Saturday, 22 April 2017

Murray River Paddle 2016 Day 9 Tocumwal Timeout Resort to the Gulf in the Barmah-Millewa Forest.

With most people away, kangaroos had taken over Time Out Resort.

A much appreciated dry place for the night. 

Ready to go. Aiming for the Gulf (Yielima Station). Blue skies. Thanks for your hospitality Barry Bell and Time Out Resort. Hidden Gems.

Spoonbill on the bank.

The river appears wide and calm.

Lunch break in the Barmah Forest

This was a road on top of a bank. Now wetland plants are growing

I could not believe the amount of water flowing into the forest. Not over the bank in most cases, but via flood runners or distributaries (because they distribute the flow).

This picture shows someone's campsite but it looks nothing like that now. To say that floods bring life to forests is an understatement, it fundamentally change them. They have become and oasis of life. The silly thing is, they always were, we just didn't see it. Jump in a tinny and take a look you won't be disappointed.

Paddling next to the bank, it was absolutely clear that the river was higher than the forest. I had never actually taken this in. It had been told to me, and I thought I had seen it in the Narrows, the section of river which travels between, and Barmah and Millewa Lakes. However being on the river which is higher than the land around it and seeing it flew out through these gateway like streams was a revelation. Streams leave the river in places every hundred meters. This is why places like picnic point did not flood this year despite 200,000 ML a day of water being released at Yarrawonga three weeks ago. The explanation for the whole phenomena lies with the Cadell tilt. 70,000 years ago, earthquakes began to lift the block of land between Deniliquin and Echuca. Look the river, causing me to drop its sediment and build a floodplain. This floodplain is now the Barmah Millewa Redgum forest. Every time the river floods into the forest, it slows down and drops some of the sediment carries. This builds a natural levee along the river's banks. The flood runners are where it has broken through.

Survivor... who's the boss?
Close to water.
Normally not so close... but prepared.

The understory has sprung to life. The ground is covered with luscious looking wetland plants, whose seeds and tubers must've laying dormant in the soil waiting for an event such as this.I've seen this place in summer. It looks dry and dusty. Grasses look like excuses. The ground is hard and cracked. Everything looks heavily grazed. What a contrast to now. I wish everyone could see it. We have a Kakadu in our own backyard.

The Gulf, where I'm camped tonight.

Luscious green growth with wild flowers in the background.
Height is relative. Everything in the Barmah-Millewa forest is close to water. My camp on high ground is only about 10 cm about the river. I know the levels are dropping but I have a stick placed at the last watermark and I'm checking it every now and then just in case.
I disturbed quite a few kangaroos today. They were resting on the natural levee which runs alongside the river. This really isn't very wide and most of them looked tired and wet. I think that had enough of this high water and can't wait for it to go down so that they can move back to their favorite spots.
My camping site is a large natural levee. There is a group of brumbies, a couple of kangaroos and koala interested in it. The brumbies I saw earlier in the afternoon with three healthy foals. The kangaroo went bounding off into the distance. The Koala I heard wadding through a deep puddle and then proclaiming its territory with grunts high up in a tree.
There are quite a few shacks on the NSW side where people live very close to water. Not all are permanent. On a small rise a group of caravans were clustered. I wonder how they decided who got the highest ground?

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