Ottawa (Main Channel)
|Stretch:||Rocher Fendu to River Run Rafting|
|Difficulty:||Class III+ to IV|
|Flows:||Always runnable (we had -1 on the gauge which was low but great for Garborator). Check out Owl Rafting's Daily flow post and Boatworks Gauge flow info|
|Gradient:||19 fpm average (with long pools in the paddle in and out)|
|Put-in:||Access in Rocher Fendu near Sullivan Island|
|Take-out:||River Run Rafting company|
|Shuttle:||6.7 km (10 minutes one way)|
|Featured in A Wet State #119|
NY and Quebec 2016 2016: Day 4
After finally all being reunited on the Raquette, we began our drive north. We had planned to stay at our friend’s family business, Owl rafting. Upon arrival we found that there were no campers as it turns out the season was basically over. We had hoped to meet some kayakers to shuttle with the following day. Without that option, rather than checking in, we opted to head to the takeout which is up the road a mile or two to another rafting company, River Run, which also serves as take-out. Arriving there, we also found an empty field. A few guides were walking around so we asked them the details, they said they were closed and that no campers were likely coming… so rather than do a bike shuttle we offered one guide some money to drive our shuttle the next day, which he gladly agreed to.
The next morning the guide showed up perfectly on time and we set off to do our run. It was interesting, I have some big water experience, however Chad has very little and was obviously a little nervous. Always fun to see a friend who is perfectly solid be nervous because of no other reason that being out of their normal comfort zone. The first rapid I dropped into reading and running as I floated to it. I turn around at the bottom expecting to see them directly behind me only to find them both still at the top… waiting to see how successful I was.
As we paddled on, we were glad to get the beta from our guide shuttle driver that when we see a dam on the left, to turn right as we may have missed that move to stay in the Main Channel. Or at least for the short cut to the Main Channel. As we floated in we enjoyed the scenery across the lake, and before long found ourselves at the first rapid, Garburator. Even with creekboats, at -1 this wave was just fantastic. By far the best wave I have ever been on. Easy eddy service, easy to get on, and fast as all getup!
Downstream, the rapids continued. We made fairly quick progress through the run as most other playspots weren’t in and our creekboats were limiting our ability to play. Before long, we found ourselves at take-out, loaded our gear, enjoy a leisurely lunch, enjoyed the company of a squirrel who was very used to humans (full rested on my foot for a few moments), and then began our drive East towards Montreal and the Rouge River.
Disclaimer: There are so many different playspots that open up at different flows… there is no way I am going to know those after one unguided run. So… if you are an Ottawa veteran, please forgive me as I am sure you will hate this write-up. Also, flows vary by tens of thousands on this run. This was a -1m flow. Different flows have different features when you are talking about 10s of feet of water.
Next: NY and Quebec 2016: Day 5 - Rouge (Seven Sisters)
Last: NY and Quebec 2016: Day 3 - Raquette (Stone Valley)
Thanks to Chad Christopher for sharing some pictures from the trip!
- McCoy’s (III to IV). After the first lake paddle you get to one of the biggest rapids of the run, perhaps that is because it is the only rapid with all of the water (or nearly) flowing through it as this is before the channels break off. We boat scouted a clean line which was right of center around one hole working left of center around the other hole, the famed Phil’s hole. There are lines through the hole and some people also choose to surf it. Below it mellows until the right bend where the pace pics up again. We ran down the center and through wave wheels and kickflips in our creek boats off of the perfect green waves. I believe one of the waves here also has a name. Heck, everything does it seems.
- Turn right! You will see a dam on your left after a little flat water. This is your trigger to turn right in a small slot only a few feet wide and few feet deep. Take this around the island to the other side, it is the short cut and makes sure you take the main channel.
- Garborator (III). Keep paddling flat water until you get to the top of the most awesome wave (at -1m anyways). I didn’t realize it was first up, as I crest the horizon I realize what it is and holler to the guys behind me. The river funnels down to a fast green wave with a nice pile on top to keep the surfer in place. Plus, both sides of the wave have shoulders to make staying on easier… and throwing tricks easier as well of course. And to boot, the eddy service is perfect on river left. So so good. I understand surfing now. There was a small rapid in the runout that we ran far right on. At higher flow this is where Bus Eater and Mini Bus Eater show up. River right is the bigger of the two I believe.
- Pushbutton (II+). Just downstream the river spreads out. The far right channel has a nice small hole that is perfect for loops and beginners. If you choose the wrong channel, it is ok, they all recombine and you can ferry over to it.
- Butcher’s Knife (III). Around the next corner is a rapid that rafts fear a bit because of the sharp rock on the right shore. It is all blasted marble I believe. There was also a decent size hole in the middle. We opted for the deep and dirty through the hole, but you could also go around it to the left if you wanted.
- Normin Rapids (III-). A nice fluffy wave train, we ran down the center of it. I believe there is a nice surf wave in it at some flows.
- Coliseum (III-). Downstream you will see a nice deck stretching out over the river. That must be a cool place! The rapid at this flow was not too hard, we went down the far right but the far left was also deep and clean. There was an awesome catch on the fly hole in this one on the right too. At higher flows, this rapid has one of the famous waves of the run.
- Black’s (II+ to III-). The river splits around small rock islands. We went down the far right along the shore. It was a mellow wave train in some swirly water.
Take-out: From Ottawa, take ON-417 West out of town and follow for 67 km before merging with ON-17. Follow this for 23.5 km before turning right on County Rd 4. Follow this for 18 km before turning right on Kohlsmith Rd. somewhere around here you start to see the signs for the rafting companies. Follow this for 2.8 km at which time it turns into Grants Settlement Rd. Follow for another 6.3 km and then turn right at the entrance of River Run.
Put-in: Go back out to the road where you entered River Run, turn right. Continue for 6.9 km and turn right and you should see the river within a few hundred yards.
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