We took a day off today, it being 30C and there being enough water, to revisit one of our favourite spots when our kids were little over 20 years ago…Hot summers then (they were hotter) and there was plenty of water (before the ‘noughty’ fires) we used to camp at one particular spot and either spend the day drifting down to our camp, swimming and playing, or else start off from camp and drift down to another exit point way downriver.
Now most of the campsites are gone – locked off. Our public lands are progressively being stolen from us. Those that remain are crowded, and they now have toilets and ‘designated campsites – both represent the end of freedom! Yet there is no-one on the river. It is just as idyllic as ever…And you can still put in where we used to and get out nearly where we used to – there are tiny snippets of (hidden) public access. You have to look carefully for them, and there may be a little bush-bashing, but not much.
You can canoe this wonderful river all the way from the Humffray confluence way inside the Alpine National Park just below the Station, all the way to Lake King (three weeks later!) The top section (down to Eaglevale) needs two 4WDs or a motorbike and one, or a long, tough walk from your 4WD from Moroka Glen. From Eaglevale it can all be done with two 2WDs or a motorbike and one. There is one section from Angusvale to the Den of Nargun which can be done with one vehicle – as a packrafting trip, as there is a walking track which joins them. This section would take approx three days (two walking).
Here we are, ready to set off.
As you can see we are one car plus one motorbike.
Della is away first, keen to start.
These two snaps are for the kids: remember this old abandoned orchard and its apricot tree where we used to feast those Xmases past
And this swimming hole where you wiled away so much long summertime…
Away we go! Just here the river is like a mirror!
Della prefers to follow because of her eyesight – she has less than 40% vision – and you think you have problems? Nonetheless even in just this last year she has followed me to many places those with two good eyes have seen; the South Coast Track & Westies Hut, NZ for example: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/westies-hut/
And remember this deep, cool swimming hole too?
Nonetheless, she is a champ!
Just to prove I was there too.
This, believe it or not, is a deer path on public land! This would be a good place to be at dusk with a .308 – if you were hungry!
Huck Finn, eat your heart out!
There be monsters here:
And interesting flotsam. This vast length of 1/2″ rope was caught up in a huge pile of flood-wrack. i souvenired it!
Look at that girl go!
Here near the wallows she shot ahead of me eager to find a great antler of her own just as our son did many years ago. All we found today was some very muddy sticks, alas!
Once more she is following faithfully behind down this entertaining little drop.
Here is an interesting historical curio, the cab of an old jinker – and Della!
I have the Alpacka Fiord Explorer, and Della has the Alpacka model, just perfect for someone who is just 5′. Hers has an airtight zip so you can stow your dry bags inside the craft’s tubes. What a clever idea. Or you can tie your packs etc on the bow and stern as I have done with my dry bag above.
And here is a dragon wondering what is going on.
Who will leave to wait for our next trip to find out – a multi day one, I think. And soon!
PS: Today there was exactly 1.80 metres on the Waterford gauge. This is what you need to canoe the entire river. Any lower and the sections above the Kingwell Bridge (especially) will become difficult. From the Kingwell down to Waterford you ought to be OK at 1.75. Below Waterford you might get by with a little less, perhaps even 1.70 – if you don’t mind getting out at shallow pebble races. River heights here; http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDV60154.html
Even at this height there will be lots of lovely long deep sections, and anyway lots of beautiful camping spots and cool swimming holes. Have fun! Time was, there was water aplenty every day of the year. There used to be much more water summertime. The bushfires stole the river folks. It will not be back until the forest is all growed back again – by then I will be gone!
The section we canoed today was one which escaped the fires. The birdlife was beautiful and exuberant. I must have spotted a hundred different species of birds; both the kinds of wood swallows, (very noisy) leather heads, scads of bell miners, many kinds of honey-eaters, many kinds of parrots including gang gangs, three kinds of ducks, two kinds of doves, wagtails, kingfishers, mutton birds, warblers, wrens, currrawongs, sitellas, beautiful purple cuckoo-shrikes with their graceful dipping flight, resplendent bee-eaters, the improbable blue eyes of bower birds…