Canadian Canoe Routes
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Elk River Elkford toSparwood
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Author:  Stencil [ August 25th, 2008, 7:24 am ]
Post subject:  Elk River Elkford toSparwood

This is a section of river I have always wanted to paddle and on the weekend I did with some interesting consequences. We put in just south of Elkford opposite the golf course and the nature of the river was revealed --- many sharp bends with much woody debris requiring constant attention and maneuvering. The flow was fast but water level low. After a few kilometers of this the river was completely blocked by a large log jam. We portaged on the left through thistle and cow dung and blowdown for two-hundred metres. Not much fun with our heavy plastic boat. The fun continued with the river running through fine forest with occasional industrialization and road noise. We lined around some spots where the river constricted through debris piles. A second log jam was more easily portaged on the right. Below Line creek
(bridge) we ran through standing waves and swamping paddled to shore and bailed the boat. The river changed character and became faster with series after series of mild rapids which we ran stopping occasionally to bail water. Eventually we ran into a very sharp 90 degree bend which we were unable to handle and were swept into the bank and into two sweepers hanging at chest height. The first broke and the second was somehow pushed up and over both paddlers. This caused much flow of adrenaline. A paddle was lost and recovered. The day was now getting late and we had been on the river for 7 hours. As we approached the take-out a line of rapids appeared across the river. Late sun in our eyes made reading difficult and when very close we saw something very unpleasant. Frantic back-paddling enabled us to make shore on river right and the plastic monster was dragged around to a backwater. We took out five minutes later. What we so narrowly avoided is a weir that extends across the river and has drowned people in the past a local informed us. It could be lined river left and perhaps disappears at higher water. It is run often by fishermen in inflatables. It is just upstream from the railway bridge and there are large terraced dikes holding settlement ponds on the left.
This section of the Elk is very scenic despite the industrialization in the valley and I recommend it . Take a small saw or axe if you do the section above Line creek. As for me ---- some lessons are in order, in addition to the ones just learned.

Author:  Erhard [ August 25th, 2008, 7:57 am ]
Post subject: 

You are "a man few words" - but this was as hairy a "fun" weekend trip as they come. I am glad you guys made it home OK.

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