Last weekend was a lot of fun. I hooked up with the Hutt Valley and Ruiahene clubs for a trip up to King Country. I packed into a van with six other people on Friday night and drove to Witomo, which is the caving center of the north island. It's a huge limestone area, and we stayed in a caver's lodge. Great place; not a lock in the place, everything is on the honor system. We stayed in these huge beds and cooked in the full kitchen, hung out in the lodge; it was great. On Saturday we paddled the Tawarau, a fairly small-volume III+. We had a huge crew; 20 people on the river, but for the most part we spaced things out nicely. We had a few portages, but as you can see, the scenery was great.
There were a few big drops that merited scouting, including this one, Bob's falls.
We had good lines for the most part; a few swims but nobody was hurt and nobody lost gear.
After we got back to the cars a few of us ran a technical rock garden, which was a lot of fun. Real tight moves and route-finding. One guy swam and so we had a 20 minute rescue (that's him getting into his boat in the background). It was a great rapid though; I would have loved a few more kilometers of the stuff.
On Sunday we ran the Mokau, a big water III+. The scenery wasn't nearly as good, but the rapids were a lot better. Generally more technical, pushier, and more fun. I got tossed around in my little rad a bit, but it wasn't too bad.
This is the first major rapid, Little Huka. Lots of fun.
Later, this is me rolling back up in what's maybe the most consequential rapid. I got my tail caught on the first pourover and back-endered. The rocks to the right of my boat are undercut; a swim could have been ugly. Everything was pushing through pretty well though, and I hit my roll and continued on. The last major rapid had a big hole that we had to punch; I hit it well but I saw one guy in an Inazone get a major working. He swam, but he earned it.
We then headed home, taking a wrong turn which lead us past the ocean. That was fine by me, it allowed me to see more of the island. I wanted to get out and suf, but most of the rest of the crew had creekboats so they weren't so keen. Maybe in a few weeks.