The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Ottawa River

Friday-Monday Sep 4-7, 2015
Kayak: KerryW, MelanieR, BrockR, PaulC, SueS, SarahC, BorisG, JimP
Doing Own Thing: DawnD and Kala The Mascot
Organizer: Jim Poulin
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: Jim Poulin

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kerry and Melanie win the award for the first to arrive. Around 3:30pm. They opted to go for a swim down in the river. Jim and Dawn were the next in camp with our mascot for the weekend, Kala. This was the first trip for their Winnebago View. But not the first time an RV has graced this weekend. Ken and Leann drove their “Turtle” up a few years back. There was some, but not much, debate about doing a run of the Middle channel. Calmer heads prevailed and the four of us got down to drinking some tequila! In the first of many perfect timing coincidences, Boris meets Paul and Sue at the front kiosk as they pull in. They kindly show Boris to the Pet Haven Base Camp. There was a campfire with tall tales, old and new told. While everyone tried to stay up from Brock’s arrival some didn’t quite make it. Brock and Kim, er, I mean Sarah pulled into town about midnight. The river level was -0.75 but we didn’t care…  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

River level was -0.75.

This is arguably the best level for Garburator and since the World Freestyle Championships are being held there, this has been the consistent level reading all week long. Those that slept through it, welcomed Brock and Sarah to Team Vermont. If I can count correctly, this would be the first time in my memory that women outnumbered the men at the Ottawa. While there were four boaters of each gender, Shuttle Bunny extraordinaire, Dawn and the mascot Kala (female Standard Poodle) tipped the scales strong in favor of estrogen over testosterone. But don’t think for a second we skipped paddling to talk about our feelings. This is a paddling weekend! Our first run of the weekend was the Middle Channel. There was some time spent at McCoys. For both the veterans to scout and for the River Rookies to wonder how one would run this maelstrom. We all made it through one way or another and headed downstream. The Middle Channel proved to be a good warm up. Although the group did end up changing the names on some of the rapids. Henceforth, Butterfly will be called HOLY F$#K!!! Little No Name will be referred to as Wee No Nah May. And in the same vein, Big No Name will go by Ginormous No Nah May. At Ginormous no Nah May, Boris wanted to run the right side with Brock and Jim. He made the eddy but then started floating out the back of it. While Brock and Jim watched in horror/interest, Boris ran the second part of the rapid with no instruction. He did great! Dawn had the vehicles down by the take out and we hustled back to camp for lunch. We were trying to get to the Freestyle finals with the Women K1 at 3:00 and the Men K1 at 4:00. We put on at 2:00 and did not dilly dally. A quick bust out of McCoys, no scouting allowed, with minimal play we were off on the flat water death march. While we got there around 4pm, the men’s final was already over. I guess they didn’t see the need to wait for Team Vermont. From all accounts there were over 1,000 folks on the side of the river taking it all in! For those keeping score at home, this is how it all shook out:

OC1                Andrew Hill                Canada

C1                   Dane Jackson              United States

K1 Women      Emily Jackson             United States

K1 Men           Dane Jackson              United States

Damn, those Jackson kids are good! We continued downstream through all the meaty Main rapids – Lauren, Butchers Knife, Norman and Coliseum. As memory serves (which is always sketchy) it was a great run by all on a nice warm Ontario evening. In another amazing timing coincidence, Dawn, Sue, Melanie and Kala got to the take out at the very moment we pull up. And they have a cooler full of beer. They are our favorite people! We head back to camp with smiles on our faces. Exhausted smiles, but smiles just the same. There were many stories of the day’s event. I think at one point Brock mentioned that he had won one of the freestyle events! The stars were in full bloom and we all hit the hay a bit early.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

River Level: -1.0

The Team opts for a Middle Channel start and we were on the river by 10am! Kerry and Melanie were looking to hit the road back to Vermont and didn’t want to start too late. At McCoys, Boris looked to run the right sneak but bit off a bit more of Phil’s than he planned. Brock tried the standard “thread the needle” line and caught a face full of Phil. The Middle was a frolicking good time as always. Back to Pet Haven Base Camp for lunch. We see Kerry and Melanie off. Now the gender lines are starting to even out with four to four (counting mascots of course). The Boys (Boris, Brock, Paul & Jim) and Sarah put in at The Lauren for a shortened Main run. Another beautiful Canadian evening for paddling. Sun hanging low in the sky and in the 80’s. Then around Normans a big ol’ thunderstorm blows through. Made Normans and Coliseum a bit more intimidating, like that’s really necessary! All I remember about Coliseum is fighting to get my line after the big center hole only to find Brock’s helmet (with head and body attached) right in the slot I was looking to run! So I needed to come up with a Plan B! And like quickly. It all worked out for the best and we got Brock packaged up before Dog Leg. The flat water slog after Black’s did not seem too bad. Everyone was thinking the same thing. Tonight is Tequila Night! We got to the take out and again there was a welcoming committee and they brought cold beer! Man, I could get used to this! So back to base camp and the tequila started to flow. There were many stories, some exaggerated and some not, OK, all were exaggerated! Don’t have too many memories but I do have a vague recollection of a light saber fight with Paul…  

Monday, September 7, 2015

River Level: -1.0

In the morning Brock mentioned that tequila has a smaller footprint than beer. I thought he was talking about the footprint inside his groggy head. But he was talking about picking up a few tequila bottles is easier than twenty or thirty beer cans. OK, that makes sense now. Over breakfast a plan was hatched. Brock, Sarah and Jim would hit the Main. Paul and Sue would head down the Middle. Boris and Dawn would provide shuttle services and then Boris would hit the road for his ten hour drive home to New Jersey. We cleared McCoys. Brock had his first ever successful “thread the needle” run!!! We do not need to go into how the rest of the rapid went. At the critical juncture where the Middle and Main split, Sarah says “I wouldn’t mind another Middle run”. Brock concurs and Team Vermont stays together for the Middle. Once again, Dawn is at the take out only moments before we arrive. Only no beer this time. Then it is time to hit the showers and grab some lunch. A quick tear down of camp and we were all on the road by 2pm. Another Ottawa trip for the ages!   jimp

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