Tackling the rapids with Rafting Momentum!
Did you know that the Ottawa River is world famous for its rapids? I still can’t figure out why I waited so long to go rafting there! With help from Marie and Lisa Marie from Nomad Junkies, I remedy this unfortunate situation and venture out to conquer the impressive rapids of the Ottawa River with the Rafting Momentum team!
A safe rafting experience
As we arrive at the Rafting Momentum site, Philippe, the owner, welcomes us with a big smile! So that we can enjoy as much time on the river as possible, he immediately explains the safety instructions and has us fill out the participation forms. I laugh when I read the question: “Who’s the crazy person among you who decided to organize this activity?” All signs point to me.
After filling out the forms, we grab our life jackets, helmets and wetsuits and head to the bus to begin the adventure. Fifteen minutes later, the bus stops and we listen to the safety instructions one last time on shore. We put our raft in the water and off we go!
Welcome to white water!
With a few powerful paddle strokes, we pull away from shore to start our Adventure experience—this package offers maximum thrills and world-class rapids! After a few minutes of paddling and chatting, we see (and hear!) our first Class 4 rapid, which promises to rock the raft with a pretty spectacular wave.
Before we go on, let me give you a little introductory lesson on classifying rapids! Rapids are rated on an international scale ranging from 1 to 6. Class 1: you can run this rapid with your eyes closed and without any manoeuvres. Class 6: it’s generally impassable and very dangerous to negotiate. The Ottawa River has Class 3 to 5 rapids at all times!
Back to our Class 4 rapid! You will now understand that this is an intense rapid with strong waves and eddies requiring precise manoeuvres, which also means that the risk of tipping is fairly high. It’s at this point that we hear Lisa Marie exclaim, “What do we do if we fall out?” We turn to our guide, Philippe, who’s in the stern, and he says with a laugh, “You hang onto your paddle and open your eyes before you take a breath to make sure your head is above water!” Philippe adds, “This is where you can really have fun and get comfortable.” He explains that we’ll be safe if we fall in, as the water becomes calm downstream of the wave, with no rocks or dangerous currents.
Now one metre from the wave, we surge forward to try to surf it! We paddle at full speed to try and position ourselves correctly, but the right side of the raft flips up as we catch the wave and … SPLASH! One Marie overboard! Fortunately, the Ottawa River is known for its warm water, and we have wetsuits as a bonus. Pumped on adrenalin, Marie climbs back into the raft and we continue our morning. After a portage and a few Class 3 rapids, we take a break for a lunch of raw vegetables, fresh fruit and nuts, to boost our energy for the afternoon, which promises to be exhilarating!
The adventure continues!
The second half of the day is just as intense. This time, we run several rapids in succession. Normand, the Butcher’s Knife, the Coliseum and the other rapids offer a wide variety and give us plenty of thrills.
In the middle of the course, we see an imposing rock about 7 metres high that stands on the riverbank and from which brave souls can jump into the river. You can guess that I didn’t need any arm-twisting to make the jump! When it comes to adrenalin, go big or go home!
With the day’s rafting almost over, I take advantage of a calmer stretch of the Ottawa River to slip into the water and let the current carry me. A sense of relaxation that’s simply indescribable.
A trip that really takes you away from it all
After this thrill-packed day, the fun isn’t over! When we get back to firm ground, we’re greeted by a Rafting Momentum staffer bearing a cooler full of refreshments … yes, including beer! Back on the bus, music plays over the loudspeakers as we enjoy our beverages. The atmosphere is truly festive!
On the bus, I suddenly realize something: it’s been a long time since I felt like this. Only an hour away from home, I feel as if I’ve travelled miles and miles to another continent. The secret recipe: employees and tourists with different backgrounds who have only one goal in mind: socializing and living in the moment!
Back at the Rafting Momentum site, the open-air reception barn reminds me of a youth hostel, similar to the many hostels I’ve stayed in during my international travels. A main bar that doubles as a reception area, a service area with a barbecue, plenty of picnic tables, hammocks all over the place, a mezzanine with dart boards and other entertainment, and a campfire outside the barn.
For the best experience, I recommend that you not only go rafting, but also stay overnight at the site. There are plenty of campsites available, and they’re included free with your rafting package. You just have to bring your tent! In fact, I really think it’s part of the experience.
For less basic accommodation, rustic cabins with bunk beds are available and can accommodate groups of up to 8 people. Two chalets are also available year-round and can sleep up to four people each. In fact, Chalet #1 features a most surprising hammock on the second floor! I could tell you more about it, but I truly believe you have to see it for yourself.
So, what are you waiting for to have this amazing experience? You can go rafting until the end of October, so there’s still time to experience this adventure yourself. Whether it’s with family or friends, Rafting Momentum will definitely take you on a trip out of your comfort zone!