Packrafting the Franklin River
Franklin River packrafting at Rock Island

Packrafting the Franklin River

I can still taste the dread that swaddled me upon our arrival at the boat launch. I had anticipated the Franklin River packrafting trip for months and my sense of eager anticipation only grew during the misty, winding trip into the mountains toward the Collingwood River Bridge. I remember how the joy of seeing more echidnas in that three-hour drive than I had seen in an entire year in mainland Australia was suddenly snatched from my chest and replaced with fizzy, churning anxiety. The catalyst of my fear was an interpretive sign at the boater self-registration kiosk announcing the hazards that lay ahead of us—strainers, class IV+…

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