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July 2, 2006

By Ruth Gordon. Learn more about Ruth.

Ottawa River Update, July 2nd:

It was great to be home on the Ottawa this week. After 5 weeks on the road I was excited to try some of the things I’d learned (specifically the McNasty) on features that were already familiar to me.

Locals were complaining that the level wasn’t prime. It had been at one on the gauge for weeks and paddlers noses were turned up at the selection of surf spots.

Once I may have grumbled too, but recently two experiences have turned me around. First, traveling makes you appreciate your own back yard and second, I had the good fortune of spending a week on the Ottawa with the Jackson’s earlier this year.

You may think what does a visit from EJ, EmJ and Dane have to do with the love of my river, well, the fact is, they opened my eyes to a world of FUN that I had overlooked.

The Jackson’s had flown up to the Ottawa from Reno and were scheduled to take in the Big Cahonnes Event and then jet back to Colorado. The Ottawa had been experiencing uncharacteristically low water levels (between 7 and 9 on the gauge) and the famous Buseater wave (they have flown up for) had long come and gone. Considered an ‘off’ level many paddlers stayed away as the level ‘wasn’t good’.

But the Jackson’s were not deterred. With their ‘energizer-bunny’ like enthusiasm every feature, big or small, was maximized to its fullest potential. The entire family shone at every spot on the river, places I’m embarrassed to admit I had never even played in before. Adapting at the blink of an eye, performing expertly at features I might have paddled over. Ok, so they weren’t the best spots on the river, that didn’t stop the Jackson’s from gracefully mastering each feature.

I was impressed to say the least. My skills were pushed and at times I felt like I was on a new river. I was learning, taking in as much as I could and having a BLAST!

It was so nice to have the Jackson’s on the Ottawa, to remind me that there is always plenty of kayaking to be had. Expectations of your own river, levels you know and don’t know, others opinions of what is and isn’t ‘good’. Remember, it’s all about just getting out there. So the level isn’t the best – would you rather stay at home. Go paddling, stop somewhere new and enjoy, I know I will.