Thursday 21 October 2010

Hike Day 3 - Caloola Farm to Mount Clear Campground

The story so far: 51km walked, three hours sleep slept, a couple of blisters gained, Canberra left well behind.

We were well-warned about Day 3. 28km, lots of up and down and twelves creeks to cross which would likely mean wet feet.

I woke up (or gave up on sleep) about 5.30. I sat up and poked my head outside – it was still dark and misty. I ventured to the long drop (a good test of how long I could hold my breath) then got dressed. E (the hike leader) and I got the kettle on for tea and then we made porridge. After breakfast, we had a quick turnaround to get packed up and on our way.

We were on the track by 8, walking through bracken and low cloud. We saw our first kangaroo of the day just after we started. Also had our first river crossing, though we managed to ford it so shoes and socks stayed on. The terrain was quite rainforest-y – or perhaps it just seemed that way because of the mist, clouds and creeks. It was overcast for much of the day, but not actually raining.

The track we followed was a fire trail through the woods – mostly a yellow, sandy road, with lush foliage on either side. Lots of birds, frogs and BIG, vicious, man-eating ants.

In the afternoon, the forest cleared and there were more open spaces … and kangaroos. Lots and lots of them. We were definitely in kangaroo country. Big ones, little ones and baby joeys sticking their heads out of their mothers’ pouches.

We crossed our final creek in the late afternoon, then walked up our last hill to find Mount Clear Campground. There were lots of roos waiting for us in this basic – but beautiful – campsite. The tourist information booth doubled as a dunny, with brochures on hiking trails thoughtfully provided by the toilet.

Dinner was spaghetti bolognese pre-prepared by Jay (yay!). (For a pre-dinner treat, I exposed my worst blister on my left big toe to a chorus of eeeewwwws round the campfire.) The spaghetti was delicious but unfortunately it started raining while we were still eating. We had to clear up and do the washing up in the rain. One last cup of tea (in raincoats) by the fire but with nothing else to do we all went to bed at 8. Kept awake by the sound of the rain, the ground, the cold – and some animal noises too.

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