Good morning Day 3. Let’s hike 19kms, but only carry our heavy packs for the last 2 hours, as we head out along Cape Pillar, then back. It’s a deal.
Let’s look at the grand, and the tiny. Deal.
Along the way, we pass ‘story seats’; beautifully-designed places to stop and share a Nature + Art experience, with accompanying notes in the award-winning guide book (I designated myself the Narrator, and am forcing myself to not tell you a hundred fascinating facts about some of these views).
We went through a variety of landscapes, saw three black snakes (all venomous yes: either Tigers or Copperheads), and relished the lightness of our daypacks.
Then we saw a wombat! It was SO big, and we got so close; it just squatted there yawning and looking sideways at us; it reminded me of ’17’, when he’s come home very late from a party, and just wants to be left alone, but could also maybe handle a snuggle and watching a film in bed, eating a late brekky before snoozing.
We made it to the end of the peninsula, which rose up into The Blade, along which you could walk (only 6 people up there at a time though because it’s so narrow, there’s no safety rail or ropes, and when it’s windy, you need to crouch low). But first you had to pass these signs:
Sorry dear Reader, I couldn’t do it. Not even for you and this Blog. But here’s what it looked like from our way home- the ocean is at least double times lower than this photo goes- the other 3 did it, and two of them admitted they nearly burst into tears/panicked up there- see, I’m smart.
We hiked back out to where we’d left our bags, slogged our way for nearly 2 hours to the final hut, felt completely exhausted, and were all in bed by 8.30.
Final Day 4- I slept quite well that night, then woke up to this sky on my way to the toilet:
I grabbed the others, bleary-eyed but keen, and it just got better:
It was like the best light show I’ve ever seen, and I felt a bit sad as the sun rose higher and it became just ‘normal blue’.
Anyway, the ranger’s briefing included a thunderstorm warning, so we set off for our final day’s 14km/7 hour hike with rain covers and jackets at the ready; the first 2 hours were straight up Mount Fortescue, the challenge of which was rewarded by magnificent rainforest pockets, and tree ferns/moss/fungi galore (my favourite natural church):
How weird are fungii?? And how stunning is this change of scenery- it really felt like we were walking in the shadow of dinosaurs (minus the crafted steps of course):
Now here’s a direct quote from the guide book:
“The track construction team have crafted a gently contoured climb, so that you won’t feel a thing! If you do need to catch your breath, there are several spots to rest and immerse yourself in stories.”
No, no, and no. It’s not gentle, we did feel everything, and yes of course we had to bloody stop- to breathe and pee.
The ‘construction team’ are a little too
enthusiastic naive positive fit young for my liking.
Anyway, we finally made it to the top of the next pack drop-off, where you take a very steep 2hr detour out to Cape Hauy and back; only G49 and I decided we had the energy for it, so off we went… OMG it turned into a mission to get back up- over 2000 steps- we were stopping at every 10th one by the end. There were two land formations at the end called The Candlestick and The Totem, but no, I couldn’t let myself get close enough to the barriered edge to snap them sorry. Those cliffs are seriously high! And remember the warning signs? I ain’t getting too close to the crumbly edges for NOBODY.
When we finally got back to our bags, the others had headed off already, as the sky was filling with dark grey clouds, and quite frankly, sitting around on a wooden bench for 2 hours waiting for your two friends to come back from a ridiculously unnecessary extra hike had gotten very unattractive apparently.
The last 1.5 hour walk to the pure white beach and finish point was HARD. Probably the hardest. Plus we had to be there by 4pm or miss the bus pick up. Unlike the
enthusiastic naive positive fit young blurb from the guide book, it was NOT a “… gentle downhill run to Fortescue Bay through more fragrant coastal heathland.”
But we did it.
All the other track walkers were there, lolling on the grass barefoot, feeling the same tiredness but satisfaction, and the rain held off until later that evening; we were so blessed by the weather goddesses.
Was it fun? No. Would I do it again? No. Should we have done more training with heavy bags? Yes. Would I recommend it to everyone? A resounding yes.
Then we spent 4 days in a lush house on a tiny quiet beach nearby, with a spa bath, joined by 5 other friends & two children for the 50th celebration weekend. A chef came and cooked us the yummiest birthday lunch in house, and we feasted and pleasured, including finding one of the best massages any of us had ever had, and multiple shared use of the spa.
So grateful, so exhausted, so exhilarated, and so happy to be home again now. Thank you for reading and travelling with me, Love G xO