It's been some time since we've done the Six Foot Track to Jenolan Caves, so we thought we'd give it another trundle... though this time we'll turn around when we get there and walk back again. Our planned itinerary: PointLeaveKmArriveTotal Explo…
Categories: "Holidays" or "New Zealand 2009" or "Perth 2009"
This walk took a lot of planning from the point of deciding to do it. I'm not sure how long it takes other folks, but all up we were planning and training for about six months. This included trialing our gear on shorter walks …
Somehow we've managed to get ourselves to this point: the last day of our 54 Day walk to Albany (generally by putting one foot in front of the other 1.2 million times) – it is a very odd feeling, and as Sandi noted: "Funny in the hut last night: everyone retreated to their own possies quite early and there was silence and it reminded me of the change room scene in "Chariots of Fire" before the big races at the Olympics. Quite interesting, everyone psyching up for the final day today." It was hard to concentrate on what the Guidebook was preparing us for today, but we're determined to enjoy the day for everything that it is. Not our best sleep last night. P looked at the time somewhere about 11:45pm and said could he write in the book and I was wide awake so we chatted an he wrote and it was all rather neat and bizarre. We got a game plan for Albany sussed and shopping and to-do lists. Really pretty satisfying and then we both managed to drop off to sleep again and woke again at about 5am and launched into packing action.
We know we've got a diversion today: there's been quite a bit written in the books -- a lot of soft sand and aching legs. Also another 7km beach walk, with the crossing of Torbay Inlet: which we know had only been opened in the last couple of days. So there are quite a few unknowns today and we're wondering how we'll go. Up to see a simply glorious and gorgeous sunrise out over sea and islands. Really lovely. After 40 minutes and 86 photos we headed back down to the shelter to breakfast and go: determined that we were going to enjoy and savour these last days.
The Guidebook uses words like "superb", "panoramic vistas", "dramatic views": so we have a high degree of expectation for today :) It's a short walk today as well, which worked out well because it was a very relaxed start! After breakfast (we are still enjoying the muesli), We wandered up the hill between showers to catch the post-dawn view and try for mobile reception again. Had the most amazing sleep: right through to 7am (with a pee break at some point). Funny to get up and everyone else is ready to set off!! Showers came through over breakfast and we rushed out to grab the tent and carry it complete into the shelter: a free standing tent really does have awesome abilities (not the first time we've needed to do this).
This is our last double-hutter today, and one of the biggest days of our walk. Time constraints necessitated trimming a day, and Isabel, our Foundation Helper, first suggestion was to bypass Nullaki (as a mosquito infested stop, anyway). We also have quite a few kilometres in a motor boat today: we set up Mad Fish Charters a month or so before starting the walk, and I'm very pleased too, as the YHA boys were saying that he was not available to take them across. But it's an early start as he's got lots of other work to do after us: which suits us as it's a very long day today – the length of the day tempers the excitement of the boat ride ;) We'd left batteries charging overnight and the boots stuffed with newspaper, trying to dry them (we were very happy with the results!). I eventually got up about 5am to make sure all the batteries were topped up (including the FUSE battery – which is an extremely handy feature of this gadget).
We'd decided the night before to get away early again for the run into town (this ensures that the shopping can be done properly, and also enables clothes washing / drying); so we were away at a very early 6am, pretty much in the mists of pre-dawn. The Guidebook has given us quite a few things to look forward to today: Monkey Rock sounds intriguing. Hopeless sleep for me but P fared better. Snoring firstly in hut (no names) then mice scurrying around and some squeaking plus a little plastic bag rattling. Had been a spot concerned as there is a food bin in the hut but all seemed fine in the morning, despite not using it. some of the scurrying was awfully close to us, but I determined to ignore it. Finally did nod off as snoring abated. In morning awake just as the grey light of dawn came creeping in, so quickly up and away by 6am. The boys were also up and happening.
We've been wondering, somewhat nervously, about Mazzoletti Beach since first finding it in the Guidebook six months before setting out on the Track (it's described as "challenging at the best of times"); and today we'll walk its 7km length! We also have a wee additional section up to Hillier Trig, and a diversion at the end of the day: not a huge day length wise, but probably challenging :) Started the day not so early after a pretty good sleep (P put the inner in shelter) So pleased to get back to sleep after a wee. It really poured rain overnight, but not a drop all day since. So thankful!
Sandi has been looking forward to this day, and the canoe crossing since reading through the Guidebook during the planning stage! The Guidebook warns that "this is a long and challenging section that may appear more so in either very warm or stormy weather": I'm not sure I'd call today "stormy", but it was getting close and certainly impacted on the day; not that we knew that at the Caravan Park: we were just looking forward to the canoe crossing and walking through The Showgrounds that follow it. At 12:15am P woke up and thought it was 3am, but checked and I was relieved as I hadn't got to sleep yet. Thankfully after that I did get off and we slept OK until about 5:30am. Then we got ourselves organised and tent fairly dry, so great after a windy night with many showers. The three boys (Michael, Steven and John) were up and happening too.
Looking at our intended walk today, it really is 'Round the Ragged Rocks' to Peaceful Bay – but the Track does this: it takes us out to special places. Today's special place is Castle Rock, the summit of Point Irwin, which the Guidebook promises will "provide breathtaking views". Today's menu is also extremely odd: a miscalculation a couple of days ago meant that we're a breakfast short, and we have Isobel's chocolate bars extra for morning tea – then we have lunch and dinner at Peaceful Bay Caravan Park. Not one of those meals was planned!! Woke to the alarm early after a good night's sleep, which made me wonder if the soft sandy ground added to the comfort of the NeoAir Mattresses? Certainly worked! Much better sleep, though it was pretty humid and we had the sleeping bags open, worked OK too. The campsite for tents was great, just like a maze, the very dense bushes were like a hedge all growing to same height and the tracks just cut into it. Fabulous. Turned out to be quite a lovely sunrise and a half moon still up. We were up and into it. Beef curry OK for breakfast, quite surprising.