On a busy Saturday night at the Hanging Gardens, Ruth found herself bombarded with texts asking for her help running a wild trip, (Last minute Picton) for keen two trainee guides. As rain had filled the river, wet the pipes and cancelled Toby's weekend plans. Finally giving in to the peer-pressure, the last second group found themselves at the sheds at 8am. 5 keen, hungry and soon to be addicted rafters with only one sacrificing university duties to be there.
After some discussion on the best boats for the level, Ruth in her wisdom chose the most sensible boats (a purple) and two pack rafts for the keen shredders. Liam's new beast, Franklin the Falcon, demonstrated the superfluous and faffy nature of a trailer, fitting everything in the back of the wagon. Mere seconds later, Banjos was hit hard, with no faff, they were out the door in seconds with no power poos slowing them down.
Custard scroll in hand Liam, with Toby's help, completed his first ever car shuffle, finding the cars handling slightly more sporty on the gravel roads with all the weight now removed from the back.
After a beautifully executed safety briefing, from a slightly stressed trainee guide (not me), we found ourselves causing down river in the beautiful flow of a just sub-stairs Picton. The calm quickly ended as we approached the colloquially known "Toby's Death Rapid" and Liam decided to surf the hole, with a new to white water pack rafting legend Ethan bravely following the same line as the master (me) executed and underwater roll, examining the clarity of the water and the geology of the bottom. Ethan however, in his splash proof jacket, only completed the 180, depositing his packrat firmly in the hole. I then executed a beautiful self rescue and secondary rescue of the punter (Ethan) in mere seconds despite the aggressive flow. Ethan's packrat was watched spin and twirl by Toby's crew, before becoming dislodged and caught by Ruth.
After a quick rally, and a drink of water ( some more than others), we continued towards the gorge. Ruth, Toby and Martin, scouted the gorge, confirming no nasty sticks after the large rainfall and river spike this week. After a perfectly described line by Ruth, they executed a flawless run of the gorge in the purple. After completing the gorge, Toby decided the conventional river right eddy out was too mainstream, and instead opted for river left. After some excellent ferry gliding practice, they greeted Liam in the bottom eddy, who had just crushed the sinister gorge in packraft. Providing safety to Ethan, the team witnessed him nail missing the hole, only to be caught by the recirculation and swiftly flipped his boat again.
The rest of the river involved only 3 more swims, some demonstration of excellent packrat manoeuvres by Martin and many questions from Ruth, as always, about Daneland.
Finally out the get out, I made a funny joke about forgetting the keys to the shuttle car. Which resulted in Liam making two lovely new friends (Harry and Serresh) who very generously, helped me avoid putting KM on Franklin, by shuttling be back to the get in to complete the car shuffle.
Written by Bongo (Liam)
- "I don't want to guide" To Ruth Steel for proclaiming she would not guide today and providing non-stop instruction and handy hints the entire trip.
- "Club Advertiser" To Liam Mangan-Smith for telling as many people about the rafting club, who aren't on trips as possible.
- "Best new Packrafter" Martin, for some absolutely sick moves in the waves when testing out a pack raft. Managing to surf on the first try with a slick peel out.