Date: Sunday, 16 May 2021
River: Picton River.
Water level: 1.5m.
Running the Picton from Farmhouse Creek, what a day we had ahead of us.
Meeting at 8:30 (or 8:55 in Toby time) we all packed two rafts and two packs rafts, without the seats, paddles, and plenty of wetsuits into the cars, spilt the load between the vehicles and got to driving.
We met first, with two of our three extra kayakers at the get-out, riveoux bridge. Looking over a pumping Picton we excited headed for Farmhouse Creek. With everyone hurriedly placing various amounts of dry gear in a car and getting changed into wetsuits or thermals we bumped our way down to the get-in.
After unloading and working out who’s carrying what Ben was off and running. With a raft on his shoulders and a smile on his face, he ran off from the group, leaving others with various loads of rafts and kayaks to walk and then bush bash following the blue tape down the get-in. We made it, with him coming back to carry the second raft the last quarter particularly over the slippered log bridge, and then it was time to pump.
Well pumped and excited faces then got to it! We raced through the first section making it to the normal get-in in an hour and a half with no spills, toes we could just about not feel, but warm smiles all around.
The gorge was high, with a quick scout Ben guided both rafts through, putting enough weight in the front to comfortably and confidently race straight through the guts of it. Ok, not one kayak managed a spectacular flip and a swim through the hole.
Guiding the down the pumping Picton, the get out proved a challenge for the team. Ben’s boat barely caught the end of the eddy with Ruth’s ever so slightly missing it and a lovely team effort to bushbash the sotar back to the road and across the bridge to the waiting car full of dry gear.
Four cold paddlers waited in the fairly heavy rain for the lovely 50-minute car shuffle but had Tea – still steaming in Talia’s thermos, tasty homemade salad rolls from Bonnie, bread, dips, and lollies to share, not to mention gear to pack and rafts to roll up. All dry and changed with gear in cars we hit the road and drove in the strong rain with a hit of thunder and lightning - happy with our good and safe trip down the river with more than component leaders.
BUT our day did not end there. Stranded on the road we did find some new friends in supposed need of jumper leads, so up Hartz peak, the convoy drove in the continuing heavy rain, and attempt to jump a car that didn’t wanna start. Taking two of the four passengers who had somehow called a tow truck and a mate for help we landed our friends in Geeveston where their friend was picking them up.
Waving goodbye we skipped our merry way back to the sheds to give everything a good wash and moved patched rafts back to the other room.
Overall; A well-executed safe trip on a pumping Picton with splashes of beautiful sunshine. Thanks Ben and Toby ! – Ruth