Hay to Maude
Hay to Maude, 107 km, 3 days
Wed 2 Feb, 55 km cycle and 28 km paddle
Stay overnight at Hay Caravan Park. In the morning drive the car to Maude, leave it in the caravan park, and ride my bike back to Hay CP. 3 hours riding for 55 km with a strong southerly crosswind. Fortunately, it is cool with forecast maximums in the high 20s for the next few days. Lunch and a shower in the cabin and take the kayak and gear to the river at the end of Boon St. Leave my bike in the shed at the CP. Launch and paddle thru' the trees to get to the river at about 1:30 pm. The river is higher than when I arrived here last November but it has been falling in recent days. Paddle non-stop to Hay Weir arriving at 5:30 pm. Southerlies are not much of a problem. Make camp on the north bank just up from a make-shift boat ramp on the right bank. I pitch my tent next to a concrete slab which gives me a clean area for cooking. A few flies about and the only mozzies appear around dusk. No one else here. The flow downstream of Hay Weir is about 15,000 Ml/day having decreased from a peak of about 22,000 Ml/day in the past 5 days. This is a decrease in river height of about 1.6 metres.
Thu 3 Feb, 52 km
Portage on good track a couple hundred metres to a gently sloping bank to launch at 7:40 am. The two metres to the waters edge is slippery to the falling water level. Paddle to the 80 km mark having a few brief stops to stretch the legs. Lots of noisy pumps operating. Just before 3 pm I decide to camp at the shack on the outside bend. The creek is flowing into the river (probably draining from the swamps as the river level falls) and I paddle up it about 20 m to a spot where I can disembark. Set up tent next to shack to get shade. Lots of little flies such that I use my flynet. A large lace monitor wanders past and climbs a nearby tree. Another moniter does the same. I hang up my food in the shack. Spoonbills, ibis's and herons feeding in the creek in the late afternoon.
Fri 4 Feb, 27 km
Depart at 7:40 am. River had dropped another 30 cm or so. Launch kayak into creek using piece of carpet on the muddy bank. Paddle non-stop to Maude Weir. I was able to paddle under the weir gates which saved me a portage. Arrive at the bridge at about 11 am. When I am loaded up and about to leave, Alan Davison, who has just completed paddling the Lachlan from Cowra (see https://etaunknown.com/expeditions/lachlan-river), rings and says he is downstream of Redbank Weir and heading for Balranald expecting to arrive at 5 pm or so. Perfect timing for me to get settled in at Balranald CP before he arrives.
Gundagai to Wagga 125 km, 4 days
Wagga to Narrandera 210 km, 5 days
Narrandera to Hay 315 km, 9 days (including 1 rest day)
Hay to Maude 107 km, 3 days
Maude to Balranald 180 km, 6 days
Balranald to Murray River 116 km, 5 days