There was many trips that were taken down the Lower St. Mary's river this year. It is extremely accessible and only like 30 minutes away from Lethbridge! Its a great river for confident beginners, because most of the river is class 2, but the class 4 sections (run-no-run and Hairpin) are very easy to walk around!
Anyways a great memory on this river was when Jon Low got home from his mission for the LDS church, so we took him out and invited a few others. We barley put in and was playing on the "fishing hole" right at the put-in when David was having a blast playing on this surf wave when he went for a brace hitting some rocks with his paddle. I noticed that he was struggling on his roll, which left me a little concerned that something was wrong. I finally noticed that the side of the paddle he was rolling with had NO blade on the end. I believe he figured it out as well and rolled up on his left-side. Jon and I raced down the river to catch the blade. It was hard to get because it would surface and sink again and again! BUT we retrieved it and lucky for Dave he was only about a 5 minute walk to his truck so he just packed up and left to buy a new paddle! It was too bad he couldn't paddle with us, but its better that his paddle broke at the very beginning of the run than in the middle of the run. Another great memory of that day was when Jon finished the 4 hour paddle. He hadn't paddled in 2 years and he was stiff and sore. He could barely walk and when he climbed the fence I could do nothing but laugh and laugh and laugh!
Another day we had Stew Rood write a comment on the ORCKA blogspot about taking a white-Water raft down Lower St. Mary's. A lot of us joined this trip bringing kids to go on the boat and a lot of others brought their kayaks. It was a lot of fun.
David had a new paddle and was finally going to get his chance to run the Lower St. Mary's stretch. We paddled for almost a total of 7 hours. A LONG TRIP! It was really good though. I met a lot of new paddlers that I have never met before, so that was good for me! The kids had a blast in the raft and the rest of us had just as much fun playing on the surf waves and running "Hairpin" again and again and again.... It was a really hot day and a few of us got a good burn being in the sun for about 7 hours, bu tit was worth it.
Another trip involved Nathan, Jeff and I. We made a pretty quick trip, but spent most of our time playing on the wave hole right above "run-no-run". We were all working our spins and side surfing skills. Nathan was using Ethan's old play boat (because he was waiting for his new one to arrive), so we had some fun watching him struggle with Ethan's boat. Nathan used throw bags as make shift hip pads to keep his hips tight in the boat, but they didn't work so well. So when Nathan was surfing you could tell that his boat was really loose, but he managed well getting a few spins in for the day. Jeff forgot to close his plug a couple times and spent a bit of his paddling time on the shore emptying his boat.
All in all the Lower St. Mary's had a lot to offer for the short amount of time that it was flowing. But when it was flowing we were out on it having a blast!