Last Tuesday our paddle converted from Connection Creek to the Upper Maria…total serendipity as it turned out. Bill always does a quick check in the hope that we can navigate this part of the river once again, & this time he hit the jackpot. We have not been able to paddle up here any distance for some years due to fallen timber & narrow sections choked with water rushes etc. It was a bonus as neither Greg or David had been up here before, & it did not disappoint.
The drive up Maria River Rd. was dusty & the atmosphere heavy with recent bushfire haze, but this cleared as the morning progressed into a glorious day.
We paddled up with no serious obstacles to contend with & went a bit past the lovely deck where we have enjoyed a cuppa & rest stop in the past. The owner now has a lovely rustic sign which says ‘Visitors Welcome’, a pleasant change from ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted (or shot!!)’.
This paddle is special & I think it is because it still looks & feels like a wild, densely vegetated, untamed environment. The early wattles were in flower, there was a lot of birdsong up in the canopy, the elk ferns were abundant & the melaleucas with their peeling white bark were beautiful. When you have not done a particular paddle for awhile it is exciting to come across landmarks that jog your memory. The rusty, skeletal remains of ‘The George’, a little boat, were visible just below the surface where it was left to deteriorate & ultimately sink; the beautiful, winding water corridor flanked by feather duster topped grass plants, old trees with gnarled, white trunks & fallen branches now decorative landscape features in the river. On the top of one old tree trunk that had broken off, Greg spotted a sassy goanna with its tail hanging down. The elk ferns are still as numerous as before & the shadows & reflections amongst the trees were superb.
Back at the cars we enjoyed lunch & a cuppa & reflected on how beautiful this paddle is. Definitely back on the schedule.