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PostPosted: September 15th, 2021, 10:15 pm 

Joined: September 14th, 2021, 10:36 pm
Posts: 16
In August, 2021, our group of 6 paddled the Clearwater River from Lloyd Lake to Warner Rapids, a less travelled stretch I think. Flow at Christina River was 82-92 cfs during our paddle. Much of the area was burned 5 years ago, but I think it's quite beautiful now.

The river passes through marshland lined with eskers punctuated by mountains and white water canyons, the traditional homeland of the Clearwater Dene people. There are plentiful camping spots on the eskers, some of them marked on maps but very few are well established. In this 140 km stretch, we encountered no signs of recent human traffic and very little garbage or other impact. We really appreciated the solitude and wildlife: bear, otter, beaver, wolf and numerous waterfowl.

Here's our report on the portages(marked on go trekker maps) we used (or didn't).

1) Lloyd rapids - Reasoning that we would use the portage to scout this section, particularly the class 3 piece at the end, we searched for the portage above the first class 1 piece but couldn't find it. We ran the class 1 and likewise searched between the class 1 and 2 pieces but found no trail. We ran the class 2 piece but one of our boats didn't make the eddy on river left. Still, between the class 2 and 3 sections we could have and should have ferried back to river left to search for the portage again. Instead we surveyed from RR, ran the class 3 and unfortunately swapped our open boats but recovered without too much difficulty. The termination of the portage at the bottom of the class 3 section was obvious, so it must be at least partially there.

2) Class 2+ rapid down stream of Lloyd - This short portage is barely recognizable and in poor condition. We scouted the rapids from shore and ran them.

3) Class 2+ rapid further downstream - This longer portage is in good condition and provides scouting access for the rapids which we ran on RL.

4) First canyon - This was a challenging 1500 m portage, I think we finally figured out where the trail truly was on our last trip over it. We cleaned it up considerably, which paid dividends. I had read reports that one could pull over the initial class 4 ledge and run 500 m of class 2 rapids prior to the mandatory carry and imagined this might be done without unloading the boat over the ledge. However, I couldn't see how this could be done safely without unloading the boat and hauling 100 m or so, then reloading which to my thinking would negate the benefit of the 500 m reduction in portage. It also wasn't clear until walking the portage where the mandatory carry started, so I conclude it's most efficient and safe for the unfamiliar just to carry this whole portage, challenging as it is.

5) Class 2+ rapid just downstream of the Virgin river confluence was in fair condition and useful for scouting the rapid.

6) Beauty Rapids, also had a beauty portage, we cleaned up a few logs to make it perfect.

7) For the class 3 rapid below Beauty, we found only fallen logs where the portage is marked, although the RR shoreline is mostly walkable and can be used to line or scout.

8) Granite Canyon - this short portage over this long rapid we found in excellent condition, we called it the fairy tale portage. It might have been a interesting project to run this gorge but it would have taken us more time than the portage; we carried.

9) The class 2+ below granite gorge has a portage in fair condition, useful for scouting.

10) Lower Mackie rapids - We arrived here late in the day lacking the time for a scout and run project, so searched for the portage marked on RR, finding no evidence of a trail. However, with current post burn vegetation levels, it was possible to survey out a viable portage over this area, which we marked with paddles and life jackets to guide us on successive trips. We put back in just after the two channels join, perhaps a 250-300 m carry. I suspect there may be scouting trails on the island to assess the RL channel, but we didn't have time to check.

11) Warner Rapids - There is a very short portage at the take out. Unfortunately, the general area including the campsite is terribly littered.

There are no other portages on this route, but there are many more class 2-3 rapids that are a a fun challenge for intermediate paddlers.

PostPosted: September 16th, 2021, 2:09 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 2167
Location: Manitoba
Great information. Thanks for sharing.



PostPosted: September 16th, 2021, 6:27 pm 

Joined: August 26th, 2008, 8:48 pm
Posts: 123
Good stuff! Guess you didn’t dance with any forest fires.
Couple questions - How did you access Lloyd Lake? Any big pike? One of my biggest gators ever came out of the
long marshy section south of Lloyd lake. Scary big.

PostPosted: September 17th, 2021, 6:18 pm 

Joined: September 14th, 2021, 10:36 pm
Posts: 16
Despite all the fires up north this year, the clearwater and points to the NW had only one fire in early July, clear as can be after that.

As for fishing, we didn't go looking for big pikes, I'm sure there are plenty. We did try for Grayling at Virgin River Falls, no luck. Pikes on the line every second cast though!

The NW corner of Lloyd lake we accessed on a 2 km rough track with a high clearance vehicle in dry conditions without any problems. In wet conditions I would imagine add 4WD, traction matts, maybe a winch.

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