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Ottawa River

Friday-Monday Aug 30-Sep 2, 2019
Kayak: Jim, Sarah, John, Paul, Sue, Rita, Chris W, Chris F, Boris, Mark, Dani, Philly Paul
C1: Ryan
Doing Own Thing: Dawn, Barb, Hannah, Ellison, Everett, Dixie the Dog, Kala the Dog
Organizer: Jim Poulin
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: James Poulin

Friday, August 30, 2019

Level: -2.50

Weather: 70 and sunny

Camp this year is at Owl Rafting as our normal location, River Run Rafting, is closed for the season for renovations. From our observations driving by and Sarah’s bike ride through the facility, we didn’t see much renovating. Rumors abound that River Run will be closed next year as well since there have been permitting issues with the provincial government.

Between Ottawa traffic (when has that town become so busy?!?) and border crossing snafus, the various groups made it into camp a bit later than expected.

We opted for a park & play at McCoy’s versus the anticipated burner run down the Middle Channel given the late start (almost 6pm).

The sun was setting, the water was warm and not another paddler in sight. It was a beautiful evening to be on the river.

There were 7 paddlers: John, Paul, Chris F, Chris W, Sarah, Mark and Jim.

Rather than take the normal run out back to the put-in we marched over the island and paddled back to the put-in.

Got back to the car and it was just about dark. Back to camp for a late dinner and an early bed. Long day on the road but at least we got to get wet! 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Level: -2.50

Weather: 70 and sunny

Morning Run

After a semi-leisurely morning we headed out of camp for a Middle Channel run. Being at Owl meant we needed to set shuttle as Owl is about 6 miles downstream of the normal River Run takeout. And that would be 6 miles of pretty much flatwater.

We had 12 paddlers for the morning run: John, Paul, Chris F, Chris W, Mark, Ryan, Sue, Rita, Boris, Dani, Philly Paul and Jim. Philly Paul came up to paddle for the weekend and was hanging out at the put-in looking for accomplices. I guess the VPC crew fit the bill as he paddled with us for the rest of the weekend.

As is often the case, there was much excitement at Phil’s Hole. While a few paddlers took on the Zoom Flume, there others were ready to face Phil. Most did well. John found the playboat tongue through Phil’s and lived to tell about it. Chris F found the left hand side of Phil’s to be quite sticky. But he hung on for what seemed like an eternity (from his perspective) before bailing out. The resulting swim through left side of Horseshoe left him a bit battered.

From there it was on to tackle the Middle Channel. Which at these levels included Iron Ring, S-Turn, Butterfly, a walk over Garvin’s Chute, Little No Name, Big No Name and Black Velvet.

It was the first time for Chris F and Ryan so some explanation was needed and we did scout Big No Name so they could get a sense of the line. Sue graciously agreed to lead the group through Big No Name.

Everyone enjoyed the sunny Canadian wilderness as we were among only a few paddlers on the river this fine morning. We took out at the Wilderness Tours takeout since River Run is closed. The Wilderness Tours takeout can be accessed about 100 yards north of River Run. On the river, it is about ½ mile upstream of the River Run takeout and can be easily found.

We made it back to camp around 1:00 pm for a quick lunch.

Afternoon Run

For various reasons we dropped a few paddlers for the afternoon run having 10 in total: John, Paul, Sarah, Chris W, Mark, Ryan, Boris, Dani, Philly Paul and Jim.

We put in at Upper Lorne to miss the flatwater paddle after McCoy’s. No one seemed to mind.

All was going swimmingly (OK, bad choice of words) until Coliseum. While hitting the main hole on the river left move, Boris dug hard on his paddle only to find there was no blade on one end. Snapped right off! The resulting confusion, not to mention all the squirrelly water over on the left, left him no choice but to abandon ship. Maybe in a moment of clarity he could have mimicked a C-1 boater and finished the rapid with a single blade. But today was not that day.

John happened to have a breakdown paddle in his boat. Yay John!

After that, Paul tried his luck on the Dog Leg slot to find a pretty good sized hole waiting for him. Most of the rest of us saw that and decided the far right line at Dog Leg would suit us just fine.

Made it back to camp well before dark and had plenty of time to enjoy happy hour.

We bid farewell to Mark as he needed to get home. It was his anniversary on Sunday so we did not give him too much crap for leaving early.

There was a live band at the pavilion this evening. We listened from camp, which was fine. A few strolled down for a better view and found this music was best enjoyed from a distance to help muffle the rough edges. But you must give Owl points for trying to keep us entertained (as if the river does not provide enough excitement!). 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Level: -2.75

Weather: 70 and sunny

We had 10 paddlers for today’s run: John, Sarah, Paul, Chris F, Ryan, Rita, Boris, Dani, Philly Paul and Jim

The plan was to run the Main Channel. But after three watery runs and two walks we licked our wounds and decided the energy level of the group favored a run down the Middle Channel. Dani and Philly Paul stuck with the Main Plan and the rest of us ventured down the Middle. Dani mentioned later that the Jackson Team was at Push Button putting on quite the show.

It was a very enjoyable run and we barely saw any paddlers. We did see a number of spectators along the way — at Garvin’s and Black Velvet — that made us wonder how they got there.

We made it back to camp before happy hour. We bid adieu to Sue, Rita and Chris W as they headed back to Vermont this evening.

Speaking of happy hour, it was Tequila Night. I am sure something of note happened over the next few hours, but I am not at liberty to say what those things might have been. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Level: -2.75

Weather: 70 and sunny

By the time any of us woke up, Boris had already hit the road — an earlier departure to miss the metro New York holiday traffic.

Ryan and his family were also planning to take off later in the morning and he would not be dipping a paddle today either. But not before he helped us set shuttle!

We set off on the Main Channel from the top with 5 paddlers: John, Sarah, Paul, Chris F and Jim.

John and Chris Zoom Flumed and the rest took the standard “thread the needle” line through McCoy’s. At this time of day, 9:30 am, there were no other paddlers or rafts on the river. It was quite nice.

When we got to Upper Lorne there were three paddlers in Garb. As we went around the corner to Pushbutton we came across a bunch of early morning play hounds maybe 25 boaters! and they boated like locals.

We left them behind and for the rest of the run had a wilderness run without other paddlers or rafts.

We had one swim at Norman's but we regrouped and all of us cleaned Coliseum. It was just Dog Leg and Black’s between us and the end of the weekend. All were sad that the weekend was truly ending but we pushed on.

We made it back to camp in record time (12:30!) and everyone was on the road before 2:00 pm.

Another Ottawa trip is in the books! See you again next year.



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