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Kerrie delivered.  It certainly was active, and I ended up burning off food for three Christmas’.  Here is how it all went.

With the canoe and kayak strapped onto the car we made our way to Tallowa Dam Picnic area, where we launched the boats. Our aim was to go up Shoalhaven River (gorge) and maybe make it to Fossickers Flat.  Ambitious, but doable.

Kerrie and I started in the canoe and the kids did magnificent circle work in the kayak.  Luke still has problems with his sprained wrist and Tash couldn’t reach the kayak’s steering pedals.  With little forward progress we decided it would be best for Luke to join me in the canoe and Kerrie go with Tash in the kayak.  Although we improved a bit on the circle work, it was still slow going and we ended up with Kerrie and Tash in the canoe and Luke and I in the kayak.  Now that this was all sorted we started making some good headway up the spectacular gorge.

It was a nice calm morning and easy going.  The first campsite we passed on the left, about 1.3 km after launch already looked a lot better than the overcrowded one we are staying at.  The cliff faces were spectacular with all the caves and it was evident where there would be a large amount of water run off during wet periods.

We tested our steering skills going through a forest of dead trees in the water and managed not to sink the boats.

Just before the second campsite (this one even providing a toilet) we came across another couple of kayakers who spent the last two nights up the river.  They even managed to catch a large Bass for dinner.  Kerrie and I both envied them for their idyllic campsites with no people.

We decided to come back again one day and make this a multi-day trip.  We pulled up at the campsite and had an early lunch.  The kids decided to stay there, do a bit of swimming and then head back to the dam wall while Kerrie and I kept on going up stream.

The wind started picking up, but it was at our backs and it was easy going.  We were winding through the gorge and admired the amazing landscape and the perfect camp sites with no people at them.  I started struggling with the tight confines of the kayak and having to sit up without a proper back rest for this amount of time.  By the time we reached an unmarked campsite just short of Fossickers Flat campsite I was cramping in my back, which also seemed to be on fire.  We had paddled about 14 km from the dam wall and decided this was far enough and we had a nice rest.

When we started heading back we realised how much the wind had picked up and it was a struggle making headway.  Finally we reached the campsite where we left the kids and were relieved that they had headed back already and that I could lay down and stretch my back a bit.  I was a bit worried about the kids canoeing back in the wind that had picked up even more, but we didn’t come across any flotsam and when we finished our 28 km journey we were amazed that the kids decided to paddle a bit further in the other direction and were coming back just as we arrived.

Although my back was on fire we all enjoyed the day’s adventure.  Our thoughts also went to all the Adventure Racers who did this leg of Shoalhaven River during the world Adventure Racing Championships.  This made my sore back feel petty.

Without saying, we had an early dinner and were in bed well before sunset.

The campsite is starting to fill up and it is getting noisy with generators, music and general people but with tired bodies we were soon all asleep.

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