View topic - Spring run on Whitemud Creek in Edmonton

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PostPosted: April 28th, 2011, 9:34 am 
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Location: Beaumont, AB
Last saturday, my boys and I took the opportunity to get out on the water for our first trip of the year. With spring runoff filling the local creeks, we were fortunate in that we only had to drive a few minutes to do this trip.

We only took a few pictures of our trip. I seem to be a bit technically challenged today and cannot seem to get them to embed within this post. Here is a link to several photos and to a map showing our paddle route.

https://picasaweb.google.com/103036966861478415280/WhitemudCreek#
Here is our report.

City of Edmonton - Whitemud Creek Day Trip - Saturday April 23, 2011

Weather: Sunny, about 12 to 15° C, wind was chilly, some snow on shaded areas of the creek bank.

Reach Paddled: We chose to paddle Whitemud Creek within the City of Edmonton from Ellerslie Road to just before the location where Whitemud Creek flows into the North Saskatchewan River just past Fox Drive. The total length of this reach was about 18 km. A number of alternate put-in/take-out options exist, including 23rd Avenue and Whitemud Drive. Approximate distances are as follows:
• Ellerslie Road to 23rd Avenue (green track on map image) – 7.7 km
• 23rd Avenue to Whitemud Drive (dark red track on map image) – 6.7 km
• Whitemud Drive to Fox Drive (yellow track on map image) – 3.6 km

Paddlers: Three of us paddled on Saturday, David in a MR Caption, James in a ww kayak, and I (Dave) in an Esquif L’Edge.

Shuttle Logistics: We first dropped the canoes and gear off at the put-in at Ellerslie Road. While David stayed with the gear, James and Dave drove to the takeout with both vehicles and dropped the truck and trailer off in the parking lot near Fox Drive. The shuttle car was then driven back to the put-in and parked at a roadside turnout on the north side of Ellerslie Road just west of Whitemud Creek. At the end of the trip, the boats were loaded onto the trailer and we returned to the put-in to retrieve the shuttle car on our way home.

Trip Report: Good spring run-off paddling conditions were encountered in this meandering erosional creek channel. The elevation difference between the uplands and the bottom of the creek valley is about 20 m near Ellerslie Road and increases to about 50 m closer to the North Saskatchewan River. In the initial portion of the run from Ellerslie Road to before Whitemud Drive, the bottom of the creek is incised into bedrock in places (coal seams and shale are exposed). The exposed bedrock creates some small ledge features which result in some of the Class I to II whitewater rapids that are encountered along this reach. Note that whitewater features may be different at different times and water levels. Because of the large amount of bank erosion that occurs during spring floods, paddlers must be extremely aware of hazards due to sweepers, strainers and slumping creek banks. Creek wide fallen trees were encountered in at least three locations during this trip, necessitating portages. The locations and numbers of such hazards will likely vary extensively from year to year and at different times within the time within which the creek can be paddled within a single season. This creek will become unrunnable later in the spring due to low water levels.

Given the cold temperature of the spring run-off water, all paddlers wore paddling drytops and either dry pants or neoprene bottoms. We had never paddled this creek before and were not quite sure how long it would take. We were expecting about 3 or 4 hours, but it took us about 5 hr to paddle 18 km. We did stop several times to stretch our legs and have some refreshments.

Dave was paddling his new L’Edge for the very first time. Between the new boat and the not yet fully adjusted outfitting, he was a bit shaky in it, which resulted in two unintentional swims. The cold water had minimal impact as the dry top and pants worked quite well, only allowing a few drops of water in.

We ran into two ww kayakers from Northwest Voyageurs club in the reach between 23 Avenue and Whitemud Creek. We stopped at one section of the creek where the steep valley slope was still covered in snow, and both James and one of the NWV paddlers tried their hands at sledding their kayaks down the snow covered slopes and seal launching into the creek.

Lots of ducks and geese were observed along the entire reach. We saw very few people until we got closer to Whitemud Drive and beyond. The section of creek from Whitemud Drive to Fox Drive was relatively flat (slow moving) and meandering, and the takeout at Fox Drive was difficult to access and very muddy. If we paddle this creek again, we would likely take out at Whitemud Drive rather than pushing on to Fox Drive.

All in all, it was an excellent spring paddle with a surprisingly remote feel to it given its location in the heart of the city. We will definitely consider doing this again next year if water levels are ok.

Hope you enjoyed.
cheers
dave

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PostPosted: April 28th, 2011, 9:50 am 
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Location: Canmore AB
Great report Dave!

Hugh

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PostPosted: April 28th, 2011, 10:35 am 
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Great pictures and report! I'm envious. The McLeod River doesn't even look close to being open. A really late spring!
Ralph


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PostPosted: April 28th, 2011, 12:09 pm 
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ice-breaker wrote:
We only took a few pictures of our trip. I seem to be a bit technically challenged today and cannot seem to get them to embed within this post. Here is a link to several photos and to a map showing our paddle route.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1030369668 ... emudCreek#


It's not you. As far as I know, you're not allowed to hotlink to photos in your Picasaweb albums.

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PostPosted: April 28th, 2011, 2:07 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, AB
Barbara wrote:
ice-breaker wrote:
We only took a few pictures of our trip. I seem to be a bit technically challenged today and cannot seem to get them to embed within this post. Here is a link to several photos and to a map showing our paddle route.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1030369668 ... emudCreek#


It's not you. As far as I know, you're not allowed to hotlink to photos in your Picasaweb albums.


I am not sure that Picasaweb is the issue. I can hotlink to photos in Picasaweb from C-Boats forum, but not from MYCCR. Now why is that?

regards
dave

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PostPosted: April 28th, 2011, 4:13 pm 
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Location: Edmonton
Hi there,

I ran the Whitemud on 10th with lots of ice jams... and again on the 25th which was a straight flush. Great first season run.

I think this is the longest running time that we have had for the Whitemud.

It should still be good for another week, maybe two??

I have a couple of photos at
http://www.haskincanoe.ca/Site/2011_Pad ... dling.html

ph

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PostPosted: May 10th, 2011, 4:56 pm 
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Dave, thanks for the great report, I was looking for exactly this information.

I am coming to Edmonton May 27-June 3 and have a couple of days off in there somewhere (probably May 31 and June 1) so I was thinking of doing some local canoeing. Am going to bring my own canoe and gear and solo this creek from 23rd to the river. I have no paddling partner currently so if anyone here is up for a day trip with me I'd be happy to have the company and the ability of the extra car to get to/from take-out or drop-in. I know it's mid week but just in case...

Alternately if anyone wants to do a different trip I'd be up for that too. If you have a boat of your own and want to use it that's great too; I'll bring my own pfd and paddle if necessary and be happy to tag along.

I am a reasonably experienced canoeist, comfortable up to Class II with a good partner, good swimmer, first aid etc...

Ok, thanks again Dave, good info, I'll check back here a few times between now and then to see if anyone is interested.

Dan


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PostPosted: May 10th, 2011, 5:26 pm 
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Fiddler wrote:
...I am coming to Edmonton May 27-June 3 and have a couple of days off in there somewhere (probably May 31 and June 1) so I was thinking of doing some local canoeing. Am going to bring my own canoe and gear and solo this creek from 23rd to the river...

Dan


Dan, I have not checked the water levels in the Whitemud Creek in the past week, but I would be surprised if the creek will have enough flow by the end of May to be paddled.

You would definitely be able to paddle various sections of the North Saskatchewan River in and around the City of Edmonton. A good day trip is from the nearby town of Devon into the City of Edmonton (which is a CI section of the river). There are other paddling options for various other rivers in the area (and for other sections of the N.Sask.R.). Mark's Guide for Alberta Paddlers is a great source of information for local places to paddle.

regards
dave

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2014, 8:42 pm 
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Whitemud Creek has a pretty short window of runability between breakup and not enough water. All the new development around it will really change how the flow comes down it too.
All those storm sewers will channel a lot of melt fast.


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