.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Owl Rafting Training Camp
By:  Justin Demers   (2007/06/10)


My name may not ring a bell to most of the regular readers out there and that's because I'm one of the recruits. That's right I'm currently at the bottom of the food chain even though I've been skiing the Gatineau trails for a few years now.

This past week-end was our first team training camp which was held at Owl Rafting on the Ottawa River. It was my first visit up there and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the overall atmosphere and condition of the camp. Friday night started with Owl's opening diner where all the staff and their families are invited to a supper outlining the official start of the rafting season. After having spent two whole summers on a cadet camp at Valcartier Quebec (north of Quebec City), I have to admit that my expectations for cafeteria food were fairly low. It turns out the supper was as good as the best barbecues I've attended. As time to retire for the night came around it became obvious that the quick rainstorm had effectively compromised the hopes for a calm dry night.

The following morning our first workout was scheduled to start around . We found a long gradual uphill for long zone 3 intervals. About half the team did the planned three and the other half opted for an extra repetition. Once back to Owl Rafting priorities included a quick swim, a good dinner and finally a long afternoon rest. In late afternoon, we all went for a run and came back to do some strength and balance exercises.  Supper was next and as pointed out by Megan, it is wonderful to come back from a good workout with great food waiting to be eaten. Just in case it wasn't obvious enough yet, the kitchen staff really know how to please the clients and well themselves too I suppose (at least until the high season comes around where they start the staff kitchen). After supper most of us simply hung out in the main dining area where a band had come to perform.

I went to bed early as the Sunday was promising to be quite challenging. After breakfast we rollerskied for about an up to the second raft put in. From there we paddled downriver for between and 3 hours. Every team of two in a sportyak ended up flipping at some point in the high water levels of the Ottawa River. The weather was great and to cap off the day we ran from the last rapids to camp which took about an . Once again, food at Owl Rafting was ready and tasty and the rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and packing up.

Many thanks to the owners of Owl Rafting, Claudia and Dirk Van Wijk and the great staff at Owl for hosting this memorable training camp.

Here are some pictures, we'll post more soon!

Andrew and Ed looking serious. . .

Kieran Jones joins us for the day, and partners with Justin for rollerski-sportyak-run session.

After a great trail run, headed to the beach to cool off.

Interesting Reading. . .
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