Goulburn Grail, Stages 3 & 4 - Molesworth to Ghin Ghin to Trawool
Into the flatter lands travelled a large cohort of enthusiastic grailleurs for this, the second weekend. Fortunately, river levels had rebounded in the absence of rain and thus increased irrigation flows. The turbidity of our last weekend largely cleared and we enjoyed cool clear water with current at perhaps 4km per hour.
Terrain traversed varied from eroded (cattle and sheep) river banks, all species of willow (pussy, crack and weeping) and blackberry, to relatively “pristine” hill slopes with remnant native vegetation. While we encountered some platypus and a modest variety of birdlife, we also saw deer and foxes. I would say that native wildlife was less abundant this time around but sufficient to keep our attention for the occasional flash of blue (sacred Kingfisher) or nankeen (night herons).
Paddling was generally uneventful and easy, with most in two man kayaks or canoes. One potentially nasty steeper section with water flow over a trunk preceding a dangerous impassable fallen tree with water flow through and under necessitated our only portage. On several occasions, alternate routes offered differing opportunities meandering along lesser channels, or on one occasion, the option of slightly more challenging negotiation. The mostly sandy/clay river banks were replaced at one point by large granite boulders mid-stream. I dreamt of the great eddies, stoppers and pressure (standing) waves they would generate in a serious flood. At this level they provide sunbaking opportunities and a nice change in the river structure. Another day might see us perched on top, champagne and caviar for lunch!
Jamie and Ross offered us their expertise on riparian status and assessment of river health. We each bring something different on any journey, and these insights and stories add immeasurably to the experience.
Another highlight this time: a range of accommodations, pizza toppings and delicious desserts. Thanks to Trawool Cottages and Clyde Cottage.
While there is a certain sameness to the beginning of the flatter sections, each displays its unique aspects and offers enough diversity to capture and maintain one’s interest. While I frequently ponder what it might have been like in pre-European times, others do their own thing, lose themselves in the mindlessness (or mindfulness) that the rhythm of paddling brings, only to be interrupted by an esoteric or philosophic, or not so, discussion.
We look forward to discover what the next sections bring, trialling different boats, and experiencing some of the fringe benefit that such a grail generates.
Stage 3 - photos, map & stats
The stats are:
- Date - Saturday 20 February 2021
- Distance 28.3 km, from Molesworth Reserve Chainage 178.6 km to Ghin Ghin Reserve Chainage 206.9 km (Chainage is the distance downstream from Woods Point)
- Time taken 6:10 hrs (4.6 km/hr), about 4:17 hrs p
addling (paddling speed approx. 6.8 km/hr)
- River Gauge Height (Goulburn River at Trawool, Stn. No. 405201) = 1.242m
- 10 boats ,16 paddlers: Jamie and Jane, Gin and Pete, Ross and Sara, Gavin and Jen, Mick and Clare, Bloggs and Gigi, Phil and Bev, Thomo and Kath, Al, and Donna .
Stage 4 - photos, map & stats
The stats are:
- Date - Sunday 21 February 2021
- Distance 27 km, from Ghin Ghin Reserve Chainage 206.9 km to Trawool Bridge Chainage 233.9 (Chainage is the distance downstream from Woods Point)
- Time taken 5:50 hrs (4.6 km/hr), about 4:10 hrs paddling (paddling speed approx. 6.5 km/hr)
- River Gauge Height (Goulburn River at Trawool, Stn. No. 405201) = 1.299m