The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Ottawa River Weekend

Friday-Monday Aug 30-Sep 2, 2013
Kayak: PaulC, BrockR, JimF, JimP
Organizer: JimP
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low
Author: JimP

Pre-Trip Preamble

The original list hit a high of 13 participants about two weeks before we were to head nord. Through steady attrition, we ended up with the Final Four -- Paul, Brock and the two Jims.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Paul & Brock hit the road a bit after 10am. This got them to camp around 4pm. With sunset at 7:45 they thought a burner (non scouting mission) of the Middle Channel was in order and they were off.

Meanwhile, back at the border

The two Jims hit the road at high noon on a gloriously sunny day. All things were looking up. Then we hit the Canadian border. The border guard asked a litany of questions and then said those dreaded words "pull to the left and go inside to see an agent". After about 20 minutes they called us to the counter. They asked me where I was from and where I worked. And then sent me on my way! And here I was all geared up for a full cavity search! Jim had a couple of innocuous questions too and we left shaking our heads wondering what that was all about.

Fun in cities. It was not quick-quick getting through Montreal or Ottawa with delays of about 30 minutes each. All in this got us to camp at 7pm. We found camp the boys had set because Paul left a beacon of his presence -- his gold Seda helmet. With sunset in 45 minutes and it starting to rain pretty hard, the Jims decided an evening park and play was out of the question and we would wait for Paul and Brock.

The boys got back to camp around 8 wet and happy. We busted out the shuttle and headed down to the pavilion for a dry dinner since it was teaming rain.

Today's level was .

After many exaggerated stories we headed back to camp and went lights out in the rainy Canadian wilderness.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

With no first time Ottawa participants and the fact that Paul & Brock ran the Middle last night, we broke tradition and started the official weekend with a Main Channel run.

The level was just under one foot, let's call it 0.9. Not a great play level. So this led to fewer crowds and of course, less play options. But still plenty of fluffy, warm whitewater!

Pretty uneventful run. Other than reacquainting JimF with the river (it had been a number of years) and the occasional Brock swim. We got back to camp around 1pm for lunch. Now the group had a big decision to make. Do another run or start the demotivation process (pffsst)? Cooler heads prevailed (as opposed to coolers) and we decided to do a Middle Channel burner run. Brock did pull off a bouncy, banging, far left run of Garvins while the rest of us watched anxiously from the usual portage location.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday lived up to its name and was a very nice sunny day. It was also competition day for the King of Clubs -- a multi-faceted event to crown the best paddling club in Ontario. This year had five teams participating. Today's level was an even 1.0 on the gauge.

Since we have never seen it, we decided to follow the flotilla down to see cardboard boat race at the Lauren. We took in the relay at McCoy then moved downstream to see the card board boats swamp at Lauren. It was over before we knew it. But we got to see a new event, foam ball collection. Basically release a couple of hundred baseball sized foam balls at the top of the Lauren rapid, then mass start 25 boats and have them charge through the rapid collecting as many as they could.

We ended up being part of the floating competition for the day as we seemed to be on the same pace as the group. So we took in advanced boater cross -- 25 mass boat start through Normans and Coliseum. And yes, there was carnage to enjoy. Then came the intermediate boater cross -- 25 mass boat start through Dog Leg and Blacks. Finally at the take out, the final water based event, barrel pull. This is where five boats daisy chained together pull a large barrel filled with water for a specified distance for time.

After lunch break it was decided that we would take a 2nd run -- but start at Lauren to miss McCoys (boo) but also a long stretch of flatwater (yah!). Why has this brilliant idea never surfaced before?!? Could be a new Ottawa tradition!

The Final Four enjoyed cocktail hour with kayak toss and rope throw events. And the whole competition came down to a rope throw-off between the top two teams. There was much trash talk as you'd see in a NBA game and was quite entertaining.

BBQ anyone? Part of the King of Clubs finale was the pulled pork dinner. When our newly found Canadian friends asked to have us join them for dinner (for a scant five bucks) who could say no? Why cook! Although to be totally accurate, this was Brock's plan all along since in past years he has poached this dinner.

Later we sat around our non campfire with our new Canadian buds. Too lazy to get wood, never mind light it on fire, we hung with four Canadians and swapped stories. Some true, some stretched so far, they sorta resembled the real story.

For future reference we did find that the King of Clubs is moving to first weekend of August for 2014, which is also a three day weekend in Canada (Civic Day). Then back to Labor Day in 2015, alternating in that fashion every other year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Last night we hatched a plan. Unlike most plans developed in a tequila haze, this one still held water the following morning. The theory was to take a semi burner run of the Main Channel. A little play, but not too much, keep moving with no scouting. Put in targeted for 9am.

Two of our buddies from last night's non-campfire, Chris and Ed, joined us for the run. Unfortunately, all the remaining (or not too hung over) King of Club participants had the same agenda. So pretty much every boat on the Main channel today, around 25, were moving as a pack downriver.

Well this was going to spoil our early morning (we actually did put on at 9:15) wilderness run of the Main at 0.5. (see how I snuck the level in there?!?) So when we got to Push Button, we hung back. It was kind of surreal. First there is a line of 20 boaters for the main play feature (nothing new for the Ottawa). But then as each boater was "one and done" the lines shortened to just our group. We let them get out of sight before we too, headed out. From then on it was just us on the lower part of the Main Channel. A very nice experience.

The rest of the river was uneventful, or that's how I remember it! Too tired to take note of any extracurricular activity. There was a bit of time for Paul and Jim to get their loops on at Blacks and we were spent.

Back to camp to pack up. Another first for Ottawa, we on the road before 2:00! We usually struggle to get to the takeout by 2:00!

Quick ride home for all. Jim and Jim went the normal route through Montreal. Paul and Brock went through Cornwall. Both rides took a bit more than 5hours with everybody home before dark!

A great trip with a small and enthusiastic group. Can't wait to do it again. See ya'll next year!


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