"Spring has definitely arrived," I thought to myself as we stepped out of the car at Tom Groggin. Birds were out, flowers were in bloom and it was warm in the sun, despite some spits of rain.
It had been a couple of weeks since we were here last. Jason and I managed to squeeze in four days in between work and university to take on the final four days of whitewater paddling - "The Gates".
We were driven down by my girlfriend Sasha and my roommate Hayley, who were amazing enough to give up a day to drive us down to the put in. It saved an epic car shuttle which put off many kayakers taking on the gates.
We chatted with them as we prepared our gear from the river. Thankfully, there would be no hiking this time so we could take a little more weight without it crushing our knees, and our spirits.
The first section of the day, Jason and I had paddled before, so we moved quite quickly once we got on the water. The river was really moving as well. In fact, when we pulled in for lunch, just two hours into paddling, we were already at our camp for the night. Not wanting to push on to the more difficult rapids today, we enjoyed an easy afternoon.
The next morning, we geared up for 'The Gates', a section of what was said to be grade IV whitewater. On one of the easier rapids, leading into the gates, I went for a swim, and with my drysuit not entirely zipped up, my thermals beneath were soaked for the rest of the day. I had bigger concerns though-- getting through 'The Gates.' 'The Gates' never really arrived though.
After a kilometre of Class III+ rapids, we turned the corner ready for the continuous whitewater to continue, but the gorge we had been paddling through opened back up. We did find a spot to set up the drone for some shots.
For each shot with the drone, I have to paddle down the river, pick up my boat and walk back up stream. Normally we do this for three flights, but Jason forgot to press record for two of the flights, so I paddled the same stretch five times.
I was damn tired, but "at least we have the footage for sure," I thought to myself. Only after the trip did Jason realized he actually was recording during all the flights. I suppose I'm owed a beer now, right?
We lost a little time doing the filming, so after a long day of paddling, we pulled up short of our planned campsite and stayed at Little Bunrock Creek-- a lovely little 4wd camp with no-one around.
During the evening, I laid on my back, looking at the silhouetted trees with potmarked clouds floating across the sky behind them. It felt like we were being left behind: the world turning without a care for us, sitting in the bush by ourselves. Many people find this daunting or depressing. I find comfort in it.
At that time I was worried about moving house, assessments and applications, but seeing the world still turning regardless, it puts all those things in perspective. "Enjoy yourself now," those clouds seemed to say. "Worrying can come later."