River: Rangitata River, South Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 43 cumecs at Klondyke, water cold and clear. Grade 2.
Weather Conditions: Sunny, warm with nor westerly winds.
Number on Trip: 9
Time on River: 3.75 hours
Comments: With the next suitable trip on the clubs calender falling on my 9th wedding anniversary, this trip looked like being my last one for the season. I arrived slightly late or exactly at 8:30am at Caltex Hornby, the usual meeting spot, only to find that there was no one there. I assumed the worst and since no one knew I was coming, I guess everyone had already left and that I had possibly got the meeting time wrong. I check the email and it was definitely 8:30am, so I got out and had a look around and found the group parked on the road behind the service station. With not enough grade 4 paddlers, we’d only be running the grade 2 section, so I soon had my boat on a car and we were off, heading south.
When we arrived at the put in and inspected the weir, it looked a little bit harder than usual, with the low flow leaving fewer options and making the centre line look a bit more exciting. A couple watching from the shore at the put in, launched a small drone and film some of us going down the weir rapid, the footage is available here. It was fun running the rapid and we only had one swimmer, who walked back up and ran it again successfully.
We had a bit of a play around below the weir before carrying on down stream, boulder hopping and eddy catching as we went.
With the lower than usual flow, there was of lots of small stuff to play on and I really enjoyed working my way down the rapids, surfing from hole to hole.
We had a pretty mixed group in terms of watercraft, with a mix of play boats, river runners and creek boats, plus Matt in his open canoe and Carol in her pack raft, ticking off another river section. It was quite exciting to see what can be done in alternative boats, with Matt pulling plenty of moves and Carol’s super compact craft, easily navigating all the rapids.
It was a beautiful day on the river and we all enjoyed ourselves, arriving at the take out feeling quite tired. As there wasn’t the usual grade 4 group to bring our vehicles down, there was a brief wait while the shuttle was run. Still it was a nice day and it was good to have a sit around in the sun and chat. Once the shuttle was done, we were soon on our way back to town, having enjoyed another day on the river.