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Major Trip Reports.…
Day 14 Gyronde
It was the last day and only 3 paddlers were up for the early morning challenge of a quick trip down the Gyronde onto the Durance and down to the slalom site. We were to be a team of 4, but the “Ford Custom” next door still had a sleepy spell. We drove out of the campsite at 8:30am leaving the others to start to pack away the camp.
We put on under the campsite bridge (the lower one!) and paddled off being pushed quickly along by the fast-flowing water. They were still working on the dam and HEP Scheme above so all the Gyr`s water flowed directly into the Gyronde making it a great level for paddling. It was even higher than earlier in the week.
It was an exhilarating paddle into the gorge with the water flowing over all of the normally exposed boulders. Richard was paddling well until he misjudged a corner trying to avoid a car sized boulder and got swept into overhanging branches. He tried valiantly to roll but after one attempt the fast-flowing stream and many boulders meant for a fast exit. He managed to rescue himself and the boat when about 75 metres downstream before Keith and Stuart managed to lodge it on some boulders near the bank. Richard soon collected his paddle and reunited with his kayak we headed on down the gorge to the weir. This is now well signed, and the potentially boat pinning boulders have all been swept well to river right by high floods. Without stopping we followed the flow over the middle of the weir and on down below. Keith did talk a line slightly over to the right and glanced one of the boulders, but all ended well.
Richard lead the last section though the mini gorge. No sign of the old embedded bicycle wheel and we were soon swept on towards the confluence with Durance. Plenty of water sped us down through the town and under the old Hydro Electric pipe that used to feed the power plant for the old Aluminium works. Without so much of a single breakout we then charged on down through the slalom course. A quick glance at my watch indicated that it taken us exactly 55 minutes from campsite to campsite, a great last day’s paddle.