Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I went out for a run on the Lower Saint today, but the long take out hike had a backhoe working near the old farm house. I decided i would try the welling ford take out, but 1/4 of the way back on the bicycle shuttle, I realized I had forgot my helmet, so called it a day.

On the way back though, I salvaged things by doing a short run on the Belly. With my parents now living in the area, a number of the farm roads have opened up. I thought about doing the super short run by taking out just after the canal where the old road heads down. Instead I decided to go a ways past the monster log house on the hill, down past the gravel pit, just before the high water play spot.

The river was at 8cms or so. While you could paddle it a bit lower, I wouldn't want to. The wave around the corner of the put in was good. I spent some time there and notice that a large eddy fence of small boulders now exists just above the wave. With a few more rock, eddy service should be had to this feature. More water now pours into it, and it resembles the river left side of double trouble. After hopping back in it, spins were pretty easy. One does have to watch out for the underwater ledge though. At these low flows it comes close to the surface. Right now the feature is more of a hole than anything else. There are eddies on both sides that you can catch. However with water still pouring through the small fence, you still don't have that much time to get back up.

A few trees on the canal are leaning into the river quite a bit. A saw would do wonders to clean that up. The first ledge is fun at these levels. Being by myself, I didn't play in it much. It is a tongue into a compression hole. There are nice eddies on either side, but if you wait too long on your roll, the ledge below comes up quick. This one is again a fun run at these flows, but probably a poorer play spot. The last weir like ledge is still weir like. The low flows however mean the pillow isn't too high. Since there weren't any more play features until my take out, I am thinking this could become a decent play run. Hang out at the wave on the corner, and then bash through the holes on the canal. Then hike the boats out on the old road.

A seismic survey has strung a number of unflagged cables across the river. Watch out. However I think they are in the process of taking the down right now.

Oh Cameron creek also looks like it can be run. Due to the way the water drains into it, I would put in at McNealy's not oil city.


Linda, Calgary said...

Is anyone free to paddle the St Mary's (preferably lower) with me first thing on Sunday?
We're paddling the elk or bull on Saturday the 29th.
If you're free the morning of the 30th please let me know. I'd like to paddle the St Mary's before heading back to Calgary.
E-mail: lenglehart@shaw.ca

Stew & Di said...

Glad boaterz are back on the water! We shut down the Fernie ski-hill this past week and are ready for bringing out the kayaks. Snowpack is slightly above average for the Oldman and considerably above avereage at Akamina (Waterton, etc.). Soil moisture is good, main reservoirs are fairly high and especially the offstream reservoirs are quite full so things are set up for good flows this spring. Looks like the excellent weather won't last for the weekend but we should be out as soon as it warms back up. See you all on the rivers.

Stew said...

Two Medicine River

While thinking about paddling trips for this spring, we'd recommend the Two Medicine River in Montana as a nice Grade II day-trip. It's just south of Cutbank and thus about an hour and a half or so from Lethbridge. Wilco, Di and I floated the 14 mile run to the junction with Cutbank Creek - it's like a blend of the lower St. Mary and the Milk near Writing-on-Stone - great sandstone cliffs and hoodoos along a prairie river with a couple of III's and a few II+'s. We ran it at 750 cfs (about 20 cms - American gauges use Imperial measures) and found it good but a bit low. This offers one more option that's not too far away and like the lower St. Mary it has warmer weather and warmer water than our mountain and foothills rivers.

chris g said...

I was thinking of hitting the Two Medecine too. There is a 20 foot waterfall of some sort above East Glacier, so I was thinking about going from the bridge near the park down below the highway to the prairie. This section looks pretty mellow. From what I could see from the river bank, sort of like the upper saint without the major features.

I ran into your grad students at the Lower Saint the other day. If you ever get an afternoon off and want to do a park and play on the belly, let me know. I am now running down just below the canal and then driving or hiking out on the old road.

We will see how that goes though. I just got a new boat this weekend, and think the feet are going to end up a bit tight for me (Kingpin 6.2). I may have to do more creeking than playing.