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PostPosted: December 4th, 2011, 10:26 pm 
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How do folks? Has anyone paddled the Mcleod River from Edson to Whitecourt? Mark Lund mentions that it is generally flat throughout with the exception of a canyon-like stretch approx 2/3s the way to Whitecourt. I believe I have located the area on topo maps, but would very much appreciate any accounts of first-hand experience. What class would that stretch be I wonder? What would the range of optimal cms be for an open 17' tripper paddled solo?

Thanks all, Cheers.

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Last edited by Barbara on December 4th, 2011, 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
moved to the Alberta Discussion & Resources forum


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PostPosted: December 4th, 2011, 11:02 pm 
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gf041,
I'm not sure how much I can help you but are you're talking about paddling from the Highway 16 bridge near Edson to Whitecourt or if you planning to paddle from the Highway 32 bridge near Peers to Whitecourt? I can give you quite a bit of information about the Edson-Peers part of the trip but I've not yet paddled the reach from the Peers bridge to Whitecourt.
Ralph


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PostPosted: December 5th, 2011, 8:58 pm 
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Hi Ralph, I should have been more specific; I mean the reach between the highway 32 bridge north of Peers, to Whitecourt. I plan on starting the trip well south-west of Edson. At any rate, I would be very happy to know what you can tell me about the Edson/Peers reach if you don't mind. How were the Moose Creek rapids? Any grizzlies noted along the way? I'll be in an open, kevlar layup, Bluewater Freedom Tripper 17'; I am not sure at this point whether or not I will be solo or tandem, but it will just be the one canoe on the trip. Thanks Ralph, Cheers.

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PostPosted: December 6th, 2011, 11:36 am 
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Hi, gf041,
I suspected that was the run you were going to do. As I said, I haven't done that reach but from what I have heard and from what I know of the McLeod, it should not be more than a Class 1 trip. The McLeod is a very rocky, gravelly river so you need to have a reasonable flow so that you are not scraping, rock dodging and having to get out to wade. I usually take the flow level from the Alberta Environment website

http://environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/default.aspx

and I use the gauging station above the Embarras River so that I have a standard. There are a number of creeks and rivers that enter below this including Wolf Creek, Edson River and Carrot Creek but, generally, this station will give you a good idea what to expect. I have heard that the river widens as it approaches Whitecourt and that it gets quite shallow in that section. Some people prefer to leave the McLeod where Groat Creek enters. You can try to wade up this creek to Highway 32 or, if the weather is dry, you might be able to drive closer to the McLeod.
Below 20 cms at the Embarras the McLeod is starting to get quite rocky but it is still do-able down to 10 cms. Below 10 cms and with a loaded boat, it would be slow and draggy. I'd recommend 15 cms as a minimum.
The high flow levels can really vary. As you expect, as the water level rises, the rocks disappear. The waves tend to be long swells. I'd recommend 100 cms or less because over that you can get lots of company in the form of trees but I have paddled it at over 300 cms.
Moose Creek Rapids are generally a rocky Class 2 but, in higher water, the waves at the bottom, as the river turns to the left after the island, can be very large. The rapid is usually run starting along RR in the channel to the right of the island. You can scout from the RR shore by stopping just above the rapid because the water is very calm until it drops over the first part of the rapid. After the first section beside the island and depending upon water levels, you might have to move a little to river center to avoid waves in the lower section. Moose Creek enters from RR as the river bends toward the left. It is a very small creek. In high water, you can run to the left of the island where the waves will be smaller and you will be on the inside of the bend at the bottom section. The waves can be quite large at Moose Creek when the water is above 100 cms. They are really interesting at 300 cms. FWIW, there is an old, abandoned cabin on the island if you feel like stretching your legs - land at the bottom of the island after the first part of the rapid.
I've never seen a bear of any kind along the McLeod - not Black or Grizzly. I've seen deer, moose, elk, eagles, osprey, waterfowl, beavers, etc.
I have paddled a lot of the river from the Robb-Cadomin Road ("Steeper" it's called) to the Robb-Hinton Road and from south of Marlboro to the Peers bridge so if you need any info on those sections, I might be able to help.
It's a very nice river - have fun.
Ralph


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PostPosted: December 6th, 2011, 9:17 pm 
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Ralph, I thank you kindly for your observations/advice; very much appreciated. Once I do the Whitecourt reach I'll let you know how it was, but unfortunately we'll need to wait a bit for that. Thanks again Ralph, cheers.

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PostPosted: July 7th, 2012, 2:44 pm 
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Guy,
Just completed the stretch of river between hwy 47 (embarras river) to hwy 32 north pf peers.
It was a great trip! Flows were between 55-40m3/s range. We took left of the island for moose creek rapids and found them just like Ralph described. Rocky class II. fairly easy to pick a line and travel through. I was paddling solo (plus dog) in my old town guide 149 and found it easy to manouver through. A little lower and the left side would have lots of shelves you could get caught on.
I will do that stretch again but will leave more time for fishing and gold panning next time!
I put a trip report in the trip report section which has some pics if you interested
Other than that I'd be happy to answer any more questions

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PostPosted: August 1st, 2018, 5:42 pm 
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This past weekend my wife and I made this trip, from Hwy 32 bridge near Peers, down to Whitecourt. July 28-29-30 2018.

We both were paddling Pelican Catch 120 kayaks, which are 12 footers. There was no problem at all to carry enough gear between our 2 boats.

We stored all our gear in drybags that I got at MEC.

We used a Katadyn water purification system.

Other than that, we had no fancy gear, nothing high-tech. Basic stuff. A 3-man tent, airpads, mummy bags, bear spray and a K-Bar knife.

First bit of info, the water was at above average flow rate. But I have not used the APP for the McLeod water flow. I know there is one that you can reference.
Edit: Referenced the Aberta River Basins Flow Reports for the McLeod R. @ https://rivers.alberta.ca/
July 28 94.04m3/s, July29 81.31m3/s and July 30 69.9m3/s.


First day we paddled 7 hours, and pitched camp just along the river. Our tent was literally 8' from the water's edge, but was 2' above the water. So no issue, except the noise of the rapids we camped beside.

Huge fog on the water the next morning, heavy dew on everything. If it had poured rain our gear, tent, kayaks etc couldn't have been any wetter. This delayed our departure a couple hours, as the wife wanted everything cleaned and dried before packing.

Paddled at 09:00 on the second day. We wanted to reach Groat Creek, that day, as we know that stretch of river, and would be comfortable in knowing how long it would take to reach Whitecourt.

And we made it to Groat Creek by 18:00, so 9 hours paddling that day.

Again made a nice dry camp, just above Groat Creek.

Day 3, it took us 4-1/2 hours to paddle the last stretch from Groat Creek down to Hwy 43 landing at Whitecourt. There was one change in the conditions, which was a pretty good breeze was coming up, and down near Whitecourt there are several flat stretches of water, where you have to paddle against that breeze.

Notes: There are more Bald Eagles on the McLeod River, than any place I've been except Alaska.
We saw Kingfishers, Osprey, Mule Deer, Whitetails, Moose.

The weather was hot; 28-32C in the daytime, 10-14C at night. No escape from the sun, during the days.

There are spectacular canyons/cliffs in the waters below Hwy 32. A lot of slow, wide areas, with deep pools, big bends in the river. Some nice rapids but with the river flow rates, no problems at all.
I would say in lower water levels, these might be more problematic, as more rocks would be exposed, might drag the boats some.

As the water was a bit higher than normal, it was a bit 'stained' in colour, so fishing wasn't spectacular, but I managed to catch 3 walleye and 1 pike. Wasn't really focussed on fishing however.

In lower water flow rates, I could easily see this trip taking 4-5 days.

I shot the trip with my GoPro, hope to produce a decent video from the footage...

Bottomline: We are already talking about doing this trip again.


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