Fort Edmonton Bound
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Fort Edmonton Bound

Fort Edmonton Bound

May 19


Leaving Rocky Mountain House bound for Fort Edmonton via Boggy Hall, the nature of the river changes almost immediately. Gone are the gravelly banks and grass    covered sandy benches. In their stead, monstrous steep cut banks and muddy, willow festooned shoulders good for beavers and little else.

To give you some idea of scale, Jan is barely visible as a tiny smudge just off Kai  Nani’s bow to port. Somehow, the river has leisurely carved up half a mountain.

I had planned on making Fort Edmonton by May 20th. Possible with our heads down and a bit of help from the weather. We did our part, the weather had other plans.

Three straight days of 20+ km/hr headwinds took all the fun out of paddling. May 19th found us at Willey’s West Campground, soaking wet after finally getting caught up by the thunderstorms flanking us left and right.

Landing at Willey’s was a complete accident but a happy one. It’s a glamping site meticulously maintained by Mom. At least everyone calls her Mom and to arrive there is to know why.

Finding out where we had paddled from, Mom  could not do enough to make us comfortable. I think if we had asked her to swap allegiance and cheer for Calgary she would have done it.

Absolutely dripping wet and covered in river mud, we must have looked a sight checking in at the office. Had I some cash, I would have gone broke buying junk food that whoever runs the place had cleverly arranged to lure the likes of me.

It is the people you meet, always by accident and in the most unlikely, out of the way places, that turn the most miserable of days around. In case you’re wondering, Canada is full of just such people. All you have to do is look.