about your friend Pawistik.

My experience on the North saskatchewan is the same as pawistik's. Fast, muddy, infested with mosquitos and horse flies in August, and stunningly beautiful with respect to its surrounding landscape. Still worth the trip.

Any update on this trip?

_________________
My YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/c/GRSRiverrider


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group