To: Hume Weir
Distance to Go: 2225km
Today was always going to be a pretty big day. I had 40km of Lake Hume to cross. It could have pretty much gone two ways… 1. It could have been a head wind and completely miserable, or 2. It could be a nice calm day or even a tail wind. Well I am very happy to report it was the latter. I had a fantastic day crossing this big body of water.
I woke up early again this morning. It seems like between 3.30am and 4am is my new wake up time, but that is probably because I am going to sleep around 8pm. The island proved to be a great camp site and the sheep and road nearby did not bother me at all.
When I woke up, the tent was shuddering in the wind. They had forecasted calm winds and fog, so the wind was a little intriguing. Not intriguing enough for me to open the tent door because it was absolutely freezing this morning. I eventually braved a look at around 5am and saw that it was windy and foggy. Windy fog is probably my least favourite of all conditions to paddle in… is cold on cold. The windy fog was happening because the island was between to big hills and the wind was funnelling through the valley and pushing the fog down towards the dam. Even though it was cold, it meant that I was going to have a tail wind for a lot of the paddle.
Knowing it was going to be a long day on non-flowing water and also because I was keen to get moving to warm up, I quickly packed up camp and hit the water. The tail wind was great. I was able to maintain a steady 9kmh when paddling and when drifting it was blowing me a long at 2.5kmh. You can see in one of the photos below the lines of foam across the lake that were created by this wind.
It was really creepy paddling amongst all the dead trees (killed when they built the dam in 1936 and flooded the valley) in the fog. I also had great fun flying the drone around and was able to get some interesting photos and video footage.
After about 4 hours of being assisted by the tail wind, the sun started to poke its head out of the clouds and the wind started to die off. By early afternoon the wind completely dropped and the water was like glass.
I feel kind of bad for some of the other Murray paddlers that are ahead of me on the river. I have read about the misery they had with strong headwinds crossing this big body of water. I guess I was lucky but I am sure I will get my fair share of head winds later in the journey.
I arrived at the Hume Weir at about 3pm to find that I had a fairly long hike up to the caravan park that I was going to be spending the night. I had to get the trolly wheels out and lug the gear up a long, steep, sandy and grassy bank. I then had to weave my way up the hill along the various roads within the caravan park. As exhausting as it was, it was a good test of using the trolly and distributing the weight of all the gear, because I have lots of walking to do tomorrow (more on that later).
Now that I am in a caravan park, I have been able to have my first shower in 6 days. It was heaven. The only problem with being clean is you realise how much all your gear and clothing stinks. I will be in Albury tomorrow for 2 nights, so I can do a wash.
Speaking of the body, it is holding up remarkably well. I had a bit of soreness in my right lateral muscle last night after the really long paddle, but a sleep and an anti-inflammatory seems to have fixed it.
So tomorrow… As mentioned earlier, it involves a fair bit of walking (trollying). First up I have to walk around Hume Weir. Many people get someone to drive them and their gear around the weir, but I have decided I am going to walk around all the portages (just one of my rules for the journey). I went for a walk this afternoon to check out the planned road, track and launching point. It looks like it is about 1.6km, but fortunately a lot of it is downhill on a sealed road. A very kind fisherman gave me a lift back up the hill so I didn’t need to hike back up. After the short 20km paddle to Albury, I then another 1km walk to where I am staying.
Alrighty… it is time to make some dinner in the lovely camp kitchen at the caravan park. It is going to be a novelty to cook under lights and to be able to wash up in a sink.