Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Wanganui River Adventure and Bridge to Nowhere

A few weeks ago, Laura, Caron, Scott, little Owen, and I had a adventure! We started a Sunday morning off early at 7am with a three hour drive up the Wanganui river road to a small town of Pipiriki--end of the road. Then we caught a jet boat for an hour up the river to a landing to the Bridge to Nowhere. We disembarked with our backpacks(with lunch and supplies) for a 40 minute hike through the Bush to find a beautiful stone and concrete bridge spanning the gorge and river--but no road into or out of the area, just a hiking trail leading to and from the bridge. We had our lunch on the bridge, took pictures, and was told the story. The land was leased to the returning soldiers from WWI for farming. But after clearing the mountains the topsoil was washed away and they couldnot farm the land. This was after the government had build the bridge and roads to the area in the NZ Bush. So the farmers left in the late 1930's and the road and land was allowed to return to it natural state, thus the Bridge to Nowhere! After lunch and the hike back we were dropped off and given canoes to meander down the Wanganui River to Pipiriki. The true adventure starts!! I have never been in a canoe, and I do not swim (thank God for the life jacket). There are two graded rapids and several smaller ones on the return. Fear!! Thankfully Laura had been in a canoe at least once or twice before, she was the captain I just paddeled like hell when we hit the rapids. We actually did very well navigating the river. Except for the largest rapids when we took on a lot of water. Laura was sitting in the back with water up to her ass yelling we have got to stop and drain/bail out the ship before we sink. We beached and flipped the canoe and was on our way again(without our bottled water forgotten on the shore). But...Scott, Caron, and little Owen did not make it so successfully. Little Owen got to "go kick, kick" in the big river along with Mom and Dad. Luckily a group of women--experienced canoeists saved the day with dry clothes for the little fellow and help retrieveing the canoe, paddles, shoes, etc. We were no help because we were trying to find a spot to beach our canoe!! But, little Owen then slept quietly the rest of the trip.
The bottle of home made Sangria I lugged up to the Bridge and did not have for lunch was finished off in the car on the return trip by Laura and I (since we had no water for the four hour return trip in the sun). Damn I slept well that night!

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