Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The River Runs Me Wild

In my quest to cross things off my list of Things to Do, I can now cross off "go white-water rafting", thanks to the past weekend.

It's actually pretty funny how I ended up going rafting. It wouldn't be something I would intentionally look up for the sake of doing it. I happen to find out about a student special an adventure resort near Ottawa was offering: all-inclusive weekend of rafting for the low price of $160! It included the gear, the training, all meals, a campsite and everything the resort had to offer in terms of activities. Sweet. And where did I find out about this? Of all things, Facebook. I guess that's one good thing I can find in Facebook---I can find out about such random shit I wouldn't normally have found out (which is also a bad thing).

On Friday evening, after a quick (not really) stop at Iljya's dad's house to update Iljya's GPS system, we finally jammed the lil' Mazda that would and set off on our 5.5 hour road trip. Lemme just tell you that going on a trip as long as that, in 30+ temperatures, in rush hour, packed in a car with 4 others can be quite trying. And I must say, the crabbyness did spill out on to the weekend. Oh, brother. Iljya vs. me, me vs. Alex, Alex vs. Mel, Mel vs. me and poor Kathy trying to be peacemaker the entire weekend. How did we all manage to come back in one piece?
^Alex ensures we don't leave the Sandwiches behind again
^Iljya uploading his GPS system to his car
^Trying to convince Iljya to leave his guitar behind. FAILED.
I have no idea what time we arrived, but we finally arrived. The place ended up being alot better than I had expected for the price we were paying. I guess I was expecting some shotty campsites beside a rapid-running river. That it was not. It was literally like a resort. It had so many facilities: basketball court, volleyball court, soccer court, jacuzzi, pool with volleyball net, bungee jumping crane, dock in the middle of the lake, paddle boats, pool tables, chess floor, checker tables...even a CLUB. A CLUB!! I dunno if it was because it was the student weekend or how it usually is, but the place was a party house when we got there. Loud music, beer galore, HOT GUYS EVERYWHERE, bikini-bearing ladies, etc. It was quite spectacular. It's too bad me and the rest of the clan were too tired to take it all in. We just set up tent and called it a night. Or, at least tried to. See, the campsite wasn't too far from the lodge where all the partying was going on, so trying to sleep was like trying to sleep in the middle of a herd of buffalo. That was a tough night. And you know what else made it tough? Not only was I going to be riding rapid waves that weekend, as I had feared all week, I soon realized I was going to be riding the crimson wave as well. Great. Just great.

The next morning, we were greeted with a nice surprise: the food didn't suck. In fact, it was great. I guess for what we were paying, we kinda expected shitty "camp" food, but no. For breakfast, we were offered tons and tons of fruit, eggs, bacon, scones, cereal... it was so awesome and delicious. I still can't get over how much food that was offered and why I didn't stuff a bushel of apples in the tent.

^Gay adventure resorts are fun
The entire weekend I was known as "Lillian Glen" because I guess the chick who took my reservation can't spell for beans, even though I did the "M for Mary" bit. Bah well. Lillian Glen's group went with Trip C, which started at 9:45 in the morning. After breakfast we were herded gathered into the auditorium where they briefed us on what to expect, what to bring, what not to bring and that the weekend was "awesome" rafting weather because of water levels and shit. I heard the word "awesome" alot, especially from the guides. They're like one of those surfer dudes. Y'know, those types that don't have "real jobs" and will not settle for anything less than EXTREME?

The resort is actually off a lake (the name of which I have no clue) and we were actually bussed for about 10-15 minutes to the Ottawa river. Trip C consisted of about 50 people, including us. That day we were going to take unguided tours (where we would get to be in our own rafts and follow the tour). When we got to the river, they made us all wear helmets and these huge life jackets (yay, crotch straps!). It was pretty funny watching all of us walk down to the river in yellow helmets, yellow life jackets and wielding yellow paddles. It was like watching a line of rubber duckies in a marching band.

^At the briefing
^Playing chess
^Come on the Magic School Bus!
^"Wessstssssiidddde...in Milton"

The rafting was fun. It was sorta like the canoeing we did last summer at Algonquin except when we hit rapids, we'd have to paddle harder and deeper. Biggest fear, of course, was falling off the raft into the rapids or worse, flipping the entire raft. Luckily it didn't happen to us that day (some people flipped over, and I think it might've put them off rafting for the next day). Along the route, they provided us with lunch, which again to our surprise, wasn't shitty at all. It was very, very good. They already had a cabin set up on an island with huge BBQ pits. We had some delicious grilled chicken sandwiches, sausages and assorted snacks and fruit. I still can't get over the quality of the food.

When we finished rafting for the day, they showed us the videos of us going through some of the hardest rapids. I must say, ours was quite boring because we made it through the rapids rather smoothly.

When we got back to the lodge, I chilled on the beach while everyone else enjoyed the jacuzzi and pool. We had a pretty delicious dinner of roasted chicken and a whole whack of other good stuff. Then came the dilemma of what to do after dinner. I'd rather not go into it, but there was a little bickering and...I was disappointed I didn't get to party. I did drink, which alone is a party in itself, but I kinda wished I ended up dancing, even if it was on my own. In any case, I couldn't really do it because the next day our rafting trip was to start at 7:00 am, which meant an early morning start for us. Fuckin' hell, it was the worst sleep. First of all, people were partying till 3 am and I heard every last ounce of it. It's really weird that I couldn't sleep through it because where I live, I'm down the street from the police and fire stations and 15 minutes from the international airport. I should've joined the party after all, because then at least I could've been tired enough to sleep through the music and noise. To top off my lack of sleep, I was a little hungover the next day. Yee haw.

Our second day of rafting consisted of a guided tour. This meant we were joined by a guide and another group, making it 12 people in one raft. Our guide's name was Luke, and although he reminded me of a young lumberjack because of his beard, he was still pretty cute and cool. He took us through some heavier rapids than the ones we had gone through the day before. And then there was "The Bus Eater", a notorious rapid which got its name because it [allegedly] can swallow an entire Greyhound bus. Everyone was to go through this rapid and before we did, we docked on an island first to check out what we were in for. We took our [possibly] final pictures together before we embarked on the vehicle-eating torrent. We were going to go first, but we ended up going second. The first group that went managed to get through The Bus Eater with ease, which was what I was hoping would be how we would end up. The pictures don't do the experience real justice, so be sure to check out the video.

^See that chick about to fly off? That's me. ^...and I got yanked back just in time
So how 'bout that, huh? Pretty exciting. I ended up losing my left water shoe to that stupid rapid and I was pretty annoyed by that. Oh well. I SURVIVED THE BUS EATER (but I want my shoe back)! I'm so glad I wore a wet suit, which took away the shock of the cold water. My hands were shaking after I was pulled from the water and I think the cold would've brought me down to my knees. Someone asked me if I would do it again and I gave a resounding, "NO!" but looking back on that experience, I might rethink it. It really wasn't that bad, an in fact, I'm kinda glad we fell off because now that I've done it, there's nothing left to fear. Water: 0, Me: 1

^We survived The Bus Eater

^Alex terrorizing a snake
^Watching the video of our trip
^Our final meal

It sucked that we had to drive back that day, after all the excitement. Everyone of us was exhausted, but it was a nice, long trip to sleep in (the fighting aside, right, guys?!). I guess we had a little more energy left and on the way home we were playing tag with some other car full of young people. Stupid, but fun. Perhaps it was from all the craziness of the weekend, somehow I had it in me to flash the other car! HAHA, it was pretty hilarious and I hope we never see them again. =_= Now I can cross off two things off my list of Things to Do.

The entire weekend was a really good experience, rafting aside. Even with all my bitchiness (which I blame 50% of on PMS!), I'm so grateful for friends who are able to put up with little indifferences and above all, me. I'm surprised by anyone who is able to put up with my stubbornness and bullshit (basically, me being me). And I thank all who had to put up with it all weekend, in the car, in the tent, in the raft. Congratulations, you've passed my test of true friendship.

More pictures can be found here.

1 comment:

kathy said...

There were some tense moments during that trip, lol.