Full moon rafting, definitely a bucket list item!

Published on August 2 2016

Last July 16, I tried something truly extraordinary: I went full moon rafting. That’s right: whitewater rafting at night, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. I can sense your anxiety at the thought of falling overboard and being swept away in the darkness, but never fear: full moon rafting, offered exclusively in Canada by Horizon X in the Outaouais, is completely safe.

Let me tell you all about my adventure in the Pontiac!

But before I go on, I encourage you to reserve your spot for an upcoming full moon rafting trip. The next full moon is on August 18, and trips run up to 5 days before or after, based on availability.

Our original reservation was for Friday night, but because of poor weather it was postponed until Saturday, and in the end that worked out better. The sky was clear and cloudless, the moon shone bright, visibility was great, the river was like a mirror, the trees along the shore were reflected in the water—it was amazing! The Ottawa River was warm, even warmer than the air (it was about 14 degrees out, even though the high that afternoon had been 30), so a little mist hung over the water. It was really beautiful.

Ready or not, here we go!

8:30 p.m.: We arrived at Horizon X, totally pumped at the prospect of going night rafting. I was accompanied by my best friend, who’d never been rafting (and who, truth be told, was just slightly apprehensive) and our partners.

Another reason we were excited: we were going to spend the night in tents suspended between the trees. Yes, you read that right: check out the photos below!

Each tent is attached to three large trees and hangs about 1.5 metres above the ground. To get in, you need a little boost (or you can stand on the picnic table, as Jessica and James did!). The tents are surprisingly comfortable, and we all slept very well.


9 p.m.: We trooped up to the main lodge to receive our instructions for the evening. That’s when we learned we’d have to wear wetsuits, because it was going to get cold that night. We struggled into the suits, which were still damp and so quite challenging to pull all the way up; then we hauled on our vests, which were equally snug. At this point we were feeling a tad resentful about having to wear all this gear, but we were very grateful for it later on!

9:40 p.m.: Everyone boarded the bus, and off we went! At the starting point of our river descent, we were each given a helmet (they make for such great photos!), a life jacket, and most important, a glow stick attached to the top of our helmet. Once our guides were confident that all our equipment was “nice and tight,” as they kept repeating, we ventured into the water.

Water, water everywhere

We were on the river from 10 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. We shot 6 rapids, and played around in each one for awhile; and we stopped three times along the way to take some amazing photos.

At the first and second set of rapids, after we’d traversed them we went back and spent a few minutes surfing them. Wow! I’d never done that before. According to Martin, our guide, who is also the owner of the company, “it’s all about finding the crack.” Once you’ve found it, you can stay there as long as you like. Meanwhile, the raft fills up with water and the two people in front get pummelled by lots and lots and lots of waves—as you can see in the photos!


Near the end of our excursion, we stopped at a waterfall to take a few pictures. That’s when we realized just how warm the water was!

Bonfire and beer


Before we knew it, it was 2 a.m. and time to get back on the bus. That’s when the real party started! The guides handed out the beer and cranked up the music. It was quite the songfest on the big yellow bus!

Back at base camp, we rounded out the evening with a bonfire, more beer, chips and roasted marshmallows. Who could ask for more?

Whether or not you’ve ever been rafting, you absolutely have to try the full moon version!

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