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The Wanganui River Conclusion

Plus A Sprained Ankle

semi-overcast 20 °C

The second day of the journey we woke early with every one else, ate our breakfast and prepared our canoe. It was about a three and a half hour paddle to the stop for the bridge to nowhere hiking trail. It was hard pulling up to the "dock" due to it being a steep and slippery rock. We eventually made it up though, changed into our hiking shoes, and prepared for the 45 minute hike to the bridge to nowhere.

We had lunch first and then began our hike. On the way to the bridge to nowhere we had to pass a very frightening swing bridge, which to be honest, was more impressive then the bridge to nowhere. But to be fair - we didn't get to hear the story behind the bridge to nowhere, so perhaps if we had we would have been more in awe.

We arrived *almost* to the bridge to nowhere. We went to a nearby lookout. From there we could see the bridge to nowhere - which clearly went somewhere.


On the hike back to the canoe, I had the brilliant blonde idea to run back. We were not far from the trail head, and I was bored to death of the hike. So I started running, and everything was going rather well until I started slowing down. I guess since I was about to stop, I quit paying attention to my footing and stepped wrongly onto a tree root. The resulting grade 2 sprained ankle required James to help me to walk the rest of the way, and made getting back down that slippery steep rock to the canoe very difficult indeed.

The rest of the paddle to the next hut I periodically kept my foot in the river as a way of icing it, which was very effective in keeping the swelling down.

We eventually made it to the hut and carried our barrels up to the hut. That night another of the Belgian guys helped taped up my ankle and I hobbled around all evening until I passed out super early to have one of the best sleeps of my life.

The next day we slept in a bit and in effect were the last to leave the hut. This didn't matter much however, because James and I are a great paddling team and we soon passed a bunch of the others.


After playing "pirates" with Ian the Canadian in the kayak we relaxed into a nice game of "if you had to listen to one spice girls song on repeat for the rest of your life, which would you choose?" Jen, due to a lack of spice girl knowledge (which I think is impossible for anyone barely conscious during the nineties and I think she only made this claim to appear cool) chose "wannabe" and instantly regretted it. The rest of us made the wise decision of "stop right now." The best part of the game was, thirty minutes later, overtaking Ian yet again to find that he was singing "stop right now" to himself, while drifting along in the current in his kayak.

The final day had the most challenging rapids. At one point, we hit a very shallow area in the middle of the rapids and ended up "beached as" in the middle of the rapid. The force of the water, spun us around backwards and tossed us around a bit as we tried to dislodge ourselves. We made it ow without any mishaps, but I was shaken up a bit. The last thing I wanted with a busted ankle, was to get toppled over into some rocks.

At another point in the journey we almost flipped the canoe as well. We were in a rapid that had large pressure waves coming off the side of the gorge. At one point our canoe was about to flip but we managed to right it by shifting our body weight at the right moment.

Alas, despite all the practice, we did flip the canoe in the end. At an embarrassing 150 metres from the end point of the journey where the guy was waiting to fetch us. It was at a point where two sets of rapids were really close to each other. The first rapid we had to enter right, and the canoe took on quite a bit of water. Water in the canoe makes you less stable, but due to the close proximity of the next rapid, and the fact that it was enter left - we did not have time to bail the water. This made us extra unstable and right when we were almost out of the rapids, a large wave came and flipped us.

I amazingly enough, kept my hair dry.

There were no injuries in our little swim, and we didn't lose any possessions either, so I guess it wasn't so bad. Although at the time, I have to admit, I was pretty freaked out.


Posted by Jadabond 22:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand canoe wanganui great_walk

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i am amazed that you can always keep your hair dry when you get flipped into the water.

by donna johnston

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