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PostPosted: May 4th, 2009, 2:08 pm 
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Joined: May 12th, 2008, 1:37 pm
Posts: 62
I was feeling a bit antsy this weekend and the wife was out of town so decided to take a short paddle on the Red Deer. A helpful neighbour volunteered to drop me and my kayak below Dickson Dam on Saturday afternoon. It took only a few minutes to r transfer dry bags and sleeping pad to the boat and I was off. Weather was clear and mostly calm for both days.

The only other folks I encountered were a pack of jet boaters huddled over a smoky fire drinking beer on an island a few km downstream of the dam.

Flows were around 90 cm/s and there was still a bit of ice on shorelines and backwaters, and a bit of snow on shaded northern exposures.

Stopped at the first island N of the Innisfail bridge about six pm, cooked supper, read, had a couple of Stellas, and slept out under the stars. One determined beaver kept me awake with what seemed to be continual tail-slapping in the evening and early morning.

A bit colder night than I expected (close to zero) and it wasn't fun to slip into my half-frozen sandals the next morning. Got underway before 8 am and was rewarded with a viewing of four mule deer on the river bank. Lots of Canada Geese and ducks, and even a pair of pelicans, which (I had supposed) generally arrived later in the spring.

Started spotting signs of the Easter weekend ice jam a few km upstream of the Hwy 2 bridge: ice blocks high on the shore and scraped tree trunks becoming increasingly more prominent as I reached Red Deer. Arrived at the confluence with Waskasoo Creek (where I live) about noon. Averaged just under 10 km/hr.

I've paddled this reach a few times before, but this time I paid more attention to changes in the river since the very useful ARCA map came out: Islands have moved or merged with one shoreline; sweepers have appeared/disappeared here and there. And it seems there's one or two new McMansions overlooking the river each I paddle this stretch.

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