Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend Recap - Day 1

This past weekend Crystal Summers, myself and 2 contest winners (plus guests)  made our way out to Ile du Grande Calumet for the Wonderdog's Whitewater Weekend.  On tap, 2 solid days of fun on the Ottawa River with HorizonX.

After the drive north through Algonquin Park we crossed the border into Quebec and to HorizonX.  We decided to head out for dinner and grab some authentic french poutine.  Blows anything New York Fires has to offer right out of the water.  Delicious!  (They layered the cheese and gravy through the fries, not just dump them on top.)
After our poutine dinner we headed back to base camp and took the kayaks and paddleboats out to burn off some of the extra calories we just digested.
After our "exercise" we grabbed our bags and headed to our tents.  Not your typical nylon tents that you might use camping, we're talking legit wood and canvas tents,  Complete with electricity (for the girls) and cots for us to sleep on.  (Hardly what I'd call camping). 
We awoke Saturday to a beautiful morning.  A gentle fog on the water, the sun pelting our semi-frozen bodies with warmth.  We made our way down to the waterside deck that would become our kitchen table, and enjoyed a hearty breakfast and got ready for our first day out on the river.
The bus ride to the top of the river was nothing like my bus rides to high school, this was a party bus!  Complete with a musical soundtrack, costumes and lots of dancing, the 20 minute ride felt much shorter with the "entertainment" from the guides.
After a quick lesson on how to properly wear our life-jackets and helmets we boarded our rafts and the day on the water was underway.  6 passengers, and our guide (affectionally known as "Barbie") began paddling towards the rapids.  Barbie told us the front of the boat gets the most water, and often falls out the most frequently.  So... I sat in the front.  After a short paddle, portage and on-the-spot safety lesson, we hit our first rapid.  A wall of water was directly in front of us, and we weren't going to turn.  SWEET!  We hit the wave and the boat pitched back, then crashed back down.  No casualties.  Barbie then had us paddle back into the wave.  Apparently he wanted us to "play around" in the rapids.  He took us toward the wave, turn the boat so we hit sideways, and... we lose the right side of the boat.  1 person hanging on to the side of the raft, and 2 disappeared into the rapids.  I stand up and start looking around for our 2 casualties.  No luck.  I eventually turn around, and they have floated a good 50 yards down river from us.  This was going to be a fun day.

Most rafting companies have large boats, seating anywhere from 8-20 people.  HorizonX elected to go with smaller boats that are stiffer and enable them to have the vertical in the rapids, instead of folding like a wet pancake.
6 hours out on the water and everyone got tossed at least once.  Since the Ottawa river is fairly deep, most people escaped without injury.  Except for Dave.
After 6 hours of paddling, hanging on for dear life and swimming we were wiped!  So we took the opportunity to relax in the riverside hammocks.
After nap-time we hit the water for some kayaking, played volleyball, got wrinkly in the hot tub and enjoyed a very intense couple games of Skip-bo.  Dinner was a fantastic medley of salad, chicken and potatoes (we ate VERY well).  We spent a couple hours picking Dave's (one of the guides) brain about his traditional winter camping methods, and then headed down to the fire.  Singing, frivolity and Crystal playing the bongos ensued and the party was on.
All in all a fantastic day, and it was only the beginning. 

Stayed tuned for Day 2 and Riverboarding tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment