Jugiong-Gundagai (14-15 February 2004, 70 km)
Saturday 14 February 2004
At 8:00 am we met at Jugiong a few hundred metres to the west of the bridge over the Murrumbidgee where we had to carry over kayaks down a steep bank to the waters edge. There were quite a few exposed sand banks due to low water level. Water was being released from Burrinjuck Dam at a rate of about 710 Ml/day compared to a few days earlier when the release rate was about 4000 Ml/day. Large releases from Burrinjuck are sporadic compared to Blowering which seems to release at least 7000 Ml/day all through summer when not in drought.
We did the car shuffle to Gobarralong Reserve (about 10km off the Hume Highway from Coolac) in about one hour which included about 10 minutes finding the entrance to the reserve. The reserve is basically an unlocked paddock. We started paddling at 9:50 am encountering shallow rocky races along the way. Just before the 15 km mark I spotted a platypus swimming in the middle of the river. At about the 15 km mark we had lunch just below a set of rocks which extended either side of a small island. Its best to keep to the extreme right of the rocks in low water conditions. During lunch we had a well earned swim to cool off since it was a hot day. About half an hour further on some people had an enforced swim when they capsized at another set of rapids. At the 30 km mark we had another swim next to a reserve that was covered in casurinas and which would make a good campsite for a future canoe based camping trip. By now it was late afternoon and very hot. We reached Gobarralong Reserve at 6:30 pm and landed at the western end of the paddock where there was easier access up the bank. The tally for the day was 37 km. It was about 8:00 pm by the time I had returned from the car shuffle (having a couple pies at Coolac on the way). It had been a hot day (41oC) and a hot night was to follow (23oC).
Sunday 15 February 2004
The next morning we were able to do the car shuffle to Gundagai with all of the cars of the paddlers being left at the North Gundagai Boat Ramp (some people were not paddling today). We were on the water by 9:20 am and had our first stop at Sandy Falls about 50 minutes later. Again the reserve was no more than a cow paddock. We continued on and had lunch at the Tumut River junction. The Tumut was flowing a lot faster than the Murrumbidgee and it was quite a bit colder - very refreshing on a hot day. The air above the river even felt cooler. We finished the final 22 km at a rate of 10 km/h. This made a tally of 33 km for the day and 70 km for the weekend. We arrived at our cars at 3:40 pm and back home in Canberra at 7:00 pm.