Monday, August 29, 2011

Styx River to Georges Junction Canoe Trip

I joined the Macleay Valley Canoeing Club facebook page a while back.

I see canoe trips pop up now and then, but needed a window of opportunity to join one.

Anthony posted a trip recently and luckily I'd already been organising a solo voyage.

He planned to put near the Junction of the Styx and Chandler rivers in the upper Macleay.

Now I'd never been up that far, and not many people have. It was too good to miss.

We had good rain for the week prior and the river levels were up.

This poor cow got stuck in a tree root

The river was flowing well and rising fast. 

The rapids were raging and I had all sorts of trouble with submerged rocks and low hanging trees.

I hit a rock at speed an swamped the canoe. 

When I tipped in my leg hammered a boulder and I lost some skin.

Not much I could do about it, so I strapped up and kept on.

I swamped the canoe four times through the course of the afternoon.

Each time meant riding out the rapids (mostly submerged) until the river slowed enough to pull out.

The water temps were low and I lost heat every time I fell in. It was a bloody cold trip.

I was pleased to make camp and get a good fire going in order to dry some gear.

It started to rain steadily, and we retired early to get out of the weather.

My tent had lost all its waterproofing properties and dripped well until I threw my tarp over it.

Anthony spent a wet night as his bivvy tarp left him open to the elements.

I was damp, but my Roman sleeping bag kept me warm anyway.


We saw several wild brumbies grazing on the riverbanks.

Most were tiny in stature and looked as though they'd weathered a hard winter.

The condition of the brumbies seemed to improve the further downstream we travelled.



We stopped at West Kunderang Station for lunch and had a look around.

It was good to feel the sun and dry some gear out.

I spotted a few wild pigs not far from here.

The closer we go to Georges Junction, the more rapids funnelled into narrow chutes.

The water was visibly rising very fast, with the catchments upriver being inundated overnight.

I found it necessary to skirt the worst of the rapids to spare me the risk of drowning.

In the last stages of the trip my canoe ran into some flooded trees, filled and became wedged.

Anthony and I made a huge effort to point the canoe back into the current, and get it to shore.

We arrived at Georges Junction by about 4.30PM.

I was totally spent. We packed and drove up Jeogla to pick up Anthonys Hilux.

Considering how much time I'd spent in the water and recovering my canoe it was a very fast run.

We covered 50 kms from 8.30AM that morning, with stops for lunch and portage.

The cost of the trip was 2 drowned Fujifilm cameras, one broken Garmin Etrex GPS and a busted paddle.

And a bit of skin removed as well.

Did I enjoy it? Indeed I did.

Would I do it again? Yes of course. Sooner the better.

Monday, August 15, 2011