This weekend I learnt several important things about rivers and life. Life is more enjoyable above the river than hanging upside down beneath it!
I decided to join the Auckland Uni Canoe Club (AUCC) this year to get on some wild rivers and experience the thrill of white water kayaking for myself. It has been too long thinking about it, and now after jumping into the Aniwhenua River and letting the current take me away, I'm looking forward to the new adventure. I had an interest in Dragon-boating for a time, but never pursued it. Until now.
|Rafting the Rangitaiki|
Beyond Rotorua you venture into thick country. Classic North Island outback where the most popular past time is heading out to the bush to hunt wild pigs. As our van and trailer-load of kayaking gear bustled into the bush just out of Murupara I half expected to bump into Sjors Corporaal running along the forest road with a boar carcass on his back.
Instead, a massive windfall from last week's storm had plummeted exactly twenty-six thick pine trees across the entrance road to the Rangitaiki River. Our plan to raft down the grade 2-3 mid-section of the rampant Rangi was now foiled, no-one was game enough to try carrying the 40kg plastic inflatables down the mile-long obstacle course. We retreated to the Aniwhenua to salvage the day.
|Thrown into the deep end|
Reacquainted mate after 6 years, Scott Osborne was one of the first in, fortune had it that he flipped over as soon as his kayak plunged into the boils. The stage was his as he busted out a clean roll to show its done.
|Rafting up before hitting the first rapids|
|A river rat infiltrates Richard's kayak!|
|Out of the red zone, relaxing, right way up|
I revelled in the new experiences that I'd had on the Aniwhenua. The moments that follow overcoming personal boundaries are always the best. It was awesome to get to know a whole new club - AUCC are a great lot and I'll be back for more white-water this easter for their most remote trip to the Mohaka River near Napier. Four days away camping in real North Island wilderness, I can hardly wait.
|A taste of the Mohaka...|