Saturday, July 09, 2011

St Mary - Environmental Flows

Paddlerz might notice that the lower St. Mary is being 'ramped' - there's a gradual recession of flow. This should continue through much of the summer and flows should be paddleable through July.

This is part of a deliberate 'Environmental Flow' strategy - an attempt to promote reproduction of cottonwoods and willows, discourage some invasive weeds, and promote the aquatic ecosystem and trout fishery. With the abundant water this year, Ab. Env. and the irrigation districts are working together to try to enable some environmental restoration and the recreational paddling is an associated benefit.

The photo shows a cottonwood branch with abundant seeds that we placed at the water's edge at the start of the ramping. As the water drops, we hope that the seeds will gradually fall and land on the moist surfaces ... and hopefully a new generation of cottonwood trees will follow.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Everything's up

Hey boaterz,

Hope everyone's gettin' out - all local rivers are up and there's lots more snow to melt! We should be in for a long paddling season.

An entertaining run on the Crowsnest today with about 15 kayakers from various places.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lower two medicine river

There is relatively little information floating around about the lower two medicine river near Browing Montana and Cut Bank Montana. For instance, American Whitewater only has a single entry about a surf wave somewhere near Browining. "floating and recreation on Montana rivers" by Curt Thompson is the only source of information I've been able to find.

Thompson describes the section between Highway 89 near Heart Butte to Highway 358 near Cut Bank as "nine class II to III rapids. A class IV is just upstream and visible from the Highway 44 bridge.". Since maps don't clearly show where the Highway 44 bridge may be, the difficulty of this run is uncertain. In addition, translating Thompson's float grades to modern kayaking grades is uncertain. For instance, the upper two medicine describes two medicine falls as unportageable and unrunnable. It is in fact only moderately difficult and very easy if one knows the basics of a body rappel (and has a throw bag). The falls are also a straight forward V.

While the section from Highway 89 to 358 is 40 miles, Thompson describes a shorter section from highway 358 to Sullivan bridge as a 14 mile section containing two class IV and two class III.

If anyone is interested in taking advantage of the rare flows on this run this Saturday, please email Chris at cgoble72 at gmail.


Did the bike shuttle on the middle run (89 to 358) and then ran that section.  Very flat.  Scenery is nice, but gets repetitive.  All the rapids are very small and would be fun in a canoe.  I would definitely not call the last 9 miles "whitewater".  There are some easy waves and the occasional wide ledge with a nice flat spinning wave/hole.  The last rapid is a classic.  Much better than it looks from the road.  Well work hiking up with your boat to run.

It would be interesting to see what the lower section is like.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Costa Rica

Not often do I get to post about a location outside of Canada.  Never have I been able to post from a location where the water was warm!  Like many of you ORCKA paddlers, the dream is to paddle warm water.  I was able to fulfill this from my bucket list this week.  While it wasn't extreme, since we are here before the rainy season, it was good enough!  Some nice class II water with a few nice drops with sharp turns kept it interesting.

 I spent a lot of time looking at the dry rivers and imagining how they must swell during the rainy season.  Here is one of the smaller rivers we passed over.
Apparently, during the rainy season it gets crazy stupid with the flows and levels!
Has anyone else out there had the opportunity to hit warm water paddling?  Do tell!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lower St. Flowing

Looks like the Lower St. is flowing for a while. It's at 32cms which is an excellent flow for some mellow fun. Birch hole is at its best around these flows. If I remember things don't change much from the high 20's until 70cms.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Surf's Up

We've had an epic early summer on the Lower St. Mary and the dam's been opened again for the autumn draw-down of the reservoir, which looked quite full yesterday.

Sunny weather for the next while and mid-20's. Good flows and we should be out surfin' probably Monday and/or Tues. mid-day.

Hope everyone's had a good summer.

Stew & Di

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Swiftcurrent Flowing

Drove by Many Glacier today and noticed that the Swiftcurrent creek is flowing nicely. This is a class 1+ to !!- run. Once you hit the confluence it is a fast boulder bed flush with a few half river wide sweepers (II).

Great August run. Catch it is you can.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lower St Mary 220

(Chris C. & Di in R-n-R)
With great weather, another excellent run on the Lower. Flows are dropping quite gradually and wave trains are forming but the waves are still moving, they're not standing waves yet.
Dump and R-n-R were pretty big (for us elders), and the Hairpin Haystack was very big.
(Gary B. doin' the Mamba launch in Hairpin)

(Chris in the Hairpin haystack)

(photos by Irene & Di)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trips June 21 - June 27

Lets paddle paddle paddle. put your trips in the below comments for everyone to see!!!
See Below Posts for Mark and Clay's Lower St. Mary's Adventures!!!

Surfing below Hairpin

If you get a chance, the wave below hairpin is pretty fun.  It's close to river left and is easy to get on from shore.  The far left is smaller and smoother with the river middle section being much bigger and bouncier!  I was giggling like a school girl when I was on it the first time.  It had to be at least 6ft from crest to trough so when your on top of it you're looking down a steep slope.  If we didn't get such a late start, we would have spent more time playing.  Here is the video.

Lower St. Marys at 300

Our trip out on the Lower Saint was so much fun that we thought it would be fun to celebrate the solstice with a paddle last night. With a 7pm start and me running out of gas on the way home it was another typical adventure for the "old men". Much like at 450, most things were washed out. Rain wave was harder to surf, not that it was good at 450. The class II ledge was good, but not as wide, so a smaller sweet spot. The dump were big haystacks, not much to surf which leads us to the big two!
Run-no-Run was still big. Less washed out, so more technical. Last time we took the sneak route running right of center, but this time we ran left of center. My my.... waves sure look bigger from the kayak vs. the shore! I got a bit nervous at one point, but braced well and made it to hairpin.
Hairpin was big and fun! Better line this time, hit the tongue dead center, but this presented it's own problems. The haystacks and waves that follow the main drop are so big and turbulent that you can't judge how they'll throw your boat. Super fun but kept us on our toes. Again we managed to avoid being trashed!
Lastly, there was a wave below hairpin that ROCKED!! I thought I would post some video of it later today.
I don't think we'll hit the lower saint again at these flows, but I hope to read about some others!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lower St. Marys at 450

Here's the pictures and video from our run down the Lower St. Marys. As was mentioned before everything is washed out, but there was a ton of big waves and haystacks. The waves running hairpin felt like they were 6 to 9ft high. Not sure if that's due to the fact that I was getting worked a bit or they really were that big. Maybe something below will interest you.