Written by Andrew Wylie
In July 2007 I booked a ticket to Canada to paddle the Ottawa River, after I had booked it I realised I had no way of getting to the river. I started posting on a local Ottawa forum called boatwerks, with in a few hours people were responding saying they might be interested in helping me out. A few days later and I had an email form a guy called john, who said he would give me a ride. So armed with the name john and an address I headed out there a week after making contact with this guy. When I landed I called him to check he was in, but his flat mate answered saying john was in hospital after dislocating his shoulder running dragon’s tongue. So I turned up at this guys house and met his flat mate, who welcomed me in to his home supplied me with beer and got me in contact with john, who was high on morphine at the time, but I was able to find out that he would pick me up in the morning and we would head to River Run.
The morning came and John turned up we loaded my boat on to his car and drove to the Ottawa. When we arrived I was introduced to every one who worked their as it turned out he was a video kayaker their. After a heavy night I was woken up at 7 am and told to jump on the put in truck and a guy called Andy would show me down the river while videoing the rafts. I had a fantastic first day and it was still high water so the river was huge to me but I made it down ok. Later that night Luke the manager of river run approached me and asked how long I was staying and if I wanted a job, obviously I said yes and I started working as a video and safety kayaker.
While there I got the chance to do some real cool things, I paddled the Ottawa River every day and was paid in boat form and cash and picked up a fluid nemesis about a month in to my stay. I took a trip to Montréal to paddle la sheen. I ran the seven sisters which are 7 waterfalls in a row but with pretty low consequences and only around 25ft high.
The highlight of my trip by far was running a 1 km section of grade 5/ 4 creek called the dumoin in Quebec. We started out from river run at 7 am, picked up a few creek boats and headed off to the river that we were told it was at a grate level. We drove for about an hour, then the road we were on turned in to a dirt track and was a busy logging road, we sketchily creped along it for another hour and arrived at the start of the creek, it looked huge and scary to me but we kited up and started to scout the river, after picking our lines and setting up safety. Stefan ran it first, I was up third and began my run, it was fantastic, and it took us a while to make it down, but was grate fun and a grate sense of achievement.
My whole stay in Canada was amazing I learned so much and made some really good friends. Oh and there was always a party.