Sunday, April 22, 2012


After calling the usual suspects to see who was available to Packraft a grade 2-3 section of the Nepean river, I came up empty handed. Undeterred, I loaded my bike and gear into the car and headed to the take out point to drop the car off, then ride the 11 or so km to the put in.

The 10km paddle was the continuation of a previous paddle I'd run with Gus and Craig. According to the literature, it was supposed to be marginally easier than the upstream section. I was pleasantly surprised at some reasonable rapids and apart from the last 2 km of flat paddling, it was equal in quality and perhaps only differing in grade.

I enjoy the heightened sense of awareness that comes from doing solo trips for various reasons. The obvious safety aspect is more of an intuitive feeling which more often than not, occurs in milliseconds and is usually only digested and analysed after stressful and high pressure decision making. Rapids are scouted....a safe line is picked, but occasionally due to the nature of moving water, slight adjustments are made on the fly.

One paddle stroke made without the power required and the outcome can be drastically different to the one envisaged. This grey zone only narrows with experience and it's an element that not only fascinates me, but also forms part of the reason I enjoy the challenges of most outdoor activities I gravitate towards. If everything had a definitive outcome, then my interest would be little.

It's not danger that I seek, far from it and in fact I can say with absolute certainty, that my pursuits now in comparison to younger years are thorough and calculated. Another reason I enjoy the solo journey, is the decluttered mind space that allows simple and pure thinking. The beauty of nature seems to hit with full force, and with the aperture of my mind fully dilated, the small things that may otherwise be missed seem almost surreal. 

The recent high water left quite a bit of damage to the banks of the river, and it was disappointing to see so much rubbish due to the proximity of suburbia. The paddling was no disappointment though, with some decent white water and some long bouldery rapids.

So after an enjoyable half day bike loop and paddle, I was fully recharged for another week of mayhem as I merged back onto the freeway and headed home.

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