Day 14 – Albury to Doolans Bend

From: Albury
To: Doolans Bend
Distance: 56km
Distance to Go: 2140km

Yesterday was a rest day, so I was able to spend two nights in a cheap motel in Albury. It was nice to have a day to finish the video (see previous post), sort out some gear and buy food. Around lunch time my friend Paul showed up to keep me company. He kindly took the day off from work and drove up from Melbourne (4 hours) to hang out and drink beer with me. He then joined me for the walk down to the river this morning and waved me off as I started the next leg of this journey.

The river is definitely lower. Apparently the irrigation season finished a few days ago and they are letting out a lot less water from the Hume Dam. For most of the paddle today I could see the bottom of the river. On three occasions I ended up getting stuck on the bottom. The noise of river rocks scraping across the bottom of the kevlar boat is a horrible sound but fortunately no damage was done.

Today’s paddle was fairly uneventful. Basically it was one of those days (which I am sure I will get a few) where I put my headphones, put on an audiobook and just paddle. The weather was fantastic, with barely any wind and it got up to about 20 degrees. The scenery was very pretty, but it quickly all started to be very much the same (trees, cows, ducks and logs). So there wasn’t much opportunity or reason to stop and film things.

I was a little bit worried about the distances over the next week, because I have three 50+ kilometre days in a row. With the water so low I was concerned I would simply not have enough hours of sunlight to make my planned campsites. Today I was averaging just under 8kmh but that required solid paddling. I ended up being on the water for about 8 hours and managed to do the 56km to my planned campsite at Doolans Bend Reserve.

Apparently it is Saturday today (I have lost track of the days) so the Doolans Bend campground is very busy with lots of caravans and clusters of tents. I did managed to find a small spot in between a couple of caravans.

While I was setting up my tent, I ended up chatting to the lady from one of the vans. She kindly offered me the use of their toilet and invited me to have pumpkin risotto for dinner. I would have accepted but I had the makings of beef tacos for dinner and the meat would not keep another day. In the end the tacos where a bit of a dud meal (too messy for camp food) but I am so tired after a long day of paddling I don’t think I would last until they were going to have dinner.

Tomorrow I have another 56km day. So I will be leaving early (before sunrise) and pushing pretty hard to make it to Corowa tomorrow night. I am staying at the caravan park, so that makes it a bit easier because I won’t need to allow for time to find a campsite and setup things before the sunsets.

Note: I apologise for my spelling today. I am very tired and not really in the mood to write..

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