Otherwise known as the day I walked more than 40km.
The day started of cold and misty but everything brightened (literally and metaphorically) after the first cup of tea. It was a beautiful morning.
Porridge by the fire, then we made preparations for th day. A group photo, then we set off up the big hill leading through the forest away from the campground.
It was a fresh, bright morning, walking on forest track for the first couple of hours. We met a group from Outward Bound – their leader said he’d been told to look out for the hike4hunger hikers, which was funny. Fame at last!
Morning tea really was tea: we met Jo and Jay along the road and they had a flask with them.
Yay for tea! I don’t think I ever appreciated it more than on the hike. (And to put things in perspective: I’m normally a three coffee a day girl, but I didn’t have ANY for five days.)
It was just girls walking today – the two male hikers in our group were nursing various ailments (as, to be fair, was one female hiker.)
The scenery was less wooded, more hilly and scrubby as the day wore on. We lost three more of our company, who decided later in the morning to take the option of a lift (and a rest afternoon) so we were down to six.
We had lunch under a tree by a creek. My feet were very sore and blisters thoroughly disgusting, so I put my feet in a bag of ice James produced. (Don’t worry, I checked if anyone wanted to eat the ice first.)
Estimates of how far we had to go varied (James said 16km, Simon said 10km), but the afternoon was a slog up bitumen and dirtroads. There was some pretty scenery to distract from our feet, but mostly it was quite bleak.
We stopped for another break in the afternoon and two more hikers were picked up so we were but four. Spurred on by the lure of a beer in Adaminaby (I should explain that the hike was alcohol-free, but we thought that if we made it all the way to the pub we might be due a cold one, cf Ice Cold in Alex – worth waiting for – etc), Jay, Jo, Louise and I kept walking. And walking. And walking. Our initial 8km estimate (from the place we stopped for our afternoon break) was stretched and stretched. My feet felt like deadweights strapped to my ankles. But we went on….
After an hour we did group stretches by a very smelly river and, somewhat revived, we walked very slowly up the last hill of the day. We practically crawled into Adaminaby, searching for evidence of the World’s Largest Trout. Finally we saw it, AND the pub across the road.
It was more the idea of the beer than the beer itself that thrilled us. Legs practically locking, we drank the beer and devoured salt and vinegar crisps. We were picked up and driven to our overnight accommodation – a beautiful stone and wood house, with an amazing view of lake and hills and horses.
Unfortunately, by then I was done in. All I wanted was to find a quiet place for a good cry. Also unfortunate: quiet, private places were in extremely short supply at the lodge. I nearly fell into my bowl of pasta at dinnertime, then I had a hot shower and a little weep in the train-station like bathroom (multiple entrances, people constantly coming and going). Everything felt out of kilter and all I wanted was to sleep. The wonderful stars provided some consolation, but I found it very hard to sleep that night. This was the wall, then. I really wasn’t sure I could keep going. I tossed and turned and worked myself up into a bit of a tizzy. Eventually I crept downstairs (most of us were sleeping in a loft), had a drink of water, washed my face. Went back to bed (once I managed to find the stairs in the pitch dark!) and slept like a lamb.