In between bushfires, a crazy time at work, Kim's first half marathon and buying a new car ... well not much else has happened. I've barely got outdoors at all this year, and that's just not right.
This was remedied today as I finally chalked up my first micro-adventure for the year ... a pack-rafting / mountain biking trip down the Huon River from the Tahune Airwalk.
Now believe it or not (I say this because Kim couldn't believe it), despite growing up in the Huon Valley I'd never actually been down this section of river. The upside of this was that when Kim got talked out of our original idea of liloing down a section of the Franklin River by her "everything's going to go wrong, you'll drown and I'm sure it's illegal anyway" work colleagues ...
|Ah memories from my 2004 Trip down the Franklin River |
... where I at least survived.
As per tradition with our southern adventures, we started the day with a truly horrible breakfast at Banjo's Huonville where we (again) agreed that we would never go there again (if only there was an early morning alternative) before driving on to our exit point near the Southwood Mill site to stash our bikes and cycling gear for the return trip back to the airwalk.
Then we carried on to the Tahune Airwalk Carpark in the car and made ready for our little sojourn down the river ...
|Kim waiting for me below Tahune Bridge ... |
(forgot the camera and had to go back to get it).
|... no going back now|
|Exhibit A: Unridable mudslop.|
So we got to the first 'rapid' (noting that according to the guide notes this section of river is only Grade 1/2 so we weren't expecting anything to worry about) and there is a left channel and a right channel to choose from. I of course decide to go down the right channel and only notice just before I get onto the horizon of the rapid that the right channel runs straight into a sharp turn ending at a rock sieve and have to rapidly back paddle (something not easy to do in a packraft against the current) to then go down the left channel. At this point I do confess to thinking "God, I'm glad we didn't go down the Franklin"
However, after that one little scare every other rapid was an absolute doddle ... one of the easiest rivers I've ever been down, and also very beautiful all the way down to the Weld River Junction (approx 7 or 8 km down from Tahune Bridge). For the record this is only Kim's second time on the water, and I am a white water novice who is scared of rapids ... and we cruised it.
About 4kms below the bridge we pulled off the river onto a little rock island which had a nice little rapid next to it and tried out the lilos which we'd brought with us ...
|Kim inflating her lilo. I've got more hot air|
so mine is already inflated.
Below the Weld River junction, there was very little in the way of rapids, or waterflow, so it was a bit of a slog to get down the last four or five kilometres to the Southwood Bridge (my packrafts top speed is about 4km/hr) and we relished every rapid we could find to speed us along a bit ...
Well unless we were not paying attention and managed to bog ourselves on the only rock in the entire river ...
|Kim ... high and dry on a submerged rock ... |
but in her defense look how hard it would have been to miss it (not).
After that it was an 18km ride back to the start, with the first 7kms being along a wonderful, fast section of track running alongside the river (but with little views) before emerging back out onto the gravel road to complete the loop back to the airwalk. For the first time in my life this track was mainly dry ... but only mainly. We came across a guy on a motorbike who had flooded his engine by charging into a puddle which turned out to be a lot deeper than he anticipated ... we walked around that one.
After a bit of a climb up Fletchers Road, the final few kilometres along South Weld Road are particularly nice due to the now almost non-existent traffic and the roads slow return to a leafy lane ... well, if you see the snakes in time.
Now that the ball is rolling, the obvious question is ... what shall I do next?
You can see the route here