I am going to try to attach some videos so you can see the problems I am having with the wind. This may take some time because it will be trial and error.
This will give you some idea of the intensity of the wind I have been experiencing on this journey.
I was certainly worried that the tent was going to take off.
Canoeing down the river you see many interesting things. Today there were petrochemical plants as I went along. Also on one gravel bed I saw four pelicans, unfortunately I didn't dare trying to take a picture because i had to keep the canoe steered in the right direction of the wind. One appeared to be building a nest. Then there was Terwillegar dog park with plenty of dogs running in and out of the water. What I also noticed was the number of dog balls floating down the river around here. Obviously the retrievers were not doing their jobs!
Well I have been on the go now for almost two weeks and I had anticipated to be a lot further down the river than I am. My admiration for David Thompson has grown incredibly over this trip. He paddled this river so many times and achieved so much and I am sure he and his men encountered many adversities on each trip. For me the wind has been the worst, constantly blowing in different directions which has made steering the canoe extremely difficult and at one point today I had to pull into the shore and wait for a while today for fear of being overturned. But I'll start my showing you my breakfast today - oatmeal with blueberries or perhaps better described as blueberries with oatmeal!! My fresh blueberries needed to be used, This should stave off any scurvy!! I hadn't realised how many chemical plants there were along this stretch of the river but there are definitely a lot. I will try posting one of them to the blog. With the strong winds I was being pushed towards this bank so I pulled over to wait it out for a while. See the effluent from the plant.
It had poured with rain overnight and so it took a while to pack everything this morning as I needed to dry out the tent and sleeping bag before loading. Eventually I was ready to go and set off down the river again. I had never realised how many petrochemical plants there were along this stretch of the river. Needless to say, the wind was a factor again today and so I had to keep a close eye to make sure that the boat was not turned around and I did not start travelling backwards. Today I found myself another island to camp for the night and this one had an easy access which I found very pleasant but it still takes time to unload everything in the canoe. This is where having two people in the canoe would make a huge difference. Below you can see a picture of my campsite, much flatter than my previous ones but hopefully the water level doesn't rise too much overnight!
I have met some great people so far on this trip. This morning I was greeted by one of the fishermen from yesterday who had returned with a friend and brought me a selection of fresh fruits to help me on my way - slices of melon, blueberries and some Werthers. Thank you so much, fresh fruit has certainly been missing from my diet over the past days. This day I was still in an urban setting and as I started to look for a suitable camping spot for the night I began to check out a number of islands in the river. The first ones were already occupied by other people so I continued on my way rather than disturbing their peace and privacy until I finally found an island of my own around seven o'clock. A little later than I would have liked but early enough to cook a proper meal rather than baked beans again. I have noticed a fair amount of beaver activity over the last day. They have definitely returned to the area after the era of the fur traders and David Thompson in the early eighteen hundreds.
Just one of the sights I passed by on my trip down the river. It is now known as the Edmonton Riverboat when it was purchased by new owners in 2016 but originally started life in 1996 as the Edmonton Queen. It was a tourist boat but in 2020 its hull was damaged in the spring thaw and needs work.
We're on the river again! Time to continue my journey but I was a little late starting as the night before had produced a heavy dew and so I needed to dry out my tent before I packed it away. I had planned to meet with the CBC reporter at Emily Murphy Park but when I arrived there it was unsuitable for bringing in the canoe so we had to change our plans and agreed to meet up at the Walterdale Bridge near the Kinsmen Centre. Being a weekend, the river was a lot busier than I had experienced previously with a number of canoes and kayaks and a few power boats which helped produce a few waves. Added to this there was also a wind which managed to change direction constantly and make my travel interesting. Having completed my interview and been filmed as I proceeded down the river I continued my journey to find a suitable spot to camp for the night. Travelling in the city limits is not easy as there really are no places to camp legally. In the end I came to Gold Bar Park where I encountered three fishermen who helped me secure my canoe and all my barrels, etc. This is where I spent my night.
I am going to add a few pictures so you can see a little of the surroundings of the river where I am travelling as I go between Devon and Edmonton. You will probably notice the cliffs and the lack of suitable terrain for camping. Notice also the layer of black gold on the one cliff.
On the river again, this time heading off towards Edmonton. The morning started with a meeting with Global tv and an interview with Sarah so she could prepare her story for the six o'clock news and they also included a zoom meeting with our daughter-in-law, Gillian Hatto, who lives in Calgary. By the time the canoe was packed and ready to leave Devon and the Lions Campground it was one o'clock and the film crew were on hand to take pictures of my departure. Today the weather was kind to me and though there was some wind, it actually enhanced my travel down the river for a change. Today was certainly one of my better days to canoe and so much more enjoyable. My goal was to reach Edmonton and be able to contact Lauren from CBC so they could arrange to interview me. I was able to find a bit of a backwater when I arrived near the Whitemud Bridge and found a space to camp along with some beavers. Very appropriate due to the fact that I was following the route of David Thompson and the fur trade. Unfortunately the beaver I had hoped to photograph did not cooperate so I cannot include his picture in the blog but I did hear quite a few tail slaps during the evening.
This was a day to rest again as the weather was anticipated to be bad again with more wind forecast. By taking an extra day I was able to help my back recover a little more and in fact I had the opportunity to go to a massage therapist which definitely improved things. Global TV was planning on coming to interview me later in the day but in the end this was postponed to the next morning when the film crew would be on hand to film my departure from Devon. No need to post my position for today as it is the same as yesterday.
This was a day that I took a break to recover from the previous days' canoeing. I guess this is where I have to admit to my age. I need to straighten my spine after sitting in the canoe the past days. Again the weather was pretty miserable so I wasn't sorry not to go out on the water and I was able to catch up a little on my sleep. This campsite was definitely better than my previous nights and it turns out that this is a dog walking path so I have been able to meet a lot of different people. These young ladies have been very interested in helping with Hazels Helper when they heard why I was embarking on this journey. I really appreciate their help.
These sponsors helped to make my canoe trip possible.
You can help me to achieve my goals for this trip in a number of ways: