Level: 2.8 m
Paddlers: Phitty, Me (Shuttlebunny: Dawn)
I am on holidays for the next 5 days.
I just had to get out of the house and into my boat today. Phil was going to paddle Catwalk after work, so I drove up to the Petawawa to meet up with him. It was a nice day, the sun was out and it was fairly warm, so Phil decided why not run shuttle and paddle Railroad to Catwalk.
Since it has been a year since I ran the Pet last, and was going to be my second time on the river, I decided I wanted to look at the first rapid, as it was pretty technical. The railway bridge that goes over the rapid has a pedestrian bridge as well. I figured it looks twice as scary because you’re looking at the rapid directly from above, and it just seems as if the water is moving a lot faster than it probably really is.
Last year when I paddled it with Jeremy, I snuck down the river left side, mainly avoiding any technical moves and staying away from hydraulics. This time Phil showed me the line he was going to take. It involved paddling up close to the pile in the middle of the river holding the bridge, and then taking an immediate left after the pile down a little tongue. Then we had to get back over to the right side of the river to avoid a nasty almost river-wide keeper.
The line we took was a little shallow and as we ran the drop, we both hit bottom hard. We managed to miss the hydraulic but I got caught and flipped in a little hole above it. It was some cold! Phil got caught in a stern squirt and ended up flipping as well. We had both felt the cold water, and decided not to do that again!
We paddled on down towards Lovers. I walked this rapid last year, and wanted to look at it again. There were a couple of guys scouting the river when we paddled up, I think they were from the Algonquin College Outdoors Program. Phil explained the line. It seemed pretty straight forward. If you got your line right, then you were guaranteed to miss the nasty boat-eating hole on the river right side at the bottom of the drop. The only thing to worry about at this level was a chute-wide hole halfway down the drop. A little higher and it would have turned into a wave and you could punch right through it. He asked me what I thought i.e. thumbs up or down. I told him “80% up, 20% down”. I decided not to have a bad day, and knew I could run it again anytime, preferably when the water’s a little higher.
Phil ran the line, and we all watched. He did fine, didn’t flip, but got stern squirted a bit at the end, it was pretty close. I carried my boat down to Catwalk and we played there for about 45 minutes. Catwalk was a lot more powerful than when I had been there last and you needed a lot more muscle to get your boat to do what you wanted it to. I was having a hard time getting around on spins, and received a couple of windowshade brain-freezes. After about 45 minutes of that I decided to call it a day. The cold water felt like an ear infection in my head and was starting to give me a migrane.
Great run though, and I was happy that I was able to make all the technical moves on Railroad that I hadn’t tried before!