French Alps 2019 paddling trip
It was the last day and only 5 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 6, but the “Welsh Wizard” was still under a sleepy spell. We drove out of the campsite at 8:00am 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 of the Gyr`s water flowed directly into the Gyronde making it a great level for paddling.
It was an exhilarating paddle into the gorge with the water flowing over most of the normally exposed boulders. We stopped in only two eddies, just long enough to catch our breath before heading on down 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. Ian did talk a line slightly over to the right and glanced one of the boulders, but all ended well.
Hannah 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 30 minutes from campsite to campsite, surely a record for the traditional last days paddle.