Story and Photos Submitted by Linsey De Ruysscher
“Rapids, rapids, rapids! We love rapids!”
Just a little chant we all sang while rafting down the Madawaska River with Madawaska Kanu Centre! We had an absolute BLAST with the MKC crew! They are so full of energy, so much fun, awesome with the kids…and we can’t wait to go back! (Seriously, we’re already planning our next trip!) I honestly don’t know if words can do this place justice, but I will try my best.
Madawaska Kanu Centre can be found just off highway 62 going north towards Barry’s Bay. We took the beautiful 2+ hour drive from Plainfield and trust me, it was totally worth the trip! I mean, just look at this place!
So, we decided to turn it into a fun, family day trip and explore Hastings County a little bit! We left the house and headed north on 62 with our first stop at Eagle’s Nest Restaurant in Bancroft for lunch. We had never been before, and we were pleasantly surprised with this adorable little restaurant. You’ll find it right on 62 in Bancroft, and it was AMAZING! Two thumbs up from all of us! The boys are HUGE fans of breakfast food, so they were pretty happy they served all-day breakfast. They both ordered the “Full Nest” complete with pancakes, eggs, and sausage. I’m more of a lunch kind of gal, so I ordered the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a side of poutine. We were all pretty much in love with our meals and we left smiling and super full! Such good food! And the service was just as amazing. I highly recommend checking out Eagle’s Nest Restaurant in Bancroft if you’ve never been. Look at all this deliciousness!
After our meal, we got back on the road and headed towards Madawaska Kanu Centre. A little background on MKC. It’s family created, owned, and operated since 1972 – and it shows! The whole place has such a warm, welcoming feel to it. Everyone makes you feel completely at ease and at home. Their main business is white water canoe and kayak courses, with Family Programs, Women’s Retreats, and Specialty Programs available. But they also offer these awesome family rafting adventures…and we’re super happy they do!
After checking in, everyone in our rafting group met in the dining hall with Stefi, the Director and granddaughter of the MKC founders! She gave us a little rundown about the place and what to expect during our afternoon on the water. She got us all pretty pumped and ready to head to the rafting area to meet our rafting guides and get fitted with lifejackets and helmets.
Our trip leader, John, was awesome! Super nice, full of personality and he had us all laughing before we even got on the water. There was about 24 in the group, and we all hopped on the bus that took us to the docking area to ride the rapids! Before getting in the rafts, we had the option to jump off the bridge nearby. My hubby and my 9-year-old jumped at the chance (literally!) and I stayed back and watched with our youngest. Then, they divided us all up between the 4 rafts, and away we went! We ended up getting our own raft with our guide, Megan, and Stefi joined our raft too! It was one of Megan’s first trips as a rafting guide and she NAILED IT! You’d swear she’d been doing it for years!
One interesting thing we learned is that all the rapids have names. They’re named after the shape they take, people, buildings nearby etc. During our trip, we went through 5 rapids; Staircase, Chalet, Claudia’s Roller (named after Stefi’s mother!), Gravel Pit, and Cottage Rapids! Here we are checking out Chalet Rapids before the trip.
We stopped at Claudia’s roller and had the opportunity to jump in the water and swim into the rapid. Almost everyone in our group participated and it was A LOT of fun! Both of our boys wanted to do it again! Towards the end of our ride, we had some fun squirting other rafts with water squirters, splashing each other with paddles, jumping out of the raft, and Megan even let us paddle the raft once we were in a calm section of the river. I loved it! It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Those paddles are NOT light!
I could go on and on about how much fun we had, but it’s truly something you need to experience for yourself. Both our boys were sad when it was over, but we still ended our rafting adventure soaked and smiling! They even gave everyone ball caps to thank us for joining them!
After our afternoon on the water, we got back on the road and headed towards home. But If you know us, you know that no family day trip would EVER be complete without a stop for…ICE CREAM! So, we stopped in Bancroft once again for some delicious Kawartha Dairy ice cream.
You can order a cone or cup in baby sized, small or huge. We all went with the small and none of us finished – they were quite big. I don’t even want to know what the huge would look like! (Or do I?? Mmmm!)
As you can tell, we had an amazing family day trip in Hastings County. I would recommend Madawaska Kanu Centre to anyone in a heartbeat! To get more details about all the activities they offer, check out their website. It’s full of info!
Story and photographs by Linsey De Ruysscher
As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Linsey enjoys making memories with her family hiking on new trails and discovering new hidden attractions along the way. If there is a river to be paddled, they'll be there!
Learn more about Linsey through her bio, as well as for a link to the other adventures she has shared with us. You can also read about our other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County.