The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Ottawa River - August 2007

Thursday-Sunday Aug 9-12, 2007
Kayak: Jim, Dawn, John, Kristy (aka Pink), Simone, Will, Grayson, Rod, Dan, Shawn, Amos and Kelly
Organizer: JimP
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: JimP

The Summary:

Twelve paddling souls (OK, technically 11 and a shuttle bunny/hiker/video technician/yoga instructor) headed nord to test the warm, warm waters of the Ottawa River near Beachburg Ontario. It was a two, three or four day trip as some folks headed up as early as Thursday while everyone was there for the weekend. The water levels were perfect for play (between -1.5 and -1.75) and the weather couldn't have been better, sunny and warm without any liquid sunshine whatsoever.

Thursday paddling consisted of a park and play at McCoy's rapid later in the day by Amos, Kelly and Simone.

Friday was a big day with a morning park & play, a Middle Channel run and a Main Channel run with almost the whole crew.

Saturday consisted of an early morning park & play, back to camp for breakfast/naps and then a Main Channel run by everyone as now John and Shawn had finally made their way to camp.

By Sunday both energy levels and adrenal glands were depleted. Most opted for park and play and just a few did a full Main Channel run.

Some random stories that come to mind:

The Thursday night caravan made a few stops and dealt with some traffic issues at the normal spots. Leaving Burlington at 5:30 and arriving at River Run at 12:30 in the morning - a 7 hour trip. John coming up Friday evening, missing traffic and juiced on Red Bull made it in a Canadian land speed record of 4.5 hours!

A tip of my hat goes to those that paddled a full twelve hours - 7am to 7pm - on Friday (I think the list included Dan, Simone, Grayson and Kristy). That was a long day of hard play! The rest of us got in nine to ten hours but felt like slackers compared to the "Iron Kayakers". Probably explains why no one was up past 9pm Friday night.

A taste of Phil: All the first timers (and even a few of the Ottawa veterans) got introduced to Phil on their first ever run through McCoy's.

Both horseshoe holes (left and right) in McCoy's got to munch on some Vermont boater meat on the very same run!

From my point of view the paddling crowd seems smaller than in past years. The wait for the key play spots were long because we were such a big crowd! But there is always the raft traffic to contend with. Not too bad on Friday or Sunday but Saturday was full on rubber.

Any multi day paddle will have its share of bumps and bruises. This trip had a few paddlers on the Injured Reserve list: Jim (shoulder), Amos (neck) and Will (flu). Didn't keep them from paddling but maybe slowed them down a bit. Luckily at camp we had Dawn's Massage Therapy and Johnny's Chiropractic Services. Plus I did notice a few very large bottles of Ibuprofen kicking around.

Will invented a new move at Garburator that he modestly named "The Will". I have heard rumors that it is the "must make move" for the upcoming Ottawa Rodeo on Labor Day weekend!

While only Kristy and Jim made use of the hot tub after Friday's final run, the full crew piled into that thing on Saturday spilling out most of the water. Beers provided by Grayson and Will made for a warm and wet cocktail hour at River Run.

We all showed our Canadian heritage on Saturday night/Sunday by sporting maple leaf or Canadian flag tattoos. Some went for multiples!

Every night the Canadian Camp Cleaning Network (i.e. raccoons) paid a visit and made sure there were no scraps of food lying around when we woke up. They need to work more quietly as they can make quite a racket when tossing the pots and pans off the tables.

And speaking of tables! What class we had! Simone brought tablecloths and we lined up three picnic tables to create a family dining experience and general hang out spot.

We set a trap one night for the raccoons (Simone's boat held up by a paddle with an ear of corn dangling as bait). The only thing it caught all night was Jim stumbling back to his tent.

Dawn was the winner of the first annual Ottawa River golf tournament. We won't mention the fact that she was the only entrant.

On Saturday's Main Channel run we stopped and looked at Coliseum (a prudent thing to do). While some scouted, others ran to show the two most common lines (left or right). While waiting at the bottom for Shawn and Will we realized that neither of them had run the rapid before and we did not have a guide/probe boat to lead them down. There was a discussion in the eddy if they would take the right line or the left line. Pretty soon we were all shouting our preferred line as they headed into the maw. We were all confident that our personal line was very best and these Coliseum rookies would follow said line. Well they showed us, Shawn went right and Will went left. They are now veterans.

Saturday night the campsite was filled with music as Johnny G was accompanied by vocals, bongos, a djembe, a tambourine and other percussion instruments. There were also a few pig poems and groover stories to round out the evening. I think a few adult beverages were also consumed. We must have sounded like we were having a good time as a number of other campers came by to join the fire circle.

Most of the paddlers partook of the official food of the Ottawa River Poutine.

Jim had trouble finding his tent every time he came back from paddling. Someone, maybe the larger raccoons, made it into a mobile home, moving it about the campsite. (note to readers: the word "about" is pronounced "aboot" in Ottawa-River-speak)

Even though we left at different times there was an impromptu reunion at the Highgate border crossing as John, Dawn, Jim, Kristy, Grayson, Will and Rod all managed to get to the border at roughly the same time. The thirty minute wait went quicker with a few tired hugs and some Ginger-O cookies.

Anyone ready to sign up for next year???

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