A few weeks back I asked Braden if he would join me one evening and canoe down Whitemud Creek here in Edmonton. He said he would love to and so I made arrangements to borrow a Canoe from Ryan’s Mom, Janet. She was more than ok with it and even offered to drive us to where we wanted to cast off from.
At this point I was pumped. The following night the weather was sunny and quite warm. I rang Braden right after work but he was not quite done the job he was working on, and was bagged so he politely declined my offer. The next day the weather started to turn and when I was at work in the morning, it got considerably cooler and cloudier by the hour. Plans were put on hold.
We managed to get everything planned for this weekend and we were shooting to have the boat in by around one in the afternoon on Saturday. By the time we got everything rigged up and arrived at our destination area it was roughly 2 pm. I was under the impression we would be hitting the river in a few hours and then be able to drop the canoe off back at Janet’s, take my car and pick up the truck.
We set out from Smith’s Crossing, which for those who don’t know is where 23rd ave crosses Whitemud Creek in Edmonton. Our Route was to take us all the way to Whitemud Park, just East of the Quenelle Bridge. We only ever made it to Snow Valley just past the Whitemud freeway. It turns out the due to the how much the river meanders and places we had to portage it took way longer! Check out the map which lays out the route we took!
Whitemud creek is one of those places in Edmonton that is pretty wild. No sooner had we departed and crossed under 23rd ave, it seemed as if we had departed from the city. In one way we had. For most of the day we heard no cars, saw only a few buildings, one set of power lines, and only a handful of people. What we did run into was a variety of birds and animals. One on such corner we came close to a fallen tree and eight ducklings went skipping across the water with their mother keeping a close eye on us. We saw a Blue Herron and I was able to snap a picture before it got spooked and flew off. On some of the cliffs high above the creek, Swallows had made nests in the walls. Braden chased a frog before it got away into deeper water. When we took the boat out of the water, Braden managed to see a Garter Snake which got away before I could catch it.
The animal we saw the most of was a beaver who hung out while I made him a star on video, take a look.
Overall this was an awesome trip to do on a sunny afternoon. Aside from a few times we had to portage this was an extremely leisurely way to experience Canoeing. We both took time to paddle at the bow and stern of the canoe and in turn learned how to steer effectively. Best time to do this is after there has been rain. There were more than a few times when we got stuck on rocks and one or both of us had to get out. If you go make sure you wear proper footwear while in the water. As pretty and untouched as these waterways can seem there is always potential for a bit of rusty metal or broken glass to end up cutting you. Over the course of the afternoon we did see some metal in and around the creek. As with any adventure let people know where you’re off too. The great thing about this trek is that you are still in cell phone range if you get lost or disoriented. Our total time on the creek was around four hours. We set out at around 2 pm and by the time we got out of the water and reached the parking lot it was around Six pm. I’m sure things would have gone quicker if we did not have to Portage and the water level was a bit higher.
I can’t wait to do this trip again, or maybe do the second leg from Snow Valley to the river this time! In the mean time check out the photos we took.