Steve is in New Zealand; Part 1
It’s the first week of my family’s vacation in New Zealand. In a month we’ll be covering most of both islands. This last week while visiting family friends on the North Island, I got the chance to tag along on a whitewater rafting trip down the Rangitikei River. There were over 30 other young people piled into 6 rafts and myself in an inflatable kayak as well as the safety boaters/photographers. Before loading up, I learned that the water had been exceptionally low but rising quickly because of heavy rainfall the night before. By the time we were on the water the levels had raised to a great flow.
The section of river ran was about 6 miles of steep canyon walls with large smooth boulders to navigate around. It reminded me of a more scenic version of the Lower Wind River with endless technical moves and ledges to drop. The upper section was a relatively mild warm up of forgiving class III moves. The lower was a bit spicier with a good drop and speedy chutes. I had plenty of boat to move by solo piloting a tandem IK! I would have preferred to be in a hard shell kayak but It was good to error on the side of caution considering it was a river I had never paddled with people I had just met.
Over all it was an absolute blast. New Zealand is an endless haven for whitewater paddlers, and this river left me just as awe-struck as ever. I caught a little footage on the way down and spliced it together, so please have a look considering my words can’t do this place justice. I’m looking forward to another run down this river with some new friends when I’m on the North Island again in a couple weeks.
In the meantime, as one of the guides said, “I’ll be back paddling”.