Struck by wanderlust after reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, Joe Kowalski decided to kindle his own passion for adventure by exploring the uncharted rapids of the Ottawa River with a group of fellow college students. There they discovered a multi-channel paradise—the six-mile-wide river churned through dozens of islands, jutting rocks, secluded beaches, and gorgeous waterfalls, as well as calmer paddling runs. Their stories and videos attracted guests, spurring the loosely organized group to band together in 1975 to become Wilderness Tours. To date, they have guided more than one million people safely down the river.
Today, the guides spend most of their time on white water rafting day trips, pausing in their runs to lead body-surfing and cliff-jumping adventures at some of the river's calmer spots. A riverside lunch is also provided to refuel paddlers for the second half of their run.The main resort also makes use of the stunning topography and forests that surround the river during rock-climbing, bungee jumping, and mountain biking excursions. The Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort offers luxury accommodations alongside a restaurant and bar.
River Run Rafting and Wilderness Resort, a once humble 12-raft outfit, has grown into a 165-acre resort that accommodates all levels of outdoorsmen with a variety of lodgings. But whitewater rafting remains the focus of the resort, with guides leading trips ranging from high-adventure surges through foaming rapids to gentle floats down the Ottawa River's middle channel. And because the resort is located on a 4,000-foot stretch of shoreline, each trip ends on the resort's beaches, meaning that rafters get more time on the water since there isn't a second round of transport back to the resort.
River Run and Wilderness Resort's staff of experts even pioneered a six-person sport raft dubbed the Ultimate Adventure Sports Raft, which is capable of turning back up river eddies, reentering rapids from the side, and suspending atop whitewater the way a surfer rides a wave. Upgrades are available for an additional cost.
Ottawa Segway Tours outfits sightseers with versatile Segway personal transporters, or PTs, for earth-friendly jaunts powered by drivers merely shifting their weight. Operators can easily manoeuvre their vehicles wherever their body tells it to—including indoors—avoiding such urban headaches as expensive parking lots, rush-hour traffic, and on-ramps riddled with dangerous slip ‘n slides. While enjoying the sights and sounds of their chosen path, users can take comfort in their low carbon footprint, both because they’re standing off the ground and because electric Segways give off zero emissions during operation.