The Grade 12's headed to Palmer Rapids this past week for a 3-day Moving Water Canoe clinic. I should add that it also became a major eating feast with some spectacular meals and desserts. The good food was welcome, as the weather, the fire ban and the water levels didn't really cooperate with us during the 3-days.
The first day was a bit chilly and as we arrived we found water levels that were more common at the end of the summer. I guess the lack of rain in recent weeks had forced Hydro to close the dam. The bonus was that water temperatures were more like July temperatures, which was good as most students decided to take unplanned swims on the first day. The swims did mean that the students were working hard at mastering their strokes and manoeuvring the canoe through the current. This paid off greatly, as we very quickly progressed from entering and exiting the current to running a complete set of rapids and taking eddies with great control.
This would become important on the second day, because the weather stayed chilly and would also provide us with the rain (all-day) we so desperately needed. After the students were introduced to the wonders of spring paddling, cold wet wetsuits to get into, we spent the day just running the rapids over and over again. Each time challenging ourselves with more difficult lines and manoeuvres. We didn't have any swims on this day until we started surfing and attaining the river, this is when Nick and Jacob got a little over confident and river reminded them who is the boss.
Now this description of our trip wouldn't be complete with the tail of our meals. The students went all out (may have blown the budget a bit) and had everything from hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, quesidillas, bacon, eggs and pancakes to marble cake and apple crumble (with ice cream) made in the Dutch oven. I can be pretty confident in saying that we replaced the calories we expended during our days of paddling and then some. Did I mention we stopped at Tracy's in Renfrew for ice cream on the way home?
The last day turned out to be quite nice, with a bit of sun coming through to help us on the water. This was despite the large crowds that had showed up overnight. We worked the bottom set like a bunch of pros, only to arrive to find about a hundred boats coming to join our quiet play spot. After a couple of quick surfs, we decided to head to the top set, which was the most difficult run and we had saved until now. After a good scout and a run down by Brenna and myself, the rest of the tandems came down successfully through the large waves. Well almost successfully, as Forrest and Marlee took on so much water during the rapid, that their canoe swamped in the calm water at the bottom and they had a little swim to finish it off. The rest of decided to join them by swimming the top rapid just for fun. It was a great way to finish off a fantastic 3 days.