December long weekend was looming without a trip in sight till Adrian vroomed to the rescue and we packed at 5am one Saturday morning. And then waited for Paul to return to Jhb ‘cause he thought we’d left without him and was halfway to Dullstroom. It was an unusually quiet trip down - Paul and Taryn were sleeping off their respective hangovers (the garage attendants needed reassuring that they were actually alive despite their funny green colour and utter immobility) and Heidi was talking to Adrian in his bakkie. Hitching back from the takeout point Adrian used his most persuasive pilot’s voice to persuade a lost bakkie driver to go miles out of his way and presumably get even more lost. An oke trying to buy dope and an hour under a tree yakking to the locals saw us packed into an already full taxi and we were on the river just after lunch.
Adrian had persuaded Heidi that it was an easy grade three river but only later mentioned that he’d never seen it that full . The river waspumping;and the standing waves werehuge- but lots of fun and very unserious. The rapids were fast but straightforward and in the afternoon saw us happily pulling over to a nice sandy beach with a perfect fire hollow. A mellow evening discussing architecture sent Heidi and Taryn to their tent and the rest of us to sleep under the stars. Sunrise woke us, but it took the smell of coffee and extremely unveiled threats to get Heidi and Taryn out of their sleeping bags the next morning.
Deep in the gorge the rapids became a lot more taxing – fast and twisty and holes abounded – mostly avoidable unless of course Adrian was carefully directing you to go left, left, left …. aaaaarrrghhhh … right into the maw of a monster. Munch, munch, munch, bail. It got Heidi and Taryn too, much to Adrians amusement. Revenge didn;t take long though ; an evil looking diagonal ledgething that led directly in a humping haystack and a set of toothy holes persuaded Heidi/Taryn and myself to portage. Paul and Adrian were feeling brave, flipped, missed the holes and haystack but not the big rock. Paul was limping for weeks afterwards. Ah well.
Rapid, rapid, hectic rapid, rapid, easy weir and finally one last long rapid saw us to the takeout point by lunch time. A lunch at a restaurant thing down the road and then it was back to Jhb to be greeted by an irate Andee: ; did you have to bang the gate at 5 clock in the morning, etc etc etc Well, actually yes, cause we were going rafting and we thought you should know and it was great.Tony
Saturday, December 15, 2001 (All day) to Sunday, December 16, 2001 (All day)