Pack Raft Saves The Day

Della and I had a foreshortened trip on the Wonnangatta River upstream of the Moroka confluence when she developed a bad chest infection on the second night out which turned out to be pneumonia. Fortunately I had brought along the Alpacka ‘Fiord Explorer’ raft, their ‘moose boat’ as they termed it (now the ‘Mule’), so we ‘enjoyed’ a rather bumpy and crowded ride downriver to our car for around four hours. I’m not sure how otherwise I would have got her out, save ‘Helimed’, Victoria’s helicopter ambulance, an excellent service I have not (yet) needed to avail myself of – but we are paid up members!

We saw nine deer in the four hours walking in, mostly just honking at us and running away. During the night when we were sitting on our Cyclone Chairs in front of a cheery fire a whole troupe of sambar came by and gave us an entertaining chorus for ten minutes or so from not more than twenty metres away. You could actually see their eyes shining in the fire light, Delightful. We were only half way through our hike, so we will be back.

I’m afraid it is impossible to get ‘good’ photos when two of you are squeezed into a raft that is only 4′ 6″ long inside. Bad angles, difficulty focusssing & etc. They now call this raft the ‘Mule’.

I was told never to publish this photo of Della because she thought she looked and felt terrible. Well she did feel terrible, but she always looks good to me!

She heroically had to struggle along boulder-hopping during portages whilst I carried the boat and the packs.

It is a lovely river as you can see in the background of the shots. If you really want to have a good look at it, try these two posts:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/pack-rafting-the-remote-wonnangatta/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/remote-wonnangatta-day-two/

It is not yet time to trade her in though. We’ll try again. I have this really lovely campsite about six hours walk (for me) from my car which I really want her to spend a few days at (thought it would be this trip) – followed by a relaxing raft drift down the river on the way out. It didn’t quite work out that way though…

PS: We have been back a number of times. Next summer (2018-9) I plan to spend several days with Della pack rafting down from the Humffray Confluence to Eaglevale. It is one of the loveliest trips I know of anywhere.

She looked a lot happier in this post from 2017:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/pack-rafting-the-wonnangatta-mitchell/

In case you are thinking Della is a chapter of accidents, this was her only other disaster: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/10-days-in-fiordland/ dislocating her shoulder on the Dusky Track and having to be helicoptered out to Invercargill.

However, these two illustrate perhaps what I said in my ‘About’ post: ‘I have camped out a lot, more than two years plus of my life in total. I have seen the failure of just about every type of gear, and experienced just about every disaster which can befall you in the wilderness, and survived.’ See also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/trapped-by-flood-waters/

Published on: Nov 19, 2011 Updated with pics etc July 2018.

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