Years ago, actually more like decades ago; I had decided I wanted to try different adventures every September, and for a number of years I did. You can read about some of these exploits in past posts such as Jump, go ahead and jump!
Then, of course there was Let’s Go Diving; It will be fun
Anyways, this was more involved as we had to camp overnight before we set out rafting the Ottawa River with a group called Wilderness Tours which is still doing a booming business though I think the camping part has been upgraded slightly. After a good night’s sleep we met at 10:30 am for an extensive safety briefing and paddling practice led by our guide.
The Ottawa is like a roller coaster in that there are periods with calm water below the rapids where you can catch your breath and wonder why the hell you signed up for this before the next stretch of rapids hit you and the adrenaline and your heart are pumping while trying to remain in the boat and remembering to paddle – in other words no time for thinking, just reacting. I have to admit I had a huge grin on my face the whole time even when we lost a few people overboard after a particularly big wave washed over the boat.
Rafting is a complete experience with time for body surfing (swimming rapids), cliff jumping or swimming off the floating island (your raft). The scenery along the way is quite spectacular. Each trip is about four to six hours in length with a hearty BBQ half way down the river…and you will think it is the best BBQ you have ever had because you are outdoors and have survived so far and you will need the sustenance for the next leg of the trip.
Some things to consider when deciding you would like to try whitewater rafting:
- Choose a licensed and professional rafting tour outfitter. …
- Always wear a life jacket
- Be safety conscious and relaxed
- Make sure you have the right outerwear for the day and are comfortable
- Hold the paddle properly
- Stay in the boat! This may not always be possible, I know but you will have been coached on what to do if you find yourself in the river unintentionally
- Know the proper swimming techniques, this is not an adventure for non-swimmers
- Never panic – easier said than done but panic will not help you
- Listen to your guide/instructor in the classroom and on the boat and you will do well
I highly recommend this if you like the water, are in good shape and don’t mind being tossed around the boat like the proverbial yellow rubber ducky at times.