Over the weekend, I watched the melting ice flows moving downriver towards the rapids. They are almost impossible to see churning in the whitewater of the rapids. I asked a whitewater paddler at Bate Island, "What about the ice?"
He responded in French, "Ça Cogne."
In English, you can choose the verb of your choice: it bangs, knocks, hits, thumps, whacks, wallops, or clobbers.
I guess the size and speed of the ice chucks hitting your kayak would help you choose the best word.
Then I asked him, "What if you go into the water."
He responded calmly with a smile, "Cover your face."
Spring thaw usually equals big spring flows on the Ottawa River. And this year is no different.
Each year I look for the peak spring flows off Bate Island. I can usually tell by a convergence of whitewater paddlers lined up along the shore, waiting for a turn at the high flowing rapids and big standing waves.
They were there this long Easter weekend, and so much fun to watch.
Spectators gather to witness the yearly spring paddle pilgrimage to this spot at Bate Island on the Ottawa River between the cities of Gatineau, Quebec, and Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. Bate Island has a small park with picnic tables, a large picnic shelter (gazebo), free parking, and can be accessed in either direction from the Champlain Bridge.
The variety of skilled paddlers and surfers who show up to ride the big standing waves and play in the icy-cold rapids may surprise you. We expect whitewater kayaks and whitewater canoes. They are made for this.
I had a rolling lesson in a Jackson Zen 65 river runner, and I liked it. It's the only whitewater kayak I've ever sat in that made me think I might want one. I usually don't like the feel of them.
Happy spring trails.
Stay warm and safe.