Fascinated and frightened by the thought of whitewater kayaking, Alastair McDowell embraces his fears (and excitement) to join his mates on a weekend packrafting trip in Mt Cook. After his partner's paddle breaks, Alastair gets thrown in at the deep end and learns the art of navigation.
A remote West Coast river, packrafting, rain, a lack of information about paddling descents; for Chris Abel, it was hard to think of more exciting ingredients for an adventure.
On Christmas Eve we set off from the West Arm of Lake Manapouri with around a weeks’ worth of food, packrafting and tramping gear, a bunch of TOPO maps and loose plans to make it to Foveaux Strait. We had a small box of food delivered to Lake Roe Hut on the Dusky Track to pick on the way. For two weeks we linked together rivers, Fiords, lakes, some trails and a few different mountain ranges to make it to the Southern Ocean.