Paddle recreation doesn’t have to end when summer does. It’s a great activity to keep you entertained through the fall as temperatures start to drop and colours begin to change. When taking to the water, remember to check the weather and dress appropriately. Wearing layers is best as temperatures tend to fluctuate through the day. Sometimes you warm up and need to remove a layer or put an extra layer on.
Some quick tips for fall kayaking:
- It’s best to wear quick-dry fabrics in case you get wet, being cold and wet is a dangerous combination. Avoid cotton when layering as it will stay wet, not providing any insulation. Wool is a better material and will keep you warm even when wet.
- Wear a base layer and a jacket – and be sure to adjust your lifejacket for the added layers to ensure comfort and proper fit.
- Paddle in the afternoon when the temperature is warmest
- If you’re kayaking alone, plan your route and let someone know where you are going – or use the buddy system.
Kayaking in the fall can be more enjoyable than you may think and beautiful places to explore are closer than you realize. Views are spectacular, the summer crowds have disappeared and the bugs are less buggy. Get out and explore the waters around you this fall and enjoy the view.
I recently set out to explore different areas of Wascana Creek within the city limits. Read on to find out what I learned!
Wascana creek runs through the city, branching from both sides of Wascana Lake. Trailing east, the creek passes the Wascana Country Club toward the McKell Wascana Conservation Park where you can find a walking path and overlook, although no easy access to the water. As always, the conservation area should be admired from the land and the water left undisturbed. The west side of the Creek starts at Rotary Park, where if you can find parking away from the residential area, you can easily access the water from the creek bank and you can paddle as far as the edge of Kitchener Park – all the way to Elphinstone Street – where the water damns and you will need to turn around. This short paddle is bordered by steep banks of weeds and wildflowers and can be particularly beautiful near the end of summer and beginning of fall when the colours begin to change. On occasion, parking may be available at the Kiwanis waterfall parking lot where you can access the water via steep banks down to the creek.
Another area to paddle starts at Edward Street South, you can enter the water at the lower side of the damn. You can push out from the large rocks and broken concrete. Park on the street or near the lot outside The Saskatchewan Express building on Pasqua Street. Depending on water levels, the creek can be shallow at times. You will have to pay attention and navigate around rocks and sand banks. From Edward Street, the creek runs under Lewvan Drive and winds through the Cathy Lauritsen Memorial Off-Leash Dog Park (where you might just make a few new friends) and runs through the Royal Regina Golf Course fairways. While passing through the course, stay quiet, respect the golfers and refrain from causing any distraction. You shouldn’t have a problem navigating the calm waters and passing under short bridges. From there the creek runs toward Grassick Park, under the Dewdney Avenue bridge and into A.E Wilson Park where you will run into a pedestrian bridge and damn where you can either turn around or make a short portage into the Lake Side of A.E. Wilson Park.
You can also enter the creek at the north Side of A.E. Wilson Park off Ritter Avenue, where you will find a damn of large rocks. Enter at the lower side and continue into the creek. This section of the creek snakes through shallow water where you’re likely to find small damns of sticks and debris. You’ll have to navigate around scrap metal in the creek. While inside city limits, this section gets you feeling like you’re outside of the city, surrounded by steep banks of foliage and the occasional water fowl. The winding route will take you under a bridge that leads toward the Paul Dojack Youth Centre and onward toward Hansen Drive Park where you will come across another bridge that functions as a railway crossing. You can exit the creek at the corner of Toothill Street and Read Avenue on the right side of the bridge using a flat grassy bank that allows easy access to and from the water. If you started your route at Ritter Ave., this is just a short walk back to your vehicle. If you continue under the bridge and down the creek, you will move past the Joanne Goulet Golf Course. Although the scenery there is beautiful, there is no easy exit on the other side where it damns just before Pinkie Road.
While paddling the creek you may encounter several different critters from cranes and herons, to turtles, minks and muskrats, just to name a few. Always be kind to nature and try to avoid disturbing the animals as much as possible, the creek is their home after all. You’re just visiting.
By Guest Blogger: Britt Schroers