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.