The Grand River Valley is known for its grand experiences. Many people paddle down a river, hike through a forest or drive past a First Nation summing everything up with a glance. But in the Grand Valley there is more than just glancing… this is a place to experience! There are floating classrooms, hiking classrooms and Do-It classrooms… opportunities where everyone can experience everything together, regardless of age, size or skill.
Using rafts as floating classrooms is a favorite. On the Grand River the concept is simple… learn about the river while paddling the river. Because the rafts don’t sink or tip, non-swimmers and people with physical disabilities can enjoy the adventure. And enjoy they do, with a smorgasbord of learning experiences!
During these floating classrooms the guides stop at cold drinking springs. People dump out the store water and fill up with the real stuff. There is the chance to see an abundance of birds and learn about them. Or spotting wildlife/fish and learning what they are. People enjoy learning the woodlore of telling trees apart. But the best experience, is slipping off the raft and body-floating in a gentle current… the lazy man’s way!
The guided hiking classroom is another learning adventure where experiences are maximum and distance is minimum. These hikes are about 5 km and offer a bit of everything. There are breath-taking views of the valley. Story telling on Lost Nations, talks on making primitive tools and the opportunity to try wild edible plants. There are wildlife calling demonstrations, building of fire without matches and visiting points of curiosity. The hiking classroom is an adventure of the senses… learning to identify by smell, taste and touch.
The Do-It classroom is simply learning while doing. There are courses where people do a 6 day canoe trip in six hours. One can try the art of fly fishing or take hands-on learn-to-fish courses. There is the opportunity to attend a night safari of owl & coyote calling, with beer baiting for moths. Or mentor with instructors teaching the primitive arts of cordage-making, bow drills and flint knapping. For First Nations experiences, one can do interactive powwow dancing or singing with the Mohawks. But the highlight for many is a night drift learning about the stars.
Most learning experiences on the Grand River are about four hours in length. Costs vary with group size and the company chosen. The primary areas hosting these adventures is in the Cambridge to Brantford section of the Grand River, just west of Toronto. If new to the area, use the Trip Advisor website to scrutinize company services. It is important to have a grand experience… not a bad experience!