I love it, when a plan come together
After looking at paddling on Broken River for the last couple of years, the stars finally lined up on the Easter weekend. We needed:
- A long weekend and permission to leave our families.
- The right amount of water.
- The prospect of reasonable weather.
- The correct kayaks and equipment for the overnight paddle.
The only thing we were short on were willing paddlers. Most of the usual candidates found other things to do, so it was up to Steve and I to go on into the uncharted waters alone. Not ideal as far as safety goes, but it turned out a great trip. With the help of Darryl Voss who although he couldn’t come with us volunteered to drop us off at the start and pick us up at the finish. Thanks Darryl. So about 8:45am Friday morning we headed off from the picnic ground at Platipus Bridge.
We were off to discover Broken River
It wasn’t more than 30 meters before we came across our first rapid with a small drop of about half a meter and then into the next pond. This section of the river is fairly open forest country with successive pond of 50 – 100 meters long ending in a rapid of varying sizes. Mostly these rapids were fairly small and easy to negotiate. They ranged from a small gravel run or a small 1 meter drop to a mash of fallen timber strewn across the water way or a number of drops connected together. The level of water we paddled at was measured at .78m at the Racecourse measuring station. This meant that many of the drops that we came to, we would paddle up to the ledge, rock over the edge and drop into the pond below.
It must have quite a surprise to many of the campers we past before the Diggings to see this couple of kayakers paddle past. Some of the campers were set up very well with large tents, bar-b-ques, tent our houses and generators going. Other young ones had the music blaring and the trail bikes revving. So much for the peace and quite of the bush.
Past the Diggings
Once we were past the Diggings camp sites the spectators thinned out and the river started to become a little steeper. The rapids were closer together and there more drops in each rapid. About one and a half kilometers past the Diggings we came to our first major obstacle. The Cascade falls is a series of drops one after the other totalling about 17meters. This one we got out of our kayaks and climbed around. We slide our kayaks down over one ledge with ropes and then climbed down to retrieve them. There are some good photos of the Cascade Falls in the You Tube Video below. A couple kilometers on we stopped for a smoko break. While we were stopped I told Steve I thought the river would flatten out now. I was wrong.
One Look Rapid
After our break the river began to become steeper again. For about 100 meters there were these drops of about a meter one after the other until we came to an horizon where we weren’t going to paddle any further. It was time to get out of our kayaks and have a look. This was a scary one, we were definitely walking around this one. We were just in ore looking at it. There was a log 3 meters long and about a meter in diameter balance on a large rock 5 meters above our water line. Amazing power of water that would have been coming through then to put that log where it was. The portage around was a 100mters long and took 2 trips carrying the loaded kayaks. We certainly needed and rest, a swim and an orange after that one.
Soon after that the river started to level out with longer ponds and smaller rapids in between. Although there was still a lot of timber that had been washed up against the trees on the bank or across the water flow. Some times the logs were low enough in the water we could paddle over them, other times we could paddle around or through them.
Where should we camp?
By mid afternoon we were making really good time and I was starting to think if we don’t stop soon we won’t have any paddling to do tomorrow. We were still feeling good and it was so interesting paddling, we didn’t want to stop. We were always wondering what is around the next corner and what does the next rapid look like, so we kept on paddling.
Soon we came to the Racecourse water level station and the cattle yards that we had walked up to 2 years previous. This meant we were not too far away from our get out point. But the river was all different, the previous year when we had paddled up to the end of the Eungella dam, the water had been 20 feet lower. This section of the river was ponds and gravel runs. Now it was flat water. Sure enough another kilometer on and we had arrived at out get out point, 23 hours early.
Waiting for our pick up.
4 o’clock Friday afternoon, it was too late to organize a pick up and besides we were looking forward to camping overnight. So we set up camp and sat around discussing the days events and our surprise at arriving so early. After tea, it was an early night to bed. The next morning we decided not to wait until 3:00pm so we packed up camp after breakfast and carried the kayaks the 20 meters up to the road and I was lucky enough to hitch a ride back into Eungella township and pick up my car. After ringing Darryl and telling him the news I went back and picked up Steve and the kayaks and we travelled home.