Ovens Odyssey Stage 13 - Harrietville to Smoko
Updated: Jan 5, 2022
We finally got back to the Odyssey after 11 months due to low water levels through the 2019-20 summer and then COVID restrictions. This upper most reach of the Ovens River (Harrietville to Bright) has been a bit of a mystery as no-one I knew had paddled it. The parts of this reach I'd checked out prior to the paddle looked pretty hazardous, with a lot of overhanging willows, fringing blackberry and debris jams. So we were pretty cautious and respectful of this upper reach, needing enough water to paddle it, but not so deep and fast as to be difficult to negotiate the aforementioned hazards. We finally got some reasonable weather, good water levels and an easing of COVID restrictions so we went for it!
The stats were:
- The 13th stage of the Ovens Odyssey was paddled on the 1st October 2020
- 14 km (Ch:0 to Ch:14)
- Time taken 4:50 hrs (with much time spent portaging blockages) 2.8km/hr average.
- River Gauge Height - 1.57m at Harrietville
- 2 paddlers (Jamie and Pete) in 2 kayaks
- Supported by Jane, with cameo appearances from Georgia and Maggie
- Treacherous reach, need to be very wary and prepared for blockages, overhanging logs and willows. THIS IS NOT A SUITABLE REACH FOR INEXPERIECED PADDLERS.
- Numerous portages (~12) during this stage.