After moving to Alberta, and presuming that there was no paddling to be had I was plesently supprised to get an invitation from Mikkel St. Jean Duncan to run the South Ram on Canada Day Weekend here in Canada. This two day expedition was a much needed change from driving 10,000 km's over and back to from the Ottawa and studying away here in Vermillion Fire Fighting school.
The South Ram is an awesome 2-4+ 2 day section of river, 50-60KM's in length located just outside Rocky Mountain House on Hwy 752. An unlikely spot for such a gem considering you can see for miles in every direction on the drive up. Friday night started with meeting the group, Mikkel being the only one I had paddled with before.
Setting Up Rappel Day 1
Unfortunately the logging road that allows for a simple take out only metres form the river bank was locked with the most heavy set logging road gate I have ever seen in Canada. No bribing the locals with a few beers to get into this one. So we continued another 7KM down stream and parked a couple of cars there.
Dave Crerar ledge drops credit: Jeff Germaine
Mikkel St Jean Duncan peering over the 80 footer
Having run shuttle that night we were ready to go early the next morning and set on our way for what was my first time down the Ram or any river in Alberta for that matter. This river produces some nice challenging grade four rapids in between truely beautiful canyons and mamonth cliff walls. In the weeks previous to out decent the river had flash flood from 40cms up to 700.
Dave Crerar Table Top Falls credit: Mikkel St Jean Duncan
This meant that the erosion was clearly visable and the drift wood was left stranded 30-40 feet above the water level at some points. the first day had most of the challenging white water, with a nice 3 ledge section followed by an 80 footer that we rapelled around, which was then followed by table rock falls, a 40 foot water fall with an interesting lead in. Our final rapid of the first day was a small 50ft slide which took us to our campsite.
Group on slide end of day 1
2 successful runs
Camp site day 1
The second day started with a beautiful sunrise meaning all our gear
was warmed up and ready to go for our second day, not being the most experienced over night kayaker warm clothes were definitely a plus considering I tried to survive on Mr. Noodles and Chunky soup.. Lesson learned. The second day brought with it one of the more challenging portages I have ever experienced, along a trail a mountain goat would be happy to survive. This left us with a 2 hour paddle out and a truely epic finish walk out to the cars.
Table top Falls from below credit: Lianne Germaine
Some eager locals took quading to a whole new level
All in all this was an amazing introduction to Albertan paddling and what this foreseeable future has in store for me. Thanks again to Mikkel and his possy, and the eye opening experience they brought me along for.