Hay to Maude

Hay to Maude (20-23 April 2006, 106km)

Rod, David and I paddled this 106 km section with relatively low flows of 400-500 Ml/day at Hay Weir and about 400 Ml/day at Maude Weir. We drove to Hay via Junee on the Wednesday afternoon taking 7 hours including lunch at Gundagai and coffee at Narrandera. We stayed the night at the Hay Caravan Park.

Thursday 20 April 2006

It was a windy night with strong gusts at about 3 am but by sunrise the wind had eased. We launched, at 9:20 am, from the end of the road that runs along the side of the caravan park (this was our exit point the previous September). We had a break after 7.0 km at 10:30 am and lunch at 15.6 km at 12:10 pm. By now the wind had increased (although not too strong for paddling) and it was cool in the shade. After lunch we took a shortcut thru an interesting snaggy creek at 17.0 km which saved us a couple kilometers of paddling but probably not much time since most of the 600 metres involved negotiating snags. We had another break at 23 km and arrivedat Hay Weir (29 km) at 3:50 pm. Hay Weir provides for an interesting wetland area that would be worthwhile for a few hours of paddling exploring the side creeks and billabongs. We used the trolley to take the loaded kayaks up to the picnic area which included toilets, table and shelter with a rain water tank. We pitched our tents on the green grass carefully placing our kayaks over the popup sprinklers in case they came on during the night (which they did). I cooked a packet of Continental Rice over the fire. It was rather nice.

Friday 21 April 2006

Again the wind came up during the night and at around 6:30 am there was a brief shower of rain. We used the trolley again to take the loaded kayaks to a suitable launch spot below the weir about 400 metres from the picnic area. This process was time consuming since there was only one kayak trolley and it probably would have been just as quick to take the empty kayaks and then the gear separately so that all three of us could have been involved at the same time. We launched at 9:00 am into a snaggy river with banks about 5 metres high in marked contrast to yesterday afternoons paddling. There was a current of 1-2 km/h but this was counteracted by the fairly strong SW headwind (in parts) and the need to paddle around snags and shallow sections. However, there were frequent sandy beaches. We had a break at 36km and then encountered a small race at about 37 km just after “Benduck” which was no problem paddling through. At the western end of Pevensey Reserve we spent some time negotiating a snaggy area and then had a break at a warm, north facing beach at 42 km. Here I climbed the bank, looked down at the river and I was surprised at how small the kayaks and Rod and David look from so high up (Figure 34). We had lunch at 47.5 km at 12:25 pm and then another break at 55.5 km at 2:40 pm. At 3:50 pm we found a campsite in Abercrombie Reserve at about 60.5 km on a firm, muddy west facing beach. That made for 31.5 km paddled for the day. I had a packet of Tortolini cooked over the fire and added peas and parmesan cheese to it – yummy. We went to bed at 8 pm and it was a cold night of about 2 degrees and record low temperatures for April in many areas across NSW.

Saturday 22 April 2006

We started packing at 6:00 am with the aim of launching at 8am but our plans are foiled by having breakfast around the campfire with no one wanting to leave it on such a cool morning. Nevertheless there were nice reflections on the river. We launched at 8:50 am and at about 66 km we passed an old homestead “Toogimbie” which appears to have the remains of an old wharf on the bank. This comprised old, large, vertical logs coming out of the bank. Perhaps it is a relic of the paddle steamer days. It was a beautiful sunny day with light winds. We had a break at 68.7 km and an early lunch at 77.6 km at 11:45 am. By now it had become cloudy and there was a bit of a breeze so I boil some water for a cup-a-soup for myself and David so we could keep warm while we waited for Rod to arrive. Since our campsite at Abercombie reserve, the river has been under the influence of Maude Weir. The water is deeper, there is almost no current and there is not much problem with snags. We had another break at 86.5 km and then camped on the point at 96.0 km arriving at 4:05 pm after paddling 35.5 km in just over 7 hours. There were a number of shacks along the river including one across from our camp site. There were many large trees here but we found good sites in amongst them. The view across the river was remarkable as we look across the vast Hay Plain. Here, like most of the trip so far, there is CDMA reception but a bit stronger here than along most parts of the river. I cooked a single serve pack of San Remo La Pasta Creamy Bacon Carbonara-For-One with peas and parmesan – yummy again. It was another cold night but a couple degrees warmer than the previous night.

Sunday 23 April 2006

We started packing at 6:00 am with the aim of launching at 8am and achieve this goal this time (without a camp fire). We aim to paddle the 10.6 km to Maude weir in one go. It’s a cloudy morning after a sunny start but there were beautiful reflections on the river. We arrived at Maude Weir at 9:35 am but there was no convenient exit point so we back track about 500 metres to a spot (GPS Reference 252826, 181331) that I had found on driving home from an earlier Murray River kayak trip. This was on the left hand side of the river and was a 10 minute brisk walk along a dirt track and over the road bridge to the telephone box outside the Maude Store. I rang Ron from the Hay Caravan Park who had kindly offered to drive my car down to Maude to pick up Rod and I so that we could retrieve his car from Hay and return to Maude to pack up the gear. Ron said that he could have arranged for both cars to be delivered to Maude. We offered payment to Ron for his services but he refused so we buy him a bottle of wine instead. David and I then returned to Hay for a quick lunch, departed there at 2:00 pm, had dinner at Gundagai (via Wagga) and arrived home at 9:00 pm.