Monday, June 2, 2014

PAD4O Palmer Rapids Moving Water Introduction

The Grade 12's headed to Palmer Rapids at the end of May for their introduction to Moving Water Canoeing. The weather was great, the bugs were there and the water was very high. Perfect for a 3-day adventure.

Palmer Rapids is set up perfectly between two sets of rapids that allows the students to explore the new skills that they were being taught. It did require the students to push their limits and extend their boundaries, which from time to time required a little dump into the water. The first day the water was a bit chilly, but after the crazy thunderstorm of the first night, the water warmed up quite nicely. In the end, I think a majority of this crew preferred swimming down the rapid, rather than paddle it in their canoe.

The highlight of the trip was the food prepared by the students. The meals were excellent, especially the 'Monkey Balls' (you should look that one up on the recipe blog). The students created a very good menu plan and executed it very well.

There were a couple of partnerships that really went out to extend their paddling skills, while others preferred not to push it too far. A couple of the flips may have affected their confidence. That said, fun was had by all and it was a great way to spend 3 days on/in the water.


mackburnsie said...

Moving Water Reflection
Mackenzie Burns

What an unreal experience! Prior to the moving water trip I was quite nervous at the thought of canoeing through rapids after only being used to paddling on quiet water in the Ottawa River. The day we left for the trip I was extremely excited to leave for a couple days with a great group of people and gain new experiences together in our last few weeks of high school.

When we pulled up to camp and I saw the moving water that's when it really sunk in that I may not be a strong enough canoer for this trip, but I was excited to give it a shot. We got camp set up and we got ourselves suited up to head out on the water.

Well within about 15 minutes my boat was upside down and I was desperately trying to swim to shore. After laughing it off and getting ourselves back into action I became more comfortable with the different techniques. We practiced a few small rapids to start off and ended the day on some of the more difficult runs. What a blast! There's nothing like sitting in the bow and watching a huge wave crashing into your boat.

After we were finished on the water we were getting dinner ready and this is when the rain started. Due to lack of planning on tent groups and figuring out which tent would belong to us, we realized we chose a bad tent... We ended up with an inch of water in our tent. We were able to make it work so we would have a dry spot to sleep for two nights.

Over the three days of canoeing through the rapids I have to say my favourite runs were done with Mr. Brouwer because he pushed me past my comfort zone because he had the confidence that I could handle the tougher areas. Going through massive rapids and taking on water was so much fun! My shrieking at every wake may have been a tad startling to anyone observing, but it was shrieks of excitement! Going along with shrieks of excitement... Swimming through the rapids was also an extremely fun and exciting part of our trip. Although the thought of swimming through these rapids was a tad terrifying, after you went once, you wanted to keep going! The water was quite cold, but once you'd flipped your canoe a couple times and got used to the water, it really wasn't bad at all. The rockin' wetsuits also helped keep us somewhat warm in the cold water. The time spent in the water whether it be in a boat or swimming was so much fun.

The meals over our three days were fantastic. We had enough food for everyone and everyone pitched in to make great meals and desserts. We were missing minor things like ketchup and more chocolate but we survived.

Overall this trip was so much fun! I am so glad I am able to say I went white water canoeing with such a fun group of people. The only thing I could have done without were the massive thunder storms at night, but they just added to the whole experience. I am so grateful to have been offered such an unreal program in my senior year at Cairine Wilson.

Shout out to Brouwer for putting up with our rowdy bunch this semester!

HannahW said...

Moving Water Reflection

This trip was pretty awesome. Despite having some thunderstorms that made it hard to sleep, some tent problems that also made it hard to sleep, and more than a little bit of nervousness, I still had a great time at Palmer Rapids.

The area we were in was absolutely beautiful, and canoeing the rapids was definitely unlike anything I've ever done before. Mr. Brouwer showed us how to properly scout a rapid before you go down it, a fact that definitely helped make me less nervous than I would have been going in blind. We learned the proper swimming form so that if (when) we flipped, we wouldn't get hurt, and we also learned the low brace, a stroke that can keep your canoe from flipping even when its already tilted.

When we got on the water the first day I was really nervous, but it got better and better as the day went on. By the second day I was a lot more excited to go on the water, but that changed a bit when my partner and I flipped. It was a shock to suddenly be in the water, and when I ended up coming up under the canoe, I got really nervous to go back in the rapids. A couple times during the trip, I canoed the rapids with Mr. Brouwer. It was very reassuring because Mr. Brouwer has had way more experience than anyone else on the trip.

When we weren't on the water, we spent a lot of time around the campfire, whether cooking, chatting, or playing some card games. The menu plan for the trip was really great, despite forgetting a few minor ingredients. I think my favorite meals were definitely the breakfasts, YUM!

Overall, the trip was a lot of fun, and there weren't really any problems that we couldn't solve.

Ben said...

This trip was a great learning experience that I’m glad to have done. The trip started out pretty well, as we did all of our shopping the day before and I got my packing done the day before as well. The only thing I would change is that we should have been more prepared prior to going shopping, as we were a bit scrambled to make sure we had everything. The list we made wasn’t too good and could have been improved (adding quantities, we missed a few things, etc.)
I was excited to day the trip started to get out on the water during the day, and sit around the fire at night. Unfortunately, my first day on the water didn’t go to well since Sam and I flipped twice and the shock of the water combined with my legs getting stuck in the canoe made me afraid of flipping again, so I lost my confidence and didn’t really want to get back in the rapids. My ankles were really hurting after the first day of canoeing, and I later learned that Sam and I had the smallest canoe so that was why. Next time, I’m definitely not going to use a canoe quite that small. Once we stated using a larger canoe, my ankles didn’t hurt quite as much and I could actually enjoy being in the canoe. The dinner on the first night, as well as all the other meals were well prepared as a group as most people pitched in and did something, be it preparing food, cooking food or cleaning dishes. Overall, all the meals tasted good and we had enough food to go around, despite our initial fears.
The second day I started with little confidence still, but after being convinced to run the bottom rapid with Sam I gained some more confidence. After a few more runs, I felt comfortable in the boat again and combined with the great weather we had that day caused me to be happy with the canoeing that day, despite us flipping once. I think that since the canoe was bigger, my legs didn’t get stuck this time. Sam and I even ran the harder part of the bottom rapid that day. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner that day were very good and provided us with good energy for the day. However, I think we should have brought more healthy snacks to eat while we were waiting for meals, and to have around the campfire at night.
The third day was a short paddling day, but Sam and I accomplished a big thing. We got the confidence to try the top rapid and I’m glad we did, as it was a fun ride. After the paddling, we were able to pack up quickly enough in time to wait for the late bus. Overall, the trip was a great personal learning experience, as I had to overcome my fears of tipping in order to go down the top and bottom rapids.

sam rees said...

I have been taking outdoor ed right since it was first offered and I have to say this was the most intense, and exhilarating trip out of them all. I don’t think I will every have another opportunity to go on a trip like that again which is why it will always be a fond memory for me. Despite the freezing cold water and the constant feeling of water squishing in your shoes it was unreal. We only stayed at one campsite during the time there which was a little different than every other trip we have gone to but I wasn’t complaining. After the first day of paddling my arms were like jello from paddling against the current. That had no impact on me or any of the other campers however, Brouwer Power went out after everyday from paddling. ALONE.. and kayaked. I am still asking myself how, but I have come to terms with the fact that he is unstoppable.. I hope you read this and get a laugh out of it sir. Anyway Ben and I were canoe partners and on the first day we were one of the unfortunate canoes to flip. As soon as I was under I got a shock of freezing water and completely winded me. After he first dump the water got a little bit warmer. Once we got a feel for how cold the after was we decided to jump off of a rock and swim down the rapid which in my opinion, was the most fun of the trip. While I was busy shivering in my wet suit we had a nice fire going and good food on the way. The weather was calling for torrential rain so we got our tarps and set them up over the fair and sitting area before it came. Within an hour the rain had come and it kept us up for quite a while. Finally the next day came and we had another full day of bombing the rapids and swimming. The day we left everyone was so fatigued they passed out on the bus ride home.. except for me.

All in all it was an unreal trip and It will never be forgotten. I give this trip a solid **** because of the great food we managed to make out there and the fact that it was hands down the best trip of all the ones I’ve been on.

PHILosopher said...

Moving Water Refection
Phil Leuenberger

This is a perfect example of a trip that ended too soon. The cold water was not too much of an issue for most on the trip (the wetsuits probably helped with that). The weather was wet and rainy, but it only rained when we weren't on the water. This left us with some nice, sunny paddling through crazy rapids.
During the pre-trip briefing, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who didn't know entirely what to expect, and I definitely was not the most nervous. However, the high water gave a huge confidence boost, as the likeliness of hitting the ground was minimal. Once we actually started paddling, the butterflies flew away and I was ready to take on whatever the river threw at us.
This trip was also an amazing learning experience. Practicing the strokes in class doesn't compare to actually having to pry/draw/tilt when actually entering a current. It was definitely useful to have a basic knowledge, but personally, most of my learning took place in the rapids. It's absolutely amazing how much of a difference the smallest detail could have. Tilting too far or not far enough, not giving a strong enough forward stroke, and prying a little too early are all examples of small details that can completely change the outcome. This is something that can only really be learned in the rapids.
The trip was also amazing at an interpersonal level. It was a really great chance to develop closer friendships with people I don't see often. Even though some of the teamwork was amazing, there were definitely a few communication glitches. Being put into a situation where the smallest mistake makes the difference between life and being very cold and wet can really push someone to learn what kind of decisions their partner makes.
On the campsite, our organizational skills were also put to the test. This trip was different from the others in that Mr. Brouwer didn't help too much with the planning, and left it to us. Of course, leaving the decision of "who is doing what" to the students meant that some people did not work much at all. A huge chunk of the work was done by the same people most of the time, and that was fairly disappointing seeing as the work could have been done much faster if everyone had pitched in.
Overall, this trip was amazing. We survived rapids, chilly water, and an attack by probably the largest amount of mosquitoes any of us will probably ever see, and still had a good time. The crew was disheartened a few times, but it wasn't anything pizza or a few monkey balls couldn't cure. I am very happy that I got to ride the upper rapids, and I feel bad for those who didn't.

Thank you, Mr. Brouwer. This was an excellent way to finish out my last year of outdoor ed.

Thomas Hubert said...

The palmer rapids white water canoeing trip has always been regarded as the final canoe trip of outdoor ed, after the grade 10 hiking trip to Frontenac park and the grade 11 trip to Algonquin park. In the past, I remember being intimidated by the mere notion of canoeing in rapids, but after experiencing it first hand, I can honestly say that it was one of the best canoeing trips that any outdoor ed student will have the opportunity to experience.

The first day of the trip we arrived to the campsite around noon, and we got to setting up camp right away. The first thing I remember going wrong was when we were setting up our tent. The poles that were in the tent bag were not the right ones for the tent, which was apparently caused by the previous trip when they weren't packed properly. We had to put away the tent and get a new one, but thankfully the second one had all the right parts with it.

We did some basic white water training the first day, and some people flipped doing this. I was nervous to begin, but as I learned I gained confidence and didn't flip the first day.

The second day we woke up around 8:00am and after a good breakfast, we hit the water and warmed up with some eddy turns, s-turns and c-turns. We eventually reached the lower rapids and Mr Brouwer taught us about the WORMS technique in scoping out a rapid. We decided the safest path and a short while later we hit the rapids. I was in the second wave of canoes to go down, and as we hit the crashing waves, I began to realize how much fun white water canoeing was. We ran the rapids 2 or 3 times, and it was the most fun thing! When we got back to the top we hopped in the upper rapids, which was freezing cold, and swam to the shore. Mr Brouwer then offered for us to run the upper rapids in our canoes, which is much more intense than the lower rapids. I wanted to go, so we headed up the hill, and after Mr Brouwer went down and gave us the signal to go, we ran the rapid. It was way more intense than the first one, and when we got to the bottom we were amazed! We went back to camp after that and had our dinner, then after talking and having some laughs we headed to sleep.

The last day many people were not very enthusiastic about going back on the rapids, but I was looking forward to it once I had my wetsuit on. We ran the lower rapids 3 or 4 times, and then the upper ones twice. It was awesome how much we improved in those three days, and when we got to camp to pack up, I was sad that that was the last canoeing trip I would go on in outdoor ed.

Overall, this trip was a huge success, the canoeing was a blast, the meals were great, and the memories will last forever. This trip was a great way to end my last year of high school, and I think that it will be the same amazing experience for the classes in the years to come.

MattL12 said...

The Palmer rapids canoe trip was the final outdoor ed trip that is going to finish off high school. Other than the bugs it was a very fun trip. Day 1 we drove up in the bus and it was about a 3 hour or so ride up, as soon as we got there we set everything up and checked out to waters. Then got in our gear and went on the water. Day 2 woke up bring and early had breakfast and went out on the water, Russell took our first spill that day and that was a big shock I wasn't expecting the water to be that cold because I was touching with my hand but it is way different going on full body. Russel and I only flipped once the entire trip! Later that day Mr Brouwer, got everyone to swim the rapids which I got to say was my favourite part of the trip and I'm pretty sure Sam Russell and I went in about 8 more times before we left! The food was good the people we're good the sleeps we're the best because of the thunder and lighting but we got through it! Over all it was a fun experience and I hoped to go back someday to go winter water canoeing again!