Och aye, a wee paddle down these mean creeks, a tributary of a tributary of the Buller, between the upper upper Matakitaki and the lower upper Matakitaki, lies the Glenroy -- the trendy new river of the year.
Jumping at the chance to paddle a river that even Mike Savory hadn't, a multitude of kids crammed into Joe Wilson's truck and spilled over into Sarah McCrae's car - a sly move by Bill Thompson perhaps? Between intermittent showers we changed and entered a diverse array of different designs, from whiplashes to pirouettes, then plunged into the mouth of a tree lined gorge. The offing was barred by the black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky seeming to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.
A sweet little surfing wave marks the start of the gorge. Bouldery rapids with tight eddies follow on to the first serious rapid, marked by a slip on the left hand bank. A chute leads to a drop complicated with a log a little way underwater. Everyone muddled their way down OK, although there were a couple of dodgy scrapes.
Little rapids continued, generally uneventful until we reached the big drop. The huge mother at the end of the river. At least I was hoping that this was it, otherwise there was something worse further on. This, I decided was enough for me on that ill-fated day.
The rapid had a rather turburlent run in to a drop with a stopper, a tongue fed through but was darkened by an ominous underwater rock. This was followed by a few rocks midstream and a filter below. We scouted and scouted and scouted.
Joe Wilson opted for the chicken chute. A small chute onto a flat rock then a sideways drop into a small pool between other rocks. Rohan followed. Timon made the main drop look easy six inches to the right of the rock. Bill dropped in then stopped - things got a bit tense, but he paddled out OK. Paul ran into the big rock, putting a hole in the nose of his rather new Super Sport. I paddled out and started getting shoved around. By the time I had straightened out I was on the brink of the drop with almost no speed. Anyway, I was in the right place more by luck than judgement, and paddled through a bit to the right of the rock. Mark was the last to come through and attempted the chicken chute, missed it and ended up going over the main drop backwards. Better than sideways I suppose! He made it through then got caught up in the filter, but grovelled his way through somehow.
A few small rapids then the bridge burst into sight offering deliverance from the river -- a sweet creek well worth a bit of scouting.
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