View topic - August 2020 - renting equipment and finding a suitable river

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PostPosted: July 5th, 2020, 11:31 am 
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Joined: May 25th, 2017, 3:02 pm
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
Hello

Looking for some help and advice. My six month job transfer to Calgary is ending in August and we’ll move back to Ontario. I came west with only a tent, pad and sleeping bag. I didn’t have room to bring any of my paddling gear out. So here we are looking to do some multi-day paddling. COVID-19 has certainly changed our options.

I’ve only ever paddle rivers Ontario and Quebec, Missinabi, Dumoine and Asphuapmushuan being my favourites. I drive along the Bow river and think that would be fun to paddle especially down from Lake Louise. How different are Alberta rivers? Of the YouTube videos I’ve seen on mountain rivers sweepers seem to be more of an issue. How should I align my expectations of finding a river?

So even if I settle for a couple of day trips, where does one rent a tandem canoe suitable for paddling whitewater. I haven’t found anything in my searches. The one or two places I’ve found renting canoe don’t have what I’d consider suitable canoes for whitewater. Any advice on where to find canoes?

Then if I do find a suitable canoe where would someone recommend I go. I’ve just purchased Mark Lund’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers, 2nd edition and haven’t gotten to far into it yet. Most of the river identified are not in the mountains. Again maybe I’m not being realistic.
I’ve appreciate people’s ideas and input.
Thanks


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PostPosted: July 5th, 2020, 11:56 am 
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Joined: November 12th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 363
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
Try for the Nordegg to Rocky Mountain House on the North Saskatchewan R. Probably AB's most popular river trip (although you still might not see anyone - especially if you go during the weekdays). A great overnight or you could stretch it out to 3 nights. Fair amount of access points. Good class 2-3 almost all the way through. No portages. You can avoid all sweepers and skirt the heavy parts of the rapids (if you want). Scenery ++!

Call Hela Ventures. They are along the route and can hook you up with anything including shuttles
https://www.helaventures.com/shuttles--rentals.html

Here's from when we did it last year at around this time > I would imagine the water is alot higher this year...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvNLEy-25zQ&t=38s

I would normally suggest the Milk but pretty much zero water in it this year due to a dam malfunction.

Bow would be fun for a day trip but the stretch from LL to Banff is all along the highway. I haven't done it due to that. There's a few on here that have done all parts of the Bow so hopefully they'll chime in


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PostPosted: July 5th, 2020, 2:45 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2016, 10:37 am
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Location: Northern Alberta
Dave K,

Mark has given you some solid advice.
And i'd also suggest you take a good look at Mark Lund's Guide- it has all the Alberta rivers listed and has good info on different sections of the bow( including the Lake Louise to Banff), Elbow and North Sask as well as the Brazeau, Athabasca and other mountain rivers.

As an Ontarian just returned after 14 years of paddling Alberta rivers, I can assure you there are big differences! Snow melt in the Rockies adds an excitement factor you won't get in Ontario if you like paddling fast water. So carefully pick the river and time of year you paddle depending upon how much excitement you want. That melt also brings lots of crap down with it hence the trees, branches and other junk you'll see in some rivers.

Marks suggestion of Nordegg to RMH is a good one: great river section, wonderful scenery. And Hela can set you up and offers camping and cabins, though Im not sure what their COVID protocol is this year. Keep in mind the Abraham Dam controls flow on this part of river and flow and level can change very quickly.
( we raced this section as part of Alberta Masters Games last August in tandem and Voyageur canoes and it was a hoot!!!!) :D

Lots of places to rent suitable gear in Calgary: a couple of placxes in Bowness ( Paddle Station and Sports Rent ); U of C Outdoor Centre used to rent tupperware boats, too!

For additional info, reach out to one of the local paddle clubs- Bow waters or Calgary canoe- or try Mark Lund directly through Ceyana Canoe Club in Edmonton. He will steer you in the right direction.

Enjoy
Bruce


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PostPosted: July 5th, 2020, 3:18 pm 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2010, 5:59 pm
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Location: Kanata
Dave,
Calgary is awesome!
North Saskatchewan is a good river. The section from Abraham Lake down to the Brierlies(Rocky mtn house) is great.
You can likely rent a canoe from Hela Ventures(used to work there) and maybe barrels. They are just west of Rocky Mtn House.
Another great trip, likely better than the north sask, is the Kootenay river. While not in Alberta it's likely closer than the North Sask. We did a relaxing 5 day trip on there a couple of summers ago. Couple of rapids. Clear water, nice campsites. Not sure where you'd get boats for that one though?

rab


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2020, 12:47 pm 
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Joined: May 25th, 2017, 3:02 pm
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
Gentlemen
Thank for the great input. I’ll focus my research on that.

Mark, thanks for the info and links. The video is great. As they say a pictures worth a thousand works.

Bruce, Yes, the debris in the mountain river has my paddle partner (my wife) concerned about paddling them.

RAB, good to hear from you. Hope you and your daughter are still getting out for a trip or two! I’ll have to research the Kootenay river. BC Parks still isn’t letting non-BC residence book provincial campsites, Front or back country at this time.

Dave


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