The Trip’s Trio Included a First-Time Bikerafter
Deane Parker: “Muel and I put the trip together on the Mikonui after having talked about the river being a good option for a bikerafting trip. Muel had met Emma when her family visiting from Colorado had signed up for a heli-rafting trip, also on the West Coast of New Zealand.
“I expected easy Class II conditions so was quite surprised to come across a couple of steeper rapids easily in the Class III category.
“Emma did exceptionally well, being not only her first time bikerafting but her first time in a packraft, too. She came unstuck in one of the larger rapids and toughed out a bumpy swim.
“This trip was the epitome of bikerafting—allowing us to independently complete a loop in the backcountry carrying everything we needed for a night in a small bush hut and to packraft out.”
The backcountry hut—lodging for the night
Sam (Muel) Jones: “Crossing paths with Emma and discovering her love for rivers, it seemed like a natural progression to invite her on a totally new river experience. Emma picked up the basics of packrafting very quickly.
“Add a bike to the mix, with the extra weight up front and paddle-reach restrictions, made the learning curve even steeper for her.
“Given the fact it was her first time trying this new niche sport, Emma demonstrated that with some 'can-do attitude,’ bikerafting is available for all those who want to give it a go.”
Emma Crane: “I met Muel on some paddling adventures and he invited me on the Mikonui trip because I was keen on some more hectic missions. I had never heard of bikerafting before, but I put two and two together. I know about packrafting and figured you do it with a bike. I was really excited about the adventure and to try something new.
“I have been a whitewater rafter my whole life and started kayaking when I was 14. I am very comfortable on the water and can read the water. The packraft was heavy with the bike on the front but easy to turn. It felt like you didn't have that much control.
“I loved the places you can get yourself through bikerafting and that you have to push yourself. So beautiful and so much fun. Would do it again.
“The most challenging part was coming into the first rapid and flipping and not really knowing how to get out of the boat and hitting myself on a few rocks trying to figure it out. But it comes with the sport.
“Overall experience was AMAZING. Cannot recommend it enough. I want to do it again. Deane and Muel made the trip for me. I got to see a beautiful area and be remote.”
The beautiful Mikonui River valley on New Zealand’s South Island
More About New Zealand’s Mikonui River
The Mikonui River is on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, straight west and slightly north of Christchurch. Its headwaters are in the Southern Alps and it flows northwest into the Tasman Sea.
Heavily forested and mountainous, this part of New Zealand is the wettest in the country. You can get an idea of the terrain from these couple of screen shots, above and below.
PackraftingTrips.nz says this about packrafting the Mikonui:
“West Coast rivers can be pretty intimidating. If you want a gentler option but still with a wilderness feel, fantastic views of the Southern Alps, rain forested gorges and waterfalls then the Mikonui just south of Ross is a great option…There are few other rivers on the Coast which combine the accessibility, Grade 2 water and wilderness feel.”
(All photos courtesy of Deane Parker or screen shots of the video above)
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