Having set out on Thursday of a long weekend, we passed many groups of people along our route doing exactly what we were doing: enjoying the river. Many people were out camping along the banks, there were families fishing, swimming and walking dogs. One regional activity that we saw that was somewhat foreign to us Ontarians, was panning for gold.
As predicted, the North Saskatchewan River, the original trans-Canada highway, still plays an important role in people's lives. Recreation is a big one nowadays. Industry has utilized the river as well, businesses and farms pumping the water out, and water treatment and sanitation pump the water back in.
From Rocky Mountain House to Edmonton the water moves fast due to a strong current originating in the mountains. Despite the strong current, the rapids are manageable and friendly. The river winds through clay cliffs that are filled with cliff swallows darting in and out of their nest holes. Bird life is quite abundant on the river with bald eagles, golden eagles and pelicans being the standouts.
Mornings in the boat have been typically taken up with CBC radio style Q & A's on diverse topics such as family history and theoretical physics. Afternoons are filled with games designed to distract the paddler from the passage time: Name that Tune, Would You Rather, and 20 Questions. Only five days into the trip there is still a lot to discuss.
The crew is happy and healthy and waving a friendly "Hello Bonjour!" to everyone we pass. We are spending the night in Fort Saskatchewan, and we look forward to the next leg of our journey and the first resupply in Saskatoon!