White water rafting on the Ottawa river with 10 friends for my 20th birthday? Clearly, birthday parties only get better with age.
Back in March, I was at the Toronto Sportsman Show and came across a booth for white water rafting which is something I’ve always wanted to do. My dad went to the same place when he was younger and always told me it was something I had to do with a bunch of friends. The opportunity finally presented itself, and I couldn’t turn it down. To make it even better, they were promoting rafting for my birthday weekend; it was the icing on the cake! I signed up at the show and went home to start organizing what would be an amazing weekend.
Our trip was for 3 days, 2 nights. Arrive on Friday afternoon, spend Saturday and Sunday rafting on the river and spend each night recovering from the exhaustion of paddling. On Saturday, we were to be in one big 12-person raft with a guide, and on Sunday were to go in smaller 6-man GYOR boats (in case you’re not up to date on your rafting lingo that means guide your own raft)
Now you may be asking which raft was better? Big raft or small raft? There is no winner, they are both awesome rafts and I’d do either one again.
Now the 1200+km river we were on has some of the best rafting in the country, if not the world. Each day we went on different rapids, and different sections of the river depending and what each boat could handle and current water conditions. Just to add some context on what we were up against, rapids are categorized into 5 classes with class 5 rapids being the hardest and class 1 rapids being the easiest. We were going up against class 4 rapids at some points on the river. It was intense water conditions.
With those intense water conditions, came the wipeouts. We all fell.
We spent over 4 hours on the river, going through rapids, paddling across smooth sections, and jumping off the rafts and swimming when we needed to cool off. The best part… other than the Rapids, of course, was that the section of the river we were on was completely natural. There were no manmade structures to be seen; it was just the river and us. It was nice to be out and see the pristine wilderness. Although, when lunchtime came around we saw a small wooden cabin, it looked like it belonged there, nestled between the trees. Having a BBQ lunch on the riverbank was definitely a high point of the day.
Like all things, the rafting had to end. We hauled out the boats and headed back to the resort.
Just because the rafting had to end, didn’t mean that the fun had to. While back at the resort, there were unlimited options and I chose to go bungee jumping, but I’ll save that story for another time. I’ll just leave you these three photos of me waving at a wave. Enjoy.