“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I have had this on my Ontario to do bucket list for a couple years now, river tubing through the Elora Gorge, on the Grand River. I have strolled alongside this spectacle a handful of times whilst stopping for lunch in this picturesque town. When I found out this was actually a thing, I had to do this. A couple years went by though, and even a couple visits to the town (mostly off season in the fall), and I still hadn't braved the river.
Now that I have a job, my days are limited. I am not sure when I will get vacation time and how I should even plan for it. So when I finally had the chance and a willing companion I dove in head first. Not exactly, but you get the idea.
Our early morning exit out of the city was slow, one hour of crawling through traffic added onto the already hour and 20 minute drive to Grand River Conservation Authority. The weather was surprisingly chilly considering it was mid-August and there were clouds in the sky. What good timing. Not to be deterred we continued on our journey down the highway. Once arriving at the park ($12.00 admission for a vehicle) we snaked our way down the road to the tubing rental center.
They had everything that we needed: a permit to float on the river, a tube, and a life jacket and helmet. The entire package was only $25.00 plus a refundable deposit of $75.00 for the equipment. We finished signing waivers (eek), and collected all of our gear. The process was really well organized and seamless, and they even offered a complimentary shuttle to the river launch site, (we chose to walk the fifteen minutes). Once at the river our brave demeanor faded and second-guessing came into play, the launch site was a mini waterfall, well not really, but for first time tubers it might as well have been. We opted to walk a little further down so that we could gently enter the thankfully warmer-than-the-air water. What a trip! A couple white water rapids that had us clenching our bodies to the tubes, followed by lazy floating while surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. We even spotted a regal looking heron on the shore. It was both the longest and shortest hour I have every experienced. Relaxing and thrilling all in one.
After changing and drying ourselves off in the very clean on site washrooms, and returning all of our equipment, we said good bye to the park and headed into town for a well deserved meal. River tubing is a lot more work than I thought it would be!
I immediately feel relaxed in small towns. You can tell who the locals are, and I always envy the relaxed manner they have about them. Elora has one of the prettiest main streets in southern Ontario, and a lot of different shops and eateries to choose from. We made a quick stop at Sweet Distractions a candy emporium where I purchased the freshest Turkish delight ever. And a delightful lunch at The Cat's Meow Cafe where we both had the Alley Cat, a delicious open face tuna melt (how come I can't figure out tuna like this). I also may have left with a peanut butter marshmallow square.
Elora and it's surrounding area is a wonderful place to wind down and take in the ambiance of a small town life. With unique boutique shops, cutesy cafe's, and variety of dining options it caters to the discerning city day tripper.
I am looking forward to my return trip.
I am always looking for small unique towns to explore, is your's one of the? Leave a comment below!
Another quick link, I fell in LOVE with this shop and made a quick purchase while there and placed an online order when I returned home. Ephiphany!
Originally published September 2nd 2015