24/02/2008 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Steve Thomsen, Lou Clifton, Terry Eggington, Linda Eggington, Elaine Prior, Graeme Milton, Mark, Todd, Arnold
The Colo River is a wonderful, unique place.
We all met up at the Colo Riverside Park at various times before and after eight in the morning. The Park seemed to be undergoing renovations, to the disappointment of those who thought they would be able to get a coffee. A bit of car consolidation followed and we set off for the Grassy Hill Fire Trail. Linda and Terry's car waited around for their friend Graeme at the start while the rest of us headed out to the car park. The car park was already fairly full, but we managed to squeeze another four cars in somehow. After a fair bit of pfaff we set off down a fairly open spur into the top of the creek. Once in the creek we spent a little while tangling with lawyer vine hidden among thick ferns and other vegetation. Thankfully this didn't last long and we made reasonable progress down a bouldery creek.
Soon we reached the junction with a larger creek, which was quite dry. We jokingly commented that it would be a tough day's liloing down this. I asked Steve how far to the Colo, and he said about twenty minutes. About half an hour later we reached a pleasant spot for a break, and I borrowed Terry's map. Looked like about the same distance again to the Colo as we had come from the junction. In practice it took us longer as the creek started to drop more steeply. Some impassable waterfalls followed, and we were forced to traverse above the creek to bypass them. It was a little after one by the time we hit the sandy banks of the Colo and had a break for lunch.
Lilos were inflated. Mark had been unable to find rubberised cotton ones for Todd and Arnold, and they had plastic ones that I was sure would pop at the slightest hint of a sharp stick. Off we floated, at a reasonable clip given that the Colo was flowing quite strongly. The weather was just perfect on the water - warm in the sun but not too hot. A pleasant little rapid gave an exciting ride before we reached the first larger rapid. Carnage ensued! Perhaps a bit of scouting was in order. Most of us who went down got dumped off our lilos. Terry lost a digital camera, Steve lost his sunnies and Elaine her hat. Linda had a fight with her lilo to stop it from pushing her under.
I found Elaine's hat some distance downstream, but no sign of the other lost items. The remaining rapids were treated with a little more caution. We did a reccie on all but the most placid looking ones. Graeme seemed to be the champion, managing to get through some tricky ones even though he appeared to be asleep. Mark, Todd and Arnold put their bodies on the line, Mark descending several with his lilo floating beside him. Arnold had a head clash with a rock and bypassed the latter ones. The final section to Canoe Creek was great, one long series of fast flowing mini rapids. Great fun, just as the sun left us for the day.
That just left us to pack up and ascend back to the cars. Dusk was falling as we hit the fire trail, and the last bit back to the cars was in the dark. Unsurprisingly the other cars were all gone. An excellent day in an excellent part of the world. Thanks to Steve for organising.