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Published: March 13th 2023
Oldlowes afloat/adrift. ...what could possibly go wrong?
Yes yes yes oldlowes are go! The water is low enough to allow canoes on the river and we have been thrown into panic! We’re packing barrels and drybags and trying to decide what to take and are very excited about getting out on the Whanganui at last. We’re limited to the three day trip as the top reaches of the river are still closed but we are very chuffed to be getting out at all.
We left early to get out on the river for the final briefing from the people who are renting us the canoes, including how to use the emergency beacon to summon a helicopter (niiice).
Pete paddled at the back (apparently the Captain (so he thinks haha)) me in front (Engine haha). After a couple of hours I asked him “what side do you want me to paddle?”....”Doesn't matter” he replied! Cheeky!
The river had a good flow so Pete was v chuffed. We were worried we may not get to the first campsite before dark so paddled like blithery and arrived at 4 after a midday start (meant to be 6 to 8 hours)
which proved how good the Engine was. An amazing campsite (John Coull) on our own overlooking the river. There was a cabin there too which only had 2 people staying from 21 booked. Great night sleep, amazing stars and goat cries across the river. Woke late but got going quickly for Day 2….no significant rapids but fab views down the gorge and another lovely campsite with a few more people. We slept well, ready for the Big Rapid day 3.
We were on the river early when the most almighty noise broke the calm. We came round the corner to see our first jet boat. Terrifying! We headed for the bank and it turned out to be our very good friends from home, Mary and Ralph, terrorizing the river! (it's another story how we all knew each party was on the river). They spotted us and took an action photo! Their enormous waves went on for 5 minutes.
We stopped for coffee above the Big Rapid and watched a few canoes go down the Chicken Run (right bank). We of course went left despite being told to stay right. Water everywhere and had to bale out at the
bottom big time. Jan was completely soaked (being at the front), Pete not wet at all. Funny that.
Lunch at beautiful campsite above river with a "loo with perfect view".
Facing the final 2 big rapids, we went through the difficult path of course. Jan soaked again. Last home with 4 minutes to spare.....does that remind anyone of a particular member of Team Oldlowe? Quick trip back to the campsite to wonderful gushy shower and our first home cooked steak supper. 14$ (£7) for 2 steaks brill. Spuds and brocolli. New hut has double bed only v swish and view of the snowy mountain Ruapehu. FAB TIMES.
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