Monday, May 20, 2013

PAD4O Palmer Rapids Moving Water

The Grade 12's headed to Palmer Rapids for a moving water clinic. A week before we were worried that water levels would be too high and unsafe, but the water dropped enough to provide for a great week. Palmer Rapids were at a great spring level, quite high, which made for large waves that were just fun to paddle through.

You could tell with this group that they were very confident with their paddling strokes, as we headed into the current quite quickly. Almost no one held back and just went for it, which did mean we had a few partnerships that went for a swim on this first day. The water was quite fast and this meant mistakes were punished. The wind on the first day made it a bit chilly, but nothing a nice campfire and some good food can't fix. The evening was topped off with brownies out of the Dutch Oven and ice cream.

Tuesday was the perfect day. The sun was out and the temperatures were warmer, perfect to challenge ourselves. After a quick warm up, we started to work the lower set. A good solid scout showed us the best line and that is exactly what we ran as a group. We ran this a few times and as the confidence grew, so came the desire to be more adventurous. The rapid came with some big waves and one big hole at the bottom. Nothing to worry about, as the water was deep and ended in a lake, but the chance of going for a swim was high. This was part of the fun, as boats swamped and tipped.

We continued the afternoon with much of the same and a few boats attempting the top set. The top set was a pretty straight forward run, it just had two big waves that liked to kick the boat. Again, there were a few swimmers down this stretch, but all in good fun.

On the final day, we decided to do it all, with a few runs down at the bottom and a run from the top. Although there were a few that choose to take the easy lines, most challenged themselves to the big waves. Good fun, even when you dump.


Jacob said...

When we arrived at Palmer Rapids, the first thing we did was walk over to the river and look at the water and the rapids up by our campsite. The water was fast, it looked cold, and it looked like it would be fun. When we got on the water, we learned about eddy lines, C-turns, S-turns, and back ferries. We also learned about low braces, and the importance of tilting. We learned quickly that tilting was a whole lot more important on the rapids that it was on the Ottawa river, as we all dumped at least once (except for one canoe). The first swim was definitely a shock, because that water was cold! But that was what the wetsuits were for, and the only issue we had after falling in was getting out. Thankfully, the bank wasn’t too far, and it was possible to swim over. After that, we climbed right back in and went at it again, improving our techniques and teamwork. After the canoeing, we all settled down if front of the campfire to warm up, dry off, and cook dinner. Dinner for my group was a delicious rice and chicken dish, and everyone had brownies and ice cream for dessert. After that, we all hung around the campfire for a few more hours, occasionally moving to avoid the smoke from the fire.

On the morning of the second day, I made cinnamon rolls in the Dutch Oven for breakfast, as well as for my Dutch Oven assignment. They were tasty and filled with raisins and chocolate chips, as well as a few camp spices that had sneaked in. After everyone had had breakfast and changed into their wetsuits, we headed down to the lower set of rapids to scout it out. Then, we all followed Mr. Brouwer down the rapids, ducky style. The run seemed to be fast, wet, and less than a minute long, but that was not the case. Each time we went down those rapids, it took at least a minute or more. Time flies when you’re having fun! Eventually, we were able to go down the rapids on our own, and to pick out own route. On one of the last runs of the day, a large group started heading down the rapids before us. They were not very skilled, and only a few canoes reached the bottom upright. Then it was our turn. My canoe also dumped, but that was because I unintentionally steered us right into the large waves that filled the pace where the river turned a corner. When I realized my mistake, I made another one. I tried to turn us out of that section, but we got swamped by a large wave, and went over. I quickly got into the whitewater swimming position, but I was facing the wrong way. I thought that I was facing downstream, but was turned in the right direction when I slammed into a rock with my arms and back. Eventually, we all got back into our canoes, found all the paddles, and made it back to shore. Luckily, I only scraped my elbow when I hit the rock, and somehow avoided going through the hole. After another couple runs, we called it a day. Dinner this time was pot roast, and man was it good.

On the final day of our trip, we made a few more runs down the main rapids. As our final run, myself and Keegan decided to run the rapids that were up by our campsite. We had a good head of stream as we headed down the tongue and straight for the first wave, but that didn’t help when we started to go over. When we managed to pull ourselves out, we dried off, changed, and started to pack up. This trip was undoubtedly the best outdoor ed trip ever. The weather was perfect, the food was great, and we didn’t need to pack up every morning. But above all, we got to canoe down wavy, frothing water at speed, and get pushed, lifted and tipped by the sheer power of the water. What more do you want from a trip?

Ryder said...

Palmer Rapids White Water Canoe Trip

The beginning of this semester was a very mind boggling time for me, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next year and if I had all the prerequisites. Outdoor Ed was not my original period 3 filler but when I decided to drop accounting, thinking about this trip was the turning point for me taking this over a spare. Ever since taking Outdoor Ed in grade 10 and hearing that the grade 12 trip was white water canoeing, I've always wanted to do this trip.

This trip was nothing like any of the other trips I've been on with Brow-Pow. The amount of luxuries we were allowed due to the car camping vs regular camping astonished me. When i came to school fully prepared on Monday morning, my load was bigger than normal. I brought a nice big sleeping bag, a regular bed pillow, a cooler, food items I wouldn't have been able to bring and many more things. This was also a great chance to do the Dutch oven assignment seeing as how we were able to bring the Dutch ovens without caring for their bulk, or weight. So on top of our already beautiful menu which includes various delicacies, Devon and i decided to do a beef roast on the second night for our Dutch oven assignment, we starting cooking it at the end of lunch that day and when we came back from being on the water about 2.5/3 hours later, it was perfectly cooked and it smelled/tasted delicious. Enough with food.

There were pros and cons to it being the spring vs the fall. The spring brought no flies because of the cooler weather, but it brought very high, and cold water. Brow-Pow said the water levels were the highest he's ever seen. On the first day, after all the set up and getting the wet suits on, we headed into the icy water. MITH is something I expect to never forget seeing as how that's all we did on the first day and seeing as how it took us quite a while to master, with 4 chilly failures. The current and precision needed was something that the ottawa river just really didn't prepare us for. It was a strange feeling at first trying to do c, and s turns through relatively strong currents. I should also mention I have never done anything white water before. The second day brought longer and more fun rapids, but with a price. There were more obstacles that needed to be avoided, more places to go wrong, and for some parts, bigger rapids. Eddies I find to be super interesting and so I enjoyed doing the odd run where Eddie turns were incorporated. Also holes proved to be vicious little creatures when mixed with a canoe of divided wishes and a stubborn bow member. The 2 tips day number 2 presented itself with we're both caused by Devon's adrenaline junkie personality. Those 2 runs I told him I didn't want to hit the huge hole at the bottom but apparently he ignored me because when we got down to the hole at the bottom, instead of paddling hard after I angled us away, he decided to do various corrections strokes which ended up pulling us into the hole sideways and either getting swamped and tipping, or just tipping right as the wave hits us from the side. Like Brouwer said, "everything in a marriage really shines through once you're in a canoe." Day 3 brought gloomy weather but more fun rapids! We hit the bottom, longer rapid a couple more times and then as a grand finally, most of us hit the top small rapid. This rapid required little technique or skill, as long as you hit it straight on and paddles hard, you would do fine over the 2 giant waves. We did an amazing effort and made it over the 2 waves, but ended up getting so swamped, that tipping was inevitable when we were still up, but the canoe was completely under water.

All in all the weather couldn't have been better, the food was amazing, the people provided great memories, the lessons provided learning experiences that will be remembered forever, and the trip was everything my grade 10 self was expecting! Such an treasurable 3 days!