From: Hume Weir
Distance to Go: 2196km
Well I have finished the first leg of the kayaking part of the journey. I have made it to Albury and I am now enjoying a rest day and half.
I woke up early (again) and enjoyed a slow breakfast and coffee while watching the sunrise over Lake Hume. I then packed up the gear, attached the trolly wheels and began the 1.6km walk around the Weir. This walk was not too bad because most of it was down hill and I took the time to correctly balance the boat. Basically you have to pile all the stuff from the back of the boat above the wheels at the front. You then have to push the boat like a very long wheelbarrow. Going down the paved road (Trout Farm Road) was a little treacherous because it was peak hour and there was not really any room on the side of the road.
Once I got to the bottom of the weir, it was pretty obvious that the water level and flow was a little low. It seems that they have started releasing less water from Hume Weir (which does not bode well). Once I had finished flaffing around with the gear, I eventually started paddling down the river at around 8.30am.
It was a beautiful start to the paddle. The water was glassy with a small amount of mist floating across the surface. There is an abundance of bird life just below the weir. More birds than I have seen all week. There were heaps of swans, grieves, ducks, pelicans, sea eagles, cormorants and all sorts of other water birds.
However… there was also a lot of duck weed. The water was really shallow and I soon found myself getting stuck on the duck weed or scrapping the bottom of my kayak on the rocky bottom of the river (such a horrible sound when you are in a kevlar boat). This pretty much became the theme of the day… negotiating snags and shallow water.
It was really nice to be paddling past some of the places along the river that I used to hang out when I lived in Albury in 1997. I was able to have a little bit of nostalgia between bumping into logs and scraping the river bed.
I did see by first blue river distance marker (2214). From this point on (in theory) there is a blue river marker showing the distance to the Murray mouth ever 1-2km. Funnily enough after I saw this one, there were no more to be seen for the next 18km. It just happened to be right next to the house (Waterworks) that my friends rented in the late 1990s and right where we used to spend a lot of time swimming and jumping off bridges.
At about 12.30pm I arrived at Noreuil Park Foreshore, which is the home of a great cafe and kiosk called “The River Deck”. It is also home of the Mitta Mitta Canoe Club, which meant it was reasonably friendly to get the gear up the bank (which I did after I had devoured a coffee and a burger).
After about 1.5 hours of sitting in the park, in the sun, drying all my gear, I walked across the road to the nearest motel which will be my home for the next 2 nights. I was lucky enough to get a ground floor, accessibility room so I could wheel my kayak straight in the door and then explode my gear around the room.
One of my projects over the next day, after I have edited this week’s video, is to recalculate some of my planned distances for next week. With the river so low and slow, I don’t think I am going to be able to achieve my average of 40-50km a day and still enjoy myself.
Ok. Enough writing… time to edit the video that I know everyone’s keen to see. It won’t be as dramatic as the bike ride but there is some beautiful scenery.