Adrenaline junkie; I guess this is how my mid-life crisis is being defined. In my 45th year I’ve taken a hot air balloon ride, got up close and personal with gators, ziplined over them, been dropped 325 feet out of the sky, jet-boated to the edge of class 5 rapids and learned how to ski. It would seem I keep checking in to ensure I have a pulse. This must explain then why I booked my husband’s family reunion in at Wilderness Tours for a little white water rafting on The Ottawa River.
Apparently, it’s not enough to get my own heart-racing, I now need to bring others with me on my thrill-seeking mission.
To be fair, Wilderness Tours has been running daredevils down The Ottawa River for 39 years now, all while maintaining a stellar safety record. So even though it *might* feel like your heart will stop while racing down rapids, rest assured, you’re going to make it.
On our first day we took out sixteen family members for the Gentle Family Raft trip. We ranged in age from 7 to 60. Everyone from the risk-takers to the overly-cautious had a great day, although there was some heated debate at the end as to how this will break down next year. I suspect the chickens, er, I mean cautious might not join us on the flip trip.
The second day our numbers were cut to seven for the High Adventure Raft trip and my breathing was a little shallower that morning. For the first time in my life I fully understood the expression “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. I was terrified of falling out of the boat. “Must.Stay.In.Boat”, was on a constant loop in my head. And then suddenly I wasn’t.
We hit a wall of water in McCoy’s Chute, our first rapid of the day, and my body was tossed like it was made of air into the river. Instantly the fear was gone and I swear I did a little fist pump as I was pushed down stream. I was giddy. When all was said and done, we lost 5 out of the 9 in our boat, including our amazing guide Steph when my brother-in-law took her out.
As an aside, if you’re looking for role models for your girls, make sure you introduce them to the female guides at Wilderness Tours. I currently have two little girls who want to be Kira or Steph when they grow up. Hell, I want to be Kira or Steph when I grow up.
But I digress. Where was I? Oh right, my mid-life crisis. Did I mention it rocks? I mean why should young kids have all the fun?
If you’re looking to shake things up a bit, then you really should book your family in for some white water rafting at Wilderness Tours on The Ottawa River. It’s devoid of cute stuffies and roaming characters (imagine), it’s located on some of the most pristine land Canada has to offer (much to the dedication of owner Joe Kowalski) and it offers, in my humble opinion, some of the best value for your family vacation dollar. For 18 people we paid roughly $166 pp for two days of rafting and that included all of our food and great nightly entertainment at Rafters. NOTE: It can get a little raunchy for the younger crowd in the evening, so if you’re easily offended now is the time to head down to the campfire for marshmallows and a sing song. And remember, you were young once too. And if you’re young at heart, then by all means stick around.
I don’t want to get too philosophical on you but conquering fear is one of life’s greatest feats. Being able to tackle fears physically through adventure sports, sets you up for success when you’re tackling fears in the real world. Forget New York, if you can make it here my friend, you can make it anywhere. By the end of our second day, I crawled into bed, my body knackered and my brain drained, but my spirit was higher than a kite. Looks like I still have a pulse. See you next year Wilderness Tours for Reunion 2015.
Post Script: We couldn’t stay away and returned two weeks later to take advantage of the Raft & Rod as a family of four. Our oldest is planning on attending Kayak Camp next summer and we can’t wait to return for our reunion and more next year. Looks like we’re hooked. Nicely played Wilderness Tours, nicely played.