Tuesday, June 5, 2012

PAD4O Moving Water Canoe Clinic

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.


Fitz said...

This canoe trip is by far the trip I had been looking forward to the most this year in Outdoor Ed. I have to say, though, it was nothing like what I had expected! From the very beginning of the trip, we were presented with things I never thought I would find on an Outdoor Ed trip!

Everything was definitely a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. Thinking back to the gr. 11 canoe trip, I was expecting a lot of hard work, but it turned out to be a fairly relaxing stay considering we were car camping. We got on the water after a little lunch. I was a little intimidated by the size of the waves as someone who had never paddled white-water before. After some practice (and a little yelling at Forrest…sorry!), we all became more comfortable with the rapids.

The first run down was by far the scariest part of the trip… I was afraid I would steer our canoe into a rock and get shot forward! It turned out to be okay in the end and ,as we ran it a few more times, we both became better at manoeuvring and communicating.

The second day and third day were just as fun, if not more fun than the first! The only downside to all the canoeing we did was putting on the cold, wet wetsuits in the morning! With the fire ban and minimal sunshine, there was no way to warm up or dry anything… As much as we all complained about getting back on the water, as soon as we were out there, I enjoyed every minute of it!

Of course the camping experience wouldn’t be the same without the great food! I think that, including what was brought by everyone, we probably could have stayed a couple extra days! I’m definitely not complaining though. Coming off the water after a day of canoeing I had a huge appetite!

Although I’m no pro at white-water canoeing, I feel like I learned a lot of useful information that would allow me to enjoy myself when I’m out on the waves! I think the most important thing I learned is to always keep calm, and paddle on (and lean away from the water!). This became essential a few times because we almost flipped. Forrest and I got pretty good at manoeuvring the boat and surfing the waves too! I also figured out that Shin Ninja requires a lot of protective gear, potentially full hockey gear!

All in all, I really enjoyed this trip! Lots of food, lots of canoeing, and lots of good laughs! Even though the wetsuit dilemma and portaging a heavy canoe weren’t the greatest, it was all worth it to make a great experience! I have to say I was really sad to leave our little camp site, and I hope someday I might have another experience just like it!

BrennaMcWilliams said...

I really enjoyed going on the whitewater canoe trip! At first, I was a little worried to do the canoeing because I didnt want to fall in. But I had a great partner so we never did fall in.

I had no idea what to expect from this trip. We never really talked about it in class but it is definetly an experience that I will always remember.

The first day that we got there, we set up camp, had some lunch and got changed to go on the water. Mr.Brouwer taught us some manuevers and skills on a calm piece of water. Soon after we moved onto the whitewater to try these manuevers, including S-turns & ferry's. It went really well for awhile but the first group to almost fall in was forest and Marlee. A couple more runs later Kris and Laura hit piano rock and tipped in. And not too long after that, Nick and Jacob grabbed the gunnel during an S-turn and tipped in also. Althoug we were quickly able to move down to the bottom rapids and do many more manuevers.

For the Second and third day we didnt really spend that much time on the water. We did a couple manuevers at the bottom of the top rapid then quickly made our way down to the bottom rapid. From here we jumped from eddy to eddy by making a couple S-turns, C-turns, and ferrys. By the end of that day Mr.Brouwer and I were riding a wave at the end of the rapid. The last day we knew it was going to be really busy so we had nothing special planned. We warmed up on the bottom half of the top rapid. We tried to move quickly because we could already see a [ile of boats getting ready to do some canoeing. So we did one run of the bottom rapids and then quickly went up to look at the top rapids. We scouted out a route and Mr.Brouwer and I were the first to go. We made it through without tipping but we caught a lot of water. Nick, Jacob and Forest and Marlee both made it through perfectly fine also but when Forest and Marlee got to the end they caught a lot more water then they wanted to. They ended up tipping from an unballanced canoe.

For the whole trip, the fopod was amazing! Everyone brought so much food, so we had plenty of leftovers. It was nice coming in after a long day of canoeing and having a big dinner and a dutch oven dessert. On the second night Forest and I with the help of Marlee, we made an apple crisp for dessert. But of course we needed ice cream so a couple people drove to the nearest corner store and bought some ice cream.

After cleaning up the camp and and packing up the cars we headed home, but of course we had to make a stop in renfrew for some tracy's ice cream. Overall I really enjoyed this trip and I would definelty do it again.

Forrest said...

Wasn't sure what I should expect from this canoe trip, since the only whitewater experience I have had was whitewater rafting when I was 9.

This experience was completely different since it made you feel like *you* controlled the water (lots of fun!).

Our first time in the whitewater was nerve wracking but I was excited none the less! We almost capsized right of the bat, but we weren't discouraged (well maybe Marlee was a bit!). After getting a feel for the water and learning our maneuvers a bit more we felt ready to take on the bulk of the white water course, and boy was it fun!
On the last day we decided to go down the top of the course which was definitively the most challenging. We almost made it! (well I guess we did technically make it since we capsized after we got into the eddy)

I can't forget the food! Gotta love eating food while camping because for some reason it always taste better! It was even better how our group always seemed to be the first to eat! And how could I forget that delicious apple crisp! Probably the best thing I have ever eaten! (Compliments go to Myself, Brenna and Marlee)

This was probably one of my favorite trips that I have yet experienced, and now I can't wait to go white water canoeing again!