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Ottawa River

Friday-Monday Sep 1-4, 2017
Kayak: Jim, Brock, Sarah, Paul, Sue, Kyle, Rita, Boris, Sandy, Brian, Erin, Mike, Kyle
Doing Own Thing: Dawn, Barb, Christine, Amber, Kala the Mascot, Augie the Doggie, Navi the Speedy Pooch
Organizer: JimP
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium
Author: JimP

Seventeen hearty soles headed nord to the Ottawa whitewater region for a weekend of laughter, spills and chills.  The Ottawa never disappoints.

Well, we have always wanted to come earlier in the year to catch the Ottawa at a higher level than our normal zero feet or below.  This year the river gods helped us out and gave us a Labor Day weekend level of around 7 feet!  So, this meant a couple of things.  New lines on the Middle Channel (Little Trickle & Angel’s Kiss) and no run down the Main Channel.  On the positive side of the ledger, it was a pretty quiet river in terms of number of paddlers.  Most of the big play features (Baby Face, Garberator and Pushbutton) were underwater at these levels and this kept many boaters away.


Friday September 1

For most it was a travel day.  Some came after work, some spent the whole day traveling.  The Cheese Heads had already been in camp for a week!  I guess if you are going to drive that far, you should make the most of it!

Sarah and Brock drove directly to the put in for a burner Middle run.  When they encountered the higher level, they ran cautiously and walked around a few unknowns rather than take time for scouting (it was getting late in the day).  All in all, a successful first run.


Saturday, September 2

River level: 6.75 feet

The gangs all here!  The plan was to open with a Middle Channel run as we normally do.  After listening to harrowing stories from the Cheese Heads about the Main, we were reconsidering if a Main Channel run would be in our afternoon plans.  Didn’t really matter because with all the scouting we needed to do and all the play that had to be done, we didn’t get off the river until 4pm!

Saturday was our only sunny day.  It struggled to reach 70 degrees but it was a nice day.  The remainder of the weekend was intermittent showers and temps that stayed in the 50’s.  There were a few full dry suits sported by members of the group!  The river temperature was balmy as always.


Sunday, September 3

River level: 6.70 feet

The group again voted for a Middle Channel run.  Much less scouting but still plenty of play at the various locations – Corner Wave, (really baby) Baby Face, Angel’s Kiss, Butterfly and Little No Name.  At the end the Middle Channel, group tried to determine a walking path to the Coliseum viewing stand on the Main Channel.  With that resulting failure, we ended up paddling upstream to Black’s Rapid and walked along the shore to the platform.  For our efforts, we were treated to a high water Coli viewing!  Big Kahuna was in full form and very hungry.  We watched about a dozen raft attempt the run with about a 60% success rate.  At the bottom of Coli there were a couple of motorized rafts to pick up casualties before they flushed over Dog Leg. 

A right-down-the-middle run would have you hitting the huge Kahuna hole.  Surviving that would allow you to charge through multiple other holes, exploding waves and swirlies that eat kayaks for lunch.  There was a very doable far right sneak for those not wanting to get their heads ripped off.

There were rumors of our traditional Sunday Night Tequila Night happening.  And given there were many empty tequila bottles on Monday morning, I must believe that would be true.  But I don’t remember any of it.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


Monday, September 4

River level: 6.60 feet

Morning camp was a bit chaotic as some wanted to get going (long drive) and others were just waking up.  But seven of us got on the river by 9:30.  Maybe it was three days of paddling, maybe it was the cold weather, maybe it was the pushier water, just maybe it was the tequila, but we had five swimmers out of our group of seven.  Yikes!  Plus an island paddle extraction that included two sets of ropes, a river fording and a rope return swim.  That was an event!

Back to camp by 12:30 to finish the packing, say our goodbyes and hit the long road home.

Until next year!


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