Paddlers Visit Saddle Hills County
Photo credit: Billi Comstock
The Peace River Brigade met at Cotillion Campground in Saddle Hills County before launching their Passing the Paddle trek on the Peace River. from July 22 to 28,2022. The paddlers retraced the rout of the indigenous people and settlers
They began at Clayhurst Bridge on July 22 and spent five days paddling to the Town of Peace River which they reached on July 28.
According to a release published by the Brigade, “Overall the brigade went very well. There were eight boats registered with 76 paddlers plus five support crew for a total of 81 people attending. Crews came from Victoria, Saskatchewan, Kelowna, Hinton and Edmonton. Paddlers were from all over including Wisconsin and all of Alberta.
“The river water levels were lower than normal for this time of year. Flows were about 950 cubic metres per second for most days. This created some more shallows and gravel bars but mostly did not affect paddling. Paddling speed was generally 10 km per hour plus breaks. Fortunately, the dam was opened and the flow increased on our longest day of paddling, increasing our typical speed somewhat.”
Stewart Inglis, Chair of the Peace River Brigade, explained that the brigade theme for 2022 was Passing the Paddle. This was intended to promote a younger demographic to experience paddling in a brigade and also to get new, younger people involved in organizing a brigade. This was generally successful as there were nine minors paddling the brigade, aged nine to 15, approximately 10% of total paddlers.
According to Inglis, the weather was very favorable with mostly sunny and warm days. The heat actually came close to being too much as the high temperatures hit 32 and 35 degrees on two days. Crews were good at dressing for sun protection and drinking lots of water.
Local filmmaker Billi Comstock produced a video of the 2022 Passing the Paddle event.
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