Author: Mr A
To: Lane Poole Reserve
Distance: Driven – 120km Riden 15km
When the cat’s away…Mr A gets to play with his toys…on this occasion his packraft and fat bike. Mrs A is in the US and Miss Tassie (our Burmese cat) doesn’t fly until next Wednesday. I had a few days to go off exploring. I had read about an area a 90 minute drive south-east of Perth that had some white water paddling and also great off road biking tracks.
I headed off in the car with camping gear as the Zone is getting some repairs done in Perth. The landscape changed dramatically, forested hills and lush valleys. I’d booked a camp site in the Lane Poole Reserve, 50,000 hectares of outdoor playground with a river winding through jarrah trees and miles of walking and biking trails.
Up went the “Norman No Mates” little hike tent. and I jumped on the bike to scope out what the paddling would be like. Wow…some stretches of flat water interspersed with rapids of varying sizes. This looked interesting! I’d not taken the packraft out on anything like this before.
From: Charlie’s Flat, Lane Poole Reseve
To: Yarragil, Murray River
Distance: Driven 8km. Paddled 12km. Cycled 20km
It was time to test my metal in some white water. I drove upstream and parked the car, the plan being to paddle down to my camp, jump on the bike and ride back to collect it. I was soon in the water and heading downstream at a fair rate of knots in the strong current. My first little rapid and all was good. I had decided to leave the spray skirt off, trading ease of egress should I be tipped, with the downside of getting some water in the boat. Following the paddling map I soon heard the roar of the “only for the experienced white water canoeist” rapid, and decided as I was on my own, with no helmet, I better portage this one. With a 3.5 kg boat that’s easy. The next rapid was pretty bouncy, but the little boat just bounced over the white water like a wild thing…great fun…some adrenaline released!
I only saw a couple of other boats on the water, and watched a family coming down the rapid behind me…no one looked in control and sure enough dad and his son tipped in. I rushed over as I hadn’t seen the son come up, he was trapped under the boat briefly and then popped out not a happy little chappy. I helped get him out of the water and calmed him down. He probably won’t take a deep bath for a while. And so that’s how people drown, no skills, no risk assessment, just jumped in and went down with no clue how to keep the boat going the right direction.
I was at camp by lunch so drove down steam and left the bike and then paddled down, deflated the raft and strapped it on the rack and cycled back. These boats are so flexible, people just don’t know about them.