News & Events
A Big Tale
Finally some rain and with Doherty’s gauge on the Goulburn showing 1.3 the Big was the river of choice. Meeting at Thornton were some new faces, Ray, Steve and Shane, and Ian and some old faces, Brendan, Jimmy and Kesjan and Suzan. I was glad to see a couple of four wheel drives amongst the vehicles, including Shane’s monster.
We headed down to Dudley’s Flat to leave a car at the end. We dropped another at the Big River Bridge in case we needed it and drove on the Chaffee’s Creek, with a short stop to retie a wayward boat. At Chaffee’s we were expecting Mick to be waiting for us. He wasn’t there. He was to be camping along the Big, but where was he?
We continued on to Railway Creek. The road down to the river look like bulldozers had had a go at it. There were big bumps that tested the clearance of Jimmy’s new Volvo! The recent rain had made the surface muddy and slippery. Ray’s Commodore made it down but would it make it out again?
We took to the river. It was the best level I’ve seen for years. There were waves to make it interesting and some fun rapids to play in. Playing at ‘the weir’ rapid was Ian’s undoing but he was soon back in his boat.
There was evidence of the recent bushfires. Burnt out patches were visible on the valley sides and at times along the river. There was also evidence of bulldozers crossing the river and ripping up the bank in order to attach spot fires. Erosion could be a problem in these spots.
We reached Chaffee’s for lunch. As we sat eating Mick and Anne arrived. Mick had been waiting at Big River Bridge where he’s camped. He quickly got ready to paddle. Now we were 10! Back to the river. The lack of a warm up affected Mick and he successfully executed the first half of a roll but not the second half. These blokes always pick a good play spot to go swimming!
At the Big River Bridge Mick, after advice from Jimmy, asked Anne to meet us at the get out, which she would recognize by the two vehicles left there. We reached the Elbow Rapid and the good level made it nice and swirly. Steve felt the full effects and mentioned something about hitting his funny bone! Then it was a short paddle to the end at Dudley’s Flat.
But where was Anne? Of course there was only one car left at the end so Anne had been and gone believing it was the wrong spot. The drivers jumped into Kesjan’s car just as Anne arrived. The drivers headed off to pick up the cars at the top. It was then we realized that Ray, the owner of the Commodore at the put in was still with us and not in the car going to the top! He had mistakenly thought that Mick was going to head to the top also. Mick, with Ray aboard, headed off after Kesjan’s car. The next thing the drivers are back. Jimmy couldn’t find his keys and thought he’d left them on his boat. The drivers left again.
While we waited for the shufflers we used Mick and Ian’s cars to move all the boats and gear to Mick and Anne’s camp at the bridge. The fire was going and Anne had a big pot of tomato and vegetable soup on the go. The drivers seemed to be taking along time but the soup was going down well. Eventually they arrived. They’d had problems with Ray’s Commodore and in the end Shane’s monster had towed it up to the main road. And so ended a Big tale!