Dr. Livingstone I presume?

Sir Henry Morton Stanley’s immortal, and somewhat understated greeting, uttered after a nightmare 1100km journey through tropical jungle of, “Dr. Livingstone I presume” in so many ways summed up the great tradition of Victorian era exploration.

Men from Britain, Europe and North America exploring the hinterland of Africa, Australia, South America and New Zealand, enduring great privations, though probably not as many as their porters, filling in the blank spaces on maps, seeking fame and fortune, and sometimes filled with missionary zeal.

Why Did They Do It?

There is little doubt that for some it was to seek fame and fortune, while the desire to convert native peoples to Christianity was also for many a powerful driver. However I think for most it was simply an insatiable curiosity. A desire, almost a need, to see what lay around the next corner, what lay over the next hill, where did that river start, was there really a lost city of gold, an El Dorado, and if there was, where was it?

In fact there is a good body of research that now talks about the significance of the 7R gene. A gene that many, but not all people carry that drives this desire to seek new things and see new places. A gene that often leads to a restlessness in those who carry it.

How Relevant Is This Spirit Today?

While expeditions looking for lost cities of gold, at least the physical kind, are no longer a common occurrence, I think for many of us there is still this restlessness, this desire to see what lies around the next corner, what lies over the hill, what is up that side canyon. I think the desire is also there to not be a part of hundreds of other people doing exactly the same thing.

So where can we indulge this curiosity, assuage in part this restlessness, without encountering many other people doing the same thing, and often in a somewhat sanitised setting of tracks, signs and warning notices?

Cataraft exploring the headwaters of the Rangitikei River, North Island, NZ

Do You Still Have This Curiosity?

There is still a way to indulge this curiosity where you can feel as if you are the first person to see much of what you will encounter. You may quite likely go days without seeing another human being, other than those in your party.

I am of course talking about a rafting trip, especially a multi day rafting trip.

Imagine it as if you are the first person to see what lies round each corner as the river beckons you onward, always with a promise of a spectacular vista, a beautiful scene or a fun piece of white water. While it is certain you will not endure the privations experienced by explorers through the ages, what you will share is the sense of wonder and achievement the same as they felt as you see sights few others have.

What If You Feel As If You Are Too Old, Too Inexperienced, Or Unsure What A trip Such As This Entails?

The great thing about taking a river trip is that you can choose what level of difficulty you would want. Unlike Stanley or Livingstone, who really were venturing into the unknown, you can choose an adventure that is suitable for you, and with an extremely good chance of survival.

  • Examples of these multi day trips offered by River Valley include:
    Rangitikei Explorer – a 4 day trip on the Rangitikei River, not above Grade 2+ (that is easy rapids), through spectacular seldom visited river canyons.
  • Mountains to Vineyard – an overnight trip on the Ngaruroro River, (sometimes called the forgotten river) a river with a very short Spring only season, with numerous Grade 2 – 3 rapids, flowing through the rugged Kaweka Ranges.
  • Rangitikei Headwaters Expedition – a 4 day helicopter in, raft out trip in the beautiful headwaters of the Rangitikei River. Other than the possibility of meeting a fisherman, you will unlikely see anyone else, but will experience and see some varied and pristine scenery.

Of course if you feel as if you need to start with a shorter trip, say just for a day or less, then you could try the excitement of rafting the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River, one of the world’s best half day Grade 5 rafting trips, or float the Grade 2 Scenic section for a day of relaxation.

Whatever you decide, there is a joy to be found only on moving water.

The forgotten river. A river expedition on the Ngaruroro River, central North Island, New Zealand

Finding You Own City Of Gold

The great days of men from Europe and North America exploring the wilds of other continents are now behind us. Their deeds are consigned to history books and Wikipedia. Over time their legacy and tales will no doubt be debated and viewed in different lights depending upon the current mores of society.

But what curiosity, no matter what else drove them.

I believe this curiosity, this need to see what is around the next corner is still with us, and that a river trip is the perfect start to assuaging it.

To search for a River rafting trip that is most suitable to assuage your curiosity, to help you search for a Lost City of Gold, please follow this link.

Brian Megaw