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 Post subject: Clearwater River
PostPosted: July 19th, 2005, 10:17 pm 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2005, 1:19 am
Posts: 55
Location: Calgary, Alberta
I just got back from my trip on the Clearwater River, just two of us. Flew in to Whitemud Falls and came back to Fort McMurray.
The trip was spectacilar. We had a real real late fly out time. Take off time was 1, but was delayed until 3:30 waiting for a thunderstorm to pass. We finally took off (first time in a float plane), and it was bumpy. Landing at WHitemud falls was impossable as there was a storm over it, so we landed at Gypsy lake for four hours. That wasn't fun, but we finally landed above Whitemid falls at 8:30. Set up camp at 10 pm and ate dinner at 11. We camped at the top of the portage trail, at a horrible site but had to do as we didn't want to portage in the dark, plus crossing a small side stream around a tight corner that you need to make wasn't really a good option for that time of day.
The next day was beautiful. Hot, sunny and buggy. We reached the "real" campsite at about 10, meeing the group that flew out at 8am. They took our departure time.
We decided to extend our trip and stay the day at Whitemud as the day before was a write off. After a swim in warm water, and time photographing the falls, we had lunch and decided we had done everything and decided to head to the Cascades that day. Leaving site at 1pm we threw on our spray skirts and ran all the rapids. Other than the Cascades, everything was pretty tame, there was a lot of water, washing out some of the ledges.
Catching up to the other paddlers at the cascades, even though they left three hours prior to us, we watched them run the Cascades in a Clipper Prospector in Kevlar. With no previous whitewater experience they flipped bad on the gnarly class three hole on the Cascades. Running the ledge in perfect order, we yelled to them that we would catch their canoe as they swam directly for the opposite shore that the campsite was on and let their fully ladden canoe float down the river.
This was a pain in the ass as they didn't have any grab loops and I was hauling on their spray deck whilst paddling with one arm trying to get us to shore. My sternsman was paddling as well, it wasn't all me. Luckily, there was a Jet boat at the site as well, who was nice enough to pick up the stranded canoers, that didn't know what to do. (they held onto their paddles!)
They caught a ride back into town the next morning as they were really beat up. I don't feel sorry for them as they were warned numerous times to portage, or scout all the rapids and that when running the Cascades, they should stick river left. They took the center channel, leading right into that Class three hole we missed.
The next day, we paddled 60 km, 8 hours to Greentree. Uneventful part of flatwater canoeing, no excitement, just one stroke after another. Last day resulted in paddling back to fort Mac, 40 km. Easy relaxed day.
Overall,the trip was awsome. The flies were bad and I'll be itching and scratching for the next while, but that's part of the adventure.

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2005, 10:32 pm 
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Joined: December 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 515
Location: Ft. McMurray
Sounds good!

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