Solo Women Survive Raging Rapids

G’Day Mob,

Who remembers the Solo Man advertisement from 1990 where a muscled hero took his kayak and paddled over a cliff in the name of a lemon soft drink? Not sure? Refresh your memory on You Tube .

Well, at a recent family reunion at Wee Jasper Solo Man had to move over for Solo Woman and her athletic 74-year-old mother, also known as Solo Nana.

It started with a ranger-recommended activity to paddle from Swinging Bridge to our campsite at Billie Grace Reserve. Brian dropped Mum and I at the start and did the bolt, leaving us looking forward to a sedate, scenic paddle, similar to the lazy western rivers I am used to. Mum isn’t used to paddling any rivers.

132 lazy

The first 100m of the 4km journey were exactly as I expected. Then I got an education. The Goodradigbee is not a lazy western river. It is a feisty mountain stream. At 100.2m I was in the first rapid. I bounced through the white water, looked at the gorge before me, looked back at a grim-faced mother negotiating her first rocks, and thought: “oops.”

132 downstream

132 upstream

Solo Nana and I had 50m to review our options. We looked at the white water downstream and made the executive decision to get out. The Solo Women then either dragged their canoes through the flood debri or outdid Solo Man on the water for the next twenty minutes, at which point I asked myself: “Whose dumb-arsed idea was this?” Unfortunately the answer was not comforting. It had been my dumb-arsed idea.

We persevered for about half a kilometre, staying relatively upright, and after about six rapids (that felt like 600) we rounded a corner to find grazing flats, long stretches of quiet water and cows!

132 relieved

We picked wild blackberries where the bushes fanned out over the water. We nattered. We had fun over small rapids between the pools. We paddled and we drifted and enjoyed some mother-daughter bonding. Then came the tree.

We had walked the canoes around one tree that had fallen over the river blocking our path, but the second fallen log had a narrow, just-canoe-wide, passage and this we aimed for. Solo Nana went first but somehow got caught in the current, broadsided the canoe, filled it with water and was tossed into the drink.

132 log

But they breed Solo Women tough. Within seconds Mum had surfaced and after a wobbly mid-water re-mount, was back smiling and paddling and soon we glimpsed our camp through the trees and our adventure was over.

Later that afternoon I took the canoe and went in search of flowers and blackberries for the Mob and, as you will see, the moral of this story is: white rapids can be conquered by Solo Women but beware the evil blackberry cane.

132 picking

132 stretched

132 end

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19 responses to “Solo Women Survive Raging Rapids

  1. That is a great story, Mandy! Loved it!!!

  2. Matthew Doyle

    very amusing.

  3. Mountain man says “those who who live in draught, then go to mountains need to review habitat before proceeding”.

  4. That gave me a chuckle, Mandy, thank you!

  5. Loved the pictures and the story of the tough Solo Women 😀

  6. The adventures a person looks back to with a smile are the ones that start with oops! I loved the story in photos. Is the movie coming out soon?

    • The movie will, undoubtedly, be popular but I’m not sure it will be released in Canada. Keep an eye on your local guides 🙂

  7. All sounded exciting, nerve breaking and exhilarating. Worth making a movie out of it!

    • Exciting, nerve breaking and exhilarating – yes that was the river. Painful and embarrassing – that was the blackberry.

  8. Well I hope those blackberries were worth it! Fun story but sounds like some hair raising moments.

    • Mum used to make the best blackberry jam when I was growing up, so I am programmed to seek them – whatever the cost! Welcome to the Rambles 🙂

  9. Sounds like a great day of outdoor fun 😉

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