Day 53 – Paddling Uphill

Our last day on the river but a very tough one. We set out from the hut fairly late as we needed to time the tides today. About halfway through the day we’d be getting close enough to the ocean again that the tide would be pushing us back or pulling us forward. Unfortunately this meant we couldn’t set out until around noon, although it turned out we had no trouble sleeping in and eating snacks for the morning. We even pre-cooked lunch so it was ready later on the boat. We had about 50km to cover for the day and it was fairly benign conditions when we set out. Not to much sun, not a lot of wind, and a reasonably flowing river. After a couple turns we started facing aggressive headwinds and the rapids started to come less and less. We battled against this and an incoming tide (the tide comes in much later further up river, we were timing it for getting to the end) for three and a half hours before reaching our halfway point and lunch stop. We were exhausted but happy knowing we had less than what we’d just faced to go.

The start of the second half was just as bad and we progressed slowly but had about an hour or so of easy paddling after getting out of the valleys and into farmland area where the wind wasn’t as strong and funneled on the river. For most of the easy paddling we relied on the river to float us down, probably adding an hour to our journey but helping us relax and enjoy the river. The last hour was back to tough winds, a wavey river from the ocean and wind, and a lot of paddling directly into the sunlight. Eventually we hit our exit point which was a ramp leading up to a holiday park we’re camping at tonight. We repacked all of our gear, stored the canoe, and cleaned ourselves up.We’re back on our feet tomorrow and have a few days of road walking before really hitting the next big section. Thankfully we continue to pass through towns for these few days so hopefully we’ll be able to get fish and chips now we’re by the coast again.

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