Day 11 Report

.Day 11 - 6/6/07 - Toowoomba to Oakey

Bruce's Report: An interesting day from the support crew perspective. Dropped Steve, with some trepidation, into a very swollen Gowrie Creek in the rain and wind cautioning him about fences across the creek.

After fighting the fog, rain and traffic in Toowoomba we made it out to Kingsthorpe where Steve contacted us to be picked up. Unfortunately there is a substance out here called "black soil" that when mixed with water becomes very interesting to drive on. After some difficulty using 4WD, muscle and lots of colourful language Kerrie and I extricated ourselves and picked Steve up in time for an appointment with the High School at Oakey. After another presentation at Oakey State School where we have been made very welcome we dropped Steve back in the water before we headed for Jondaryan State School for our final presentation of the day. Steve hadn't had enough so he hit the water for another session before dark. Due to the fact that all the accommodation in the area has been booked out we were invited by Oakey State School to stay in one of their unused rooms for the night. This very generous gesture is typical of the people in the area and we are sincerely grateful.

Steve's Report: We got 25mm of rain in Toowoomba last night so when we got back out to Gowrie Junction ready to walk we looked in the creek. There was plenty of water to paddle in. The creek banks were very high, maybe 12m in a lot of places. The corners were tight and there were barbed wire fences across the creek.

None-the-less I made it down towards Oakey with only falling out once. The waterproof bag with the phone in it has a big tear from barbed wire but apart from a very wet and cold paddler, that was the only down side. There were some grade 3 rapids and the kayak scraped the bottom a lot on them. It was particularly exciting to go over concrete causeways with about 600mm drop off followed by a metre drop through rocks.

At one stage I got stuck against the outside bank because the kayak was too long. There was a snake about 500mm long with me but he didn't try to hop in so I was pleased about that.

Further down, the banks are not as high and there was a bit more water in Westbrook Creek. I seemed to go over the top of the fences but banged into the top of a star picket once and got stuck in willow trees a couple of times. If willow trees are so bad, why are most of the on the inside of the bends? And, why does the water seem to slow down where there are a few of them? My engineering instinct tells me that we need a lot more of them in the creek, not less.

We went to three schools today and again it was just great talking to the kids.

Steve on Westbrook Creek Steve on Westbrook Creek again
Images by Bruce Lumb - Refer to copyright notice