Location: Lake Clearwater, Canterbury, NZ
Conditions: Clear water, slight chop.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with moderate NE winds.
Number on Trip: 2 people.
Time on River: 2.25 hours.
Comments: Since childhood Lauri had wanted to get out the the small island on the far side of Lake Clearwater, but had been thwarted by the lack of any available watercraft at the time. So over thirty years later, we drove out to the lake with our kayaks for a paddle. It was a beautiful day at the lake, with the wind bringing up a little bit of a chop, making some small but fun waves to paddle in to or surf down when running with the wind at your back. Explored the island and had a really nice day out in the sun and after our paddle we climbed a small hill near the township to visit another of Lauri’s special places from childhood and admire the view. On the way home we checked out the south branch of the Ashburton River and the grade 2 gorge seemed to have a reasonable flow but as it was late and we were unsure of the run, we decided not to paddle it and instead visited some friends in Mayfield before driving home.
Lauri exploring Lake Clearwater.
Circumnavigating the island, with the Lake Clearwater settlement off in the distance.
River: Ashley River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 28 cumecs and falling at Ashley Gorge, water discoloured, swift and cool. Grade 3.
Weather Conditions: Cool, occasional cloud with sunny spells.
Number on Trip: 4 people.
Time on River: 2 hours.
Comments: Kerry organised this impromptu trip and originally advertised it on Facebook with a meeting time of 4:30pm, at which point I calculated that getting on the river around 6pm would make for a late get out and an unhappy wife and decided not to go. Fortunately shortly before I sent through my decision, Kerry called to let me know the group would be meeting at the more civilised time of 2:30pm, so I quickly sorted out my gear, loaded the car and headed for the Pegasus Tavern. Kerry arrived with Suzi and then André turned up and we loaded Kerry’s car with gear. We picked up Dave, the camp manager at the Ashley Gorge Domain, as he was to drive the vehicle back for a small fee, thus saving on running a shuttle.
André playing on one of the rapids.
The river was brown and swift but not too pushy. It was quite different from many of my recent low flow trips on the Ashley, with many of the rocks covered or at lest partial obscured by the brown water, making for the odd surprise as you picked your way through the various holes only to end up hitting a rock. Still once I got over my initial nerves (i.e. after the last grade 3 rapid), I felt much more relaxed. It was Suzi’s first time down the Ashley gorge and only her second grade 3 trip and she did really well and managed to pull off a number of combat rolls. We were off the river around 5pm, passed John H & Bruce L heading to the river on the way home and I was home in time to cook dinner at around 7pm and Lauri scarcely noticed I was gone. Kerry did get a few texts/calls from people who hadn’t got the updated trip information and had been waiting at the Pegasus Tavern for some time. So it is worthwhile making sure that you let the trip leader know that you plan to be on a trip so they can let you know if any of the details change.