Click here for the West Arth document…otherwise read below…
Since posting this Alan Whittle has kindly donated Western Arthurs photo of the beggary bumps.
I feel really nervous. It’s verging on stress. The unknown stands before me like the tower of Babylon. The unknown of the wilderness. Unpredictability of the weather. Potential isolation for the next 8 days. Possibility of injury, and then…
This tent makes me nervous – for no other reason than the fact that it has no guy ropes, and it’s a two season tent. In any other situation than this one; the unknown, I’d be cool and collected. Though I do remember the nervousness I felt on the first day of the Bibbulman. That turned out fine.
The Ranger at the tourist/information bureau made me nervous. Sternly warning me not hike the western arthurs alone, without experience. ‘For highly experienced hikers only’ it states on the map. He kindly pointed that out. I kindly ignored him. Purchased the map with the Port Davey Track and South West. It includes the majority of the western Arthurs, but not all of it. Missing some of the map makes me nervous. Although the nice lady at the bureau let me photocopy Arthurs section of the Chapman book for free.
I’m at Junction Creek while I write this. I didn’t feel nervous when I left Huon Campsite at 1:50pm. Trevor the bus driver was very friendly. We drove up to look at Scott’s peak. Scott’s Peak is actually a man made island. You can see out to the Arthurs, but I wasn’t sure which ones were the Arthurs. Just a lot of cloud covered mountains.
Trevor, like another bloke Harry who I met at the backpackers last night, began telling stories and anecdotes of their lives. Sometimes forced, sometimes duly out of context, the stories, previously told would re-emerge. Listening for repetition it didn’t take long to discover what’s important in their lives. These old men repeated themselves unknowingly. Or even if they knew, it didn’t seem to matter because it served to break the silence. Harry, who looks a bit like Samuel Beckett, was less afraid of silence than Trevor. Possibly partly due to Harry’s self-proclaimed chronic paranoid schizophrenia. According to him, the Western Australian government mixed his identity up with another Harry, who was a murderer. His framing was a culmination of his then wife hating his guts and her father having a lot of cop mates as coach of the West Perth football club, back in ’72. One of the great coaches cronies was the infamous Alan Bond who also hated Harry’s guts because Harry out-signwrited him. Naturally Harry was the best sign writer in the state until he lost his identity and became “an empty vessel loaded up with loose cannons.”
I’d sit beside Trevor and Harry, trying to concentrate on what they were saying. Not that what they were saying wasn’t interesting, just not all of it. Besides, I’ve got my own preoccupations to deal with. (right now I’ve been reading the maps, and it’s a little worrying. The first worry is the inclusion of pack-hauling on the western Arthurs. In my ignorance, nay arrogance, I thought I didn’t need a rope. But it looks like I will. So I’ve ‘borrowed’ some rope that was working as a support across the small stream here. Ah, if anyone needed that rope to cross that stream they shouldn’t be out here anyway. The streams about 3 metres wide and there’s enough rocks sticking out of it that you don’t have to get wet if you don’t want to.
The other thing preoccupying me these days are fucking fantastic beautiful women. Who only want to talk. For fucks sake. Two women in three days, both strangers, who say they prefer the company of men. The first girl said women are too intense and they don’t know how to relax. The second – Martine from Holland, said that women are too high maintenance and don’t know how to relax. To the first I replied by stating that over intense women are usually waiting for someone to tell them the bleeding obvious. To have someone say for example:
Forgive me for saying this, but you’re being someone you aren’t, or, it seems like you’re waiting for something or someone to come along and inject life and drama into your hopeless existence.
Etc. Etc. Yeah, I’m a real ladies mate. Never sex, just understanding and conversation. Sometimes, like what Bon Scott says, I don’t want conversation, I just want sweet sensation. And I aint lying. And I don’t think I’m hiding that fact either. May be all the women I meet are over meaningless sex. Probably about the time they decided to take their lives seriously to subsequently masquerade meaning into it. The cheek. And then there’s those who think they can double the irony by essentially talking in third person about the sex they belong to.
Ha. Though I suppose I’m out here to get away from all that, right? Sure thing. Yeah, you rearrange those priorities into the non-eventuation category. Only thing to annoy you out here while you’re masturbating is the tent door flapping. This time I actually do have a tent. I can wank away all day long while reading Allan Carr’s ‘The only way to quit smoking permanently.’ That old chestnut. We’ll see. If I can go a year without sex you’d think cigarettes would be easy, right? Ill stop just short of a justification for smoking and let you, dear readers, figure it out. Whatever. Fact remains that I experienced complete and utter fear for about two seconds half and hour ago. To my disbelief, I love people. I am addicted to them. And the prospect of not seeing anyone for the next week or so scares me.
This camp site is called Junction Creek. It’s where the Port Davey and Mackay tracks meet. Like I said, it’s a tiny little stream that in winter floods and people need a rope to hold onto to cross. Perseverance. Hence they’ve created another campsite 50 metres up the hill. It’s a jungly type atmosphere with a lot of tall strong, skinny trees that like to have weeds and vines and shit growing all over them. Don’t ask me for their names.
Flowing water plays tricks with my mind. It can sound like frantic antics at the end of a school day. The bell rung – kids bolting out the room – forgetting their bags – teachers happy with the days progress. They respect her. She doesn’t issue homework, or detention. No parents or spouses or her own kids have threatened her or given her the shits. She sits at her table to a now empty classroom. The yelling laughing, crying, arrangements for play or sleepover, mothers comparing and contrasting – roll and blur into one like a rapid stream. The sound waves in and out, make more or sense less sense depending on her concentration. She reads The English Passengers by Mathew Kneale. Scratching her semi-haired arm she dreams of Tasmania – the killing, the systematic slaughter of aborigines. And tigers. Twanging mop buckets on the porta kit bash into the door and prompt her to head home. The cleaners sweep and vacuum. Chairs are on the tables.
What I’m about to do is try to describe and explain my day to you. Since I don’t have enough clothes the morning was very cold. The sky was a glorious clear blue. I emerged from the tent about 8:30 in good spirits and well rested. It must have taken about 45 mins to pack up and sort shit out. Strands of warm sunlight spat about the creek floor. No Cup of tea, just a small Just Right packet. My nervousness was gone this morning. I knew the job I had to do: climb mt Hesperus, a minor 1050m asl with a 27kg pack on. About 2/3 the way I crossed paths with four people who had walked the entire range over ten days. Three spritely young tuckers and an old man. All from around Australia, no one from Tassy.
The views seemed to change every time I looked back while catching my breathe. Lakes, including Lake Pedder became visible with the increase in ascent. On the approach to the climb it felt like being in a huge 100km wide green cereal bowl. On the outer rims of the bowl were crustified husks and fibre cling-ons; known as rocks and trees.
Once at the top the wind picked up greatly and I soon realised how cold it is. Over the first saddle I came across two gents – Nick and Matt working for wildlife and Parks. They’re camping up here for ten days, rearranging a granite walkway across a swampy saddle. The stone was helicoptered in. Quite a job.
On the approach to meeting these chaps, the vista to the south west opened and a sun bathed Bathurst harbour presented itself in all its glory. Nick reckons it’s the greatest region in all Tassy. I joined these them for lunch. We sat on the northern face out of the wind. By now the cloud cover had grown and we were eye level with the bottom of it. The dark black button clouds sat just above the eyes like a hat visor. From here I could see Scotts peak and I remembered the feeling yesterday afternoon knowing for certain that this is truly a remarkable place.
At times I can remember what Scotty, a friend in Perth had said after questioning me about walking on the Bibbulman, and walking in general. He argued that I walk too fast. That I move through a space but I don’t allow the space to move through me. Well, that maybe true. But the space does not exist without my presence in it. Excuse me for the pseudo-philosophy. Yeah, I try to get in touch with nature, but it seems like the more I try, the further away I get. The main factor is time. I am out here aren’t I? 19 days walking through the end of the world. Yes.
Later 10pm. Its been raining at the lake Cygnus camp for at least an hour now. The tent is holding out well. Rocks on the peg holder seem to be working ok. Cannot get Benedicts Inlet Manifold song out of my head.
I’ve been pondering and running over in my head the itinerary for the port davey/south walks. I was standing out on the platform trying to enjoy the last of the day light. It struck me how limited my thoughts are. Both in quality and quantity. I don’t know what it’s like to be a genius because I am not one. Out here whatever thoughts you have come into sharp focus. I focused on what will happen on Sarah’s arrival at Huon Campsite for ages. How ill act and react to the situation. Thought of trying to call her to insist that she arrive on the 10th not the 11th. Silly thought though, since no phone. I couldn’t stop thinking and worrying about it. Then I cast my eyes upward and spun my body around in a 360 degree circle. Not a single sound. May be a frog croaking. The plants here seem so ancient. Thick, short heavy fibred trunks for two metre high plants. Frogs slowly croaking like the sound of tree trunks bending. Coming to the conclusion that I don’t have enough food isn’t great. Have plenty of tea and gas though.
11:30ish next day. Departed approx 10:30 am. Morning slow. Figure only an hour walk to lake Oberon, why rush? Now I’m tucked up in a leaky cave. Very thick fog has taken over the entire range. It’s not that’s too thick to keep walking, but I didn’t come all the way out here to see fog. I’ll stay on an hour, hopefully it doesn’t get worse. P.S. this place is amazing.
15 or 20 mins after previous entry the sky began to clear. By jingoes it was worth sticking it out. The part of the track between Lake Ceres and Procyon Peak was unbelievable. Arthur’s range is both unreal and surreal. From that point the sky had cleared almost perfectly to reveal Scott’s peak and Bathurst harbour. Yes, I’d witnessed that before, but this time the angle was better; closer to the harbour and the sun was shining on both of them. The walking or shall I say hiking was much more difficult today. Up and down. Each valley takes half an hour at least. The rewards are great. Every summit or saddle promises another breathtaking view. Above Lake Cygnus I woooooed with excitement and almost couldn’t hold back tears.
Mind games are abound. You stare up a crest and say to yourself or the person who made the path direction: go over the saddle, no, not the peak….fuck. Body certainly gets slower as the day goes on. Must keep concentration levels high. A slip could literally mean disaster. It’s quite daunting to look back at what you’ve just descended. I presume the west to east is a little easier as the most common way. Pat Ford would love this place.
On the Mt Orion side of square lake the sun came fully out of the clouds and shone directly into that valley. Never before have I been so excited to see the sun. The way the colours of the trees and water changed is something like my change in emotion over the last few days. ‘Hello, Sunny, hello.’ As if it were a little puppy. As you can probably tell, I haven’t seen or spoken to anyone today. Took a bit less than five hours including a 30 min break. Stopping every five minutes to check out the views. Many side walks to see what is below and afar. By the looks of the map, it gets a lot tougher tomorrow, hopefully the whether is forgiving.
Rats: two rats now. One last night – ate two small holes in the tent trying to get to my nuts; little bugger. Kept waking me up, I kept hissing, it kept going away, then coming back. When it realised it wasn’t going to get any food off me he/she must have sought revenge. This morning I found my thong off the platform and down the track a bit, teeth marks in it. Don’t know what use a thong is to a rat. Must be native rats. I cant see how they would get up here otherwise…and another rat five minutes ago – eating the watery scraps I shouldn’t have thrown on the bush right here.
Change. Ancient amphitheatre hidden valley
With hidden secrets – mountains fall from water
Their blunt heads deep blue and dark black
Welcome sun on backs. I close my eyes, count
To ten, look over their jagged edges again
Covered in mist this instant, covered in year-like
Blanket indignant yet changeable. Green
Where it can be accompanied – thick rivulets
Penetrate to the sea – to see from Mount Pegasus
Golden mist infiltrated as if a dead tree
Collapsed on its stage; three streams making a lake.
I am tiny. Surpassable. I am forlorn shadow.
I am cold. I spin round and around til plants
Become dancing animals in this great concert
For which we are backstage crew.
I am your passenger, lead me to the place beyond
Senses, beyond all places, below High Moor.
I’ve examined the Port Davey/ South West maps. You must do everything in your power to arrive at Huon Campsite on the 10th, not the 11th. Do whatever it takes. Leave your drop-off at Cambridge airport, piss the backpacker joint off, change bus reservations – whatever. We need the extra day or else day two will be 30km of mud.
5:30pm 5th: Lake Oberon to High Moor. Phew, what a day. Probably the toughest terrain I’ve ever walked. Took six hours to do 4km and I’m fucking rooted. Left wonderful Lake Oberon in great spirits. The clear weather has lasted all night and all day today. About 15 minutes, i.e. 10 metres up Mt Pegasus the mountain became really steep. First haul pack. Lucky I stole that rope. Very dangerous: tying the rope to the top of the pack, climbing up holding the rope, getting a ten centre metre foothold and dragging the pack up behind me. Took 1.5 hours to reach summit. I could see Bathurst harbour and lake Pedder v. clearly. Teary eyed again at times, though at various stages I became nonchalant about the fantastic views because of the fear and adrenaline. Jeepers, what am I saying? it was great, but a real job ahead of me. When it’s really steep – both ascending and descending – the old adage ‘one step at a time’ really comes into its own. You have to concentrate on every foot placement, one slip could mean a broken arm or leg, or worse.
Haven’t seen anyone all day going either way. The nonchalance came and went. Remarkably, the ranges have so much to offer including some of the most returning coooo-weeee’s I’ve ever done. Halfway up mt Pegasus there must have been at least ten echoes. On Mt Capricorn and high moor there were about 5 echoes…then a hiatus of about 5 seconds, then another returned coooo-weeee. Possibly from the sou-western ranges connected to mt robinson. They echo up through the range for kilometres. A kilometre is a big deal here.
Beyond the nonchalance there are moments of pure bliss, of oneness I guess, which may only come about by feeling passé. After yesterdays ‘little puppy’, the sun seems like a fully grown dog now. There’s not a single cloud in the sky. Time for dinner and then watch the sunset from Mt Columbia.
8:15pm Sunset Mt Columbia.
Well. Really. I feel like crying. I cannot suppress a few sighs. I am in a landscape that is both indescribable and unimaginable. I hope I have dreams about this. Right now clouds cover a classic earth rotation. It’s setting over what I think is port davey. I can see the ocean, I think. It looks like a 500m mountain. It curves outward, often broken by mountains then disappears completely.
The sun is through the clouds now. Golden translucent mist. This page glows. The ocean is lost. Shadows adorn this side of every cliff. A rock or single tree pokes from each summit; so individual and separate I cannot help but think they are people. To the west, over lake Pedder, the hue is bluer. The water seems so calm, so at peace. Clouds dark there – break or re-emerge greyer and pinker closer to the sun. A half moon hangs, silently, patiently, looming. Darker by the minute. Wind is freezing on my back and ears. I have a hood, but do not want to use it. No camera and cannot use it. These rocks, rivers, lakes, trees, plants, planets; they are not like us. They are here, that is it. We are driven. That is our trap and our freedom. The sun leaves orange blotches on my eyes. Shadows become more diffused. From here it looks all grey and green – hard and soft. Up close water and wind bind them together, keep them apart. Fern forests in tiny caves. Cliff drops. The sun has gone. Anxiety. Succession. Calm. No feeling but bewildered beauty, that is this place.
Morning 6th 7:42 am: High Moor Campsite. Been awake for at least two hours now. Interrupted sleep all night. Wind picked up at about midnight and now the rain has come in. This tent is not made for this weather, but, for now, its keeping me dry. It’s really cold. I’ve placed rocks around the tent to keep it down. When there’s a break in the wind ill tighten up the ropes for when the rocks roll off. When a strong wind comes through, it whistles loud and rolls over the tent literally flattening the tent roof onto my head as a lay flat. These are no conditions for climbing the beggary bumps, the hardest part of the range. With any luck, it will clear later. Should take six hours in average weather to reach Haven Lake, so I can probably leave in about 4/5 hours at the latest. Otherwise tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then hopefully the next day. If it doesn’t clear by then I don’t know what will happen. No emergency beacon. Not that a chopper can get here at the moment anyway. I am a bit scared.
1028am: Rain and wind harder now. Tent only just surviving – not as scared though. Looks like haven lake tomorrow. Tent leaking.
11:42 am: raining harder still. Tent structurally average. Leaking profusely. Insane strength of wind. Chocolate at midday?
12:55pm. Calmed down a bit now. Patches of clear sky. No rain for 15 mins. Still looks like Ill be here for the night. Wind strong. Too dangerous over beggary bumps. High moor low moor , no more. Up to high moor later to look south and possibly west; see what’s coming. Wish I had a nail file.
3:30pm: able to get 30 mins sleep. Must try to keep temperature warm. All I have is two pairs of socks, thermal pants (long johns), shorts, normal pants, a shirt, thermal shirt, jacket and hat. Have wrapped bandages around feet. Continuously breathing warm air into sleeping bag to warm it up. Hail all around. Feet freezing. Prey it clears up tomorrow.
4pm: Well and truly setlled in. Hopefully, like a vomiting drunk, this front gets it all out of its system. It’s been since Friday that I saw anyone. Sitting here for 24 hours now, another 16 hours? Just pissed out the side of the tent. Don’t want to get cold by going to toilet 100 metres away. Reminds me of taking a days rest at Mt Chance on the bibbulman. Though this time, I am a lot better equipped mentally. Probably started to repeat myself in dairy. Reenforcement. A lot of my thoughts are about getting back to huon campsite for fire and company.
4:38 pm. Small hard hail stones everywhere; flatulence in sleeping bag; phew.
5:12pm. It occurs to me that the day before yesterday there was about 36hrs of fine weather. Perhaps if there is a loop there is about 20hrs of this shit left: noon tomorrow. The group of four that I met coming up mt Hesperus said they had to sit out a day too, hail included. I’m simply at the worst campsite for it. As you can tell, it’s hard to stay positive. I guess the temp is about 5 degrees Celsius. Not sure how much difference the sun is making. May be get to 1 or 2 degrees tonight?
7:50pm. Hail storms now. In violent bursts, like an ejaculation or climax. Tender resolving hiatuses between. The spaces widening?
8:44pm. Will be dark in 20 mins or so. Still hailing and windy. Thunder. The tent, while v. noisy will hopefully hold up throughout the night. A sleepless one I suspect.
9:20pm. Hail everywhere – like snow. Want to sleep, but hesitant in case tent needs fixing. Wrapped bandages around feet. Only 9.5 hours to sunlight. Very windy still. Relentless.
9:36pm. Outside all snowy. My first snow experience? Fuck. This is bad enough without being alone and two days walk back to the maintenance boys, Nick and Mat. Hi Boys!
9:58pm. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…..drum roll…..SNOW. February. Well I suppose I’m on a mountain that is in line with the feisty fifties.
12:40am. Some sleep. Still wild. Freezing. 6hrs til sun.
7th. 9:30am. Not looking good. Wind not as high thankfully, mist and rain still. Again leave at midday the latest.
10am: kept dreaming of people coming to help; very nice feeling. Illogical part was that if they were here, then surely I could return with them. Not possible.
11:18am. Well, looks like me and the hiking gear are here for another night. Unexpectantly I think I’m starting to settle in, making this my home. A lot of contemplation. Overall very happy with my life. The wind is constant but not as violent as yesterday. Mist all around, cannot see ten metres. Broke the valve on the mattress sometime on Sunday. Getting sore laying down all the time.
12:37pm. 36hrs is up. Still here. Another day in heaven with Allen Carr.
2:09pm. Man, I’m sick of this. Same mist and rain all day.
5:46pm. Low and behold, four Sydney siders have just strolled in. Crazy! They left at 9:40am. Took them seven hours coming from the opposite direction. I heard some voices from the east. Yelled out ‘hello’. Sure enough, they braved the incredible cold, mist and wind. They understood when I said I didn’t want to do it alone. All in surprisingly good spirits. Just happy to be here I think. Thaw out, have some food, a cuppa. They are part of the Sydney bushwalkers group, or whatever. Very experienced, got all the good gear. Their tents make this tent look silly. The Taj Mahjal one of them called my tent, with its two foot high piles of rocks on each corner and in the middle.
Anyway, they have a window to do this walk = no option to take a day off. Alec, the leader said: seeing the sites doesn’t matter as long as the walk had been done. Another cab off the rank. Assume some ego thing with the walkers club. Probably all work, planes to catch etc.
Before they arrived I was in a state. Well I wasn’t that bad – just frustrated. I was thinking about all the adventuring/hiking doco’s you see on TV. You know the Everest climbs and shit. Also I was thinking about the most recent doco I watched on the madman who walked from Adelaide to Burke. I remember thinking ‘ah, twenty four days walking without seeing anyone isn’t that bad, or, having to wait at base camp for a week or two isn’t that bad. Ha! All from the comfort of the couch. Having to sit shit out is frustrating and mind testing. You lose motivation. You get weak. You run out of food. And worst of all, you run out of books to read.
8th. Woah, what a day. Last night I tossed and turned about whether or not I’d try to reach Huon Campsite in one go from High Moor in a last ditch effort to find a phone, then convince sarah to arrive on Friday. I decided just to coast into Huon on Friday and accept that that part was lost. There were too many unknowns. Like if Sarah brought her phone with her. If anyone will be at Huon with a phone that gets reception. Will I have to walk 8km down the road to the Mt Anne campsite to ask other people? Will Sarah respond? Is there a bus on Fridays? Tony from Sydeny didn’t seem to think so. I had a vague memory of it running on Fridays. Does Sarah have other arrangements? And so on…Terry from Sydney said there was no way I’d reach the Arthur plains in one day, let alone Huon campsite.
When I woke at 6:30 the sky was amazing. Pink everywhere. The plains were covered in mist, not the mountains. I stood in the sun after three nights and two full days cooped up in a tent. Had a cup of tea and chatted with the Sydney crew. The mist slowly retreated off the mountains toward the water. Cyrus clouds quietly wisping away overhead. Tony was still in the tent. Terry Alex and Jacqui decided to dry all their clothes out. They overran the platform next to me because a) it’s empty and b) it was the first platform to receive any sunlight. Now, sometime during the night of the violent hailstorms I enacted a little violent hailstorm myself. Since the toilet facilities were about 100m away from the tent I decided to run outside as quickly as possible, pull my pants down hold onto the side of the platform and shit. Quite simple really.
It was a hikers shit. Big, sloppy and yellowish. I am aware that everyone has the same shit when walking on this trip. Parks and wildlife have provided these UFO looking containers for excreting, complete with red foot marks so you know how it’s done. I suppose once they are full a helicopter comes in and hoists the crap out of it. Anyway, out of the five or so UFO’s that I’ve seen, I’m yet to witness a solid dump. It’s all the high protein, low carb, no bread, lots of water, heaps of pumpkin seeds to blame.
So the crap I did off the side of the platform in the middle of the freezing night was the biggest power-hikers-sloppy-joe-not even a chance of a mister whippy crap I’ve ever done. I’d held it in for a day waiting for a reprisal in the wind or hail to bolt up to the UFO. No such break came so I let loose three metres from the tent. Raced back into the sleeping bag and proceeded to rub my thighs until they kind of felt normal again. Not only did I not expect to see anyone waltz in the middle of a hail storm, I hardly expected three quarters of them to be crowding around my gem of a let go. As soon as they arrived I thought about covering my little surprise with soil. I figured that down off the side of the platform, you couldn’t see it. You’d have to be looking. You’d have to step straight into it.
It seems that Jacqui has the boys wrapped around her little finger so Terry decides to jump down off the platform and delicately lay her waterproof jaket over the nearest bush. Yep, all over his nice little hiking booties. (Alex had a pair too, Tony look at them like they were a pair of poofs; walked around all arvo barefoot in the freezing cold to set a decent example.) Terry’s face turned to frown and disbelief when he looked down and realised that he’d trodden in something egregious and grotesque. He quickly threw the jacket over the bush and proceeded to wipe the bottom of his bootie on the sharp edge of the platform. I was the only one that knew exactly what was going on. Frankly, I was trying not to laugh. But since the incident was potentially most embarrassing for me, I didn’t. Remorse was the key. Remorse and honesty. It was too late for warnings. What was I supposed to do? “Hey look guys, I um, ah, hum, yeah, don’t step down there, because I, um, well, during the hail storm, um, ah, yeah….ok?” Play that trick and be honest or simply hope that no-one would step in it. At least not while I was standing less than two metres away from them. So by the time both Alex and Jacqui both realised that something odd had happened to Terry, Terry exclaimed: “Looks like someone has done their business down here.” Their business I thought. That’s probably the most vile, puerile, putrid amalgamation of faeces you’ll ever see. And you Terry, step in it and subsequently in your infinite Buddha-like wisdom, your grounded perspective, have the common decency to call it ‘business’? It looked like vomit layed by a giant beast with diahorrea. I would have been yelling and cursing.
I could watch their thought processes. Jacqui was gandering over the edge trying to get a view of what was happening beside the platform. Both Terry and Alex were wondering and deducing who the culprit was. It took them both about 3 seconds to remember that I’d spent two nights right here; and then they both turned and looked at me:
“Have you been doing little business over the edge?” Alex asked, kind of amused. Alex and Terry were sharing a tent and weren’t getting along too well, arguing and bickering throughout the previous evening. I’m using all of my power not the crack up, which is made worse by Terry, his scrunched up face, still wiping his bootie, a majestic Lake Pedder in the background.
“It was a hailstorm, what do you want me to do?” I said, still trying not laugh. “The toilets 150m metres away.” I had to shut up or I would have made it worse. Alex and Jacqui, unscathed, understood. Terry less so.
About twenty minutes later, when everyone started having breakfast and slowly getting their shit together I tossed sand all over the crap. I’d lost all dignity to fix matters on the quiet. Then, five minutes later, a wild gust of wind blew Jacqui’s jacket off the bush. The wind blew the jacket near the crappy sand, the sleeve falling onto the specimen. I was the closest and most concerned, so in front of everyone picked her jacket out of the muck and examined it. I noticed two smudges of shit on the left front and sleeve and just when I went to wipe it off with my hand – for speed and accuracy – I hear: “Oh, thank you James” in her English accent.
She was watching me, so I had to pretend that everything was hunky-dory. Simply replaced the jacket on the bush and got on with my day, which turned out to be a cracker. Yesterday, it had taken those experienced walkers 7 hours to reach my camping ground, High Moor. You become attached to these things. Therefore I thought it would take me 6 hours in better weather. I asked Terry if there was any chance I could reach the plains that evening and he said no way, not possible. I said goodbye and shit.
The climb over the Tilted Chasm, The Beggary Bumps, The Dragon and Lovers Leap was some of the hardest so far. At one point there was a ledge about a foot wide that crept around a mountain face, below the ledge a 100 metre drop.
It must have been because I was locked up in the tent for three nights that I raced along. 3hours 45 mins it took me. I couldn’t believe it. I thought that may be I had stumbled on a site that everyone had failed to mention. But sure enough, it was Haven Lake. Well.
There was no way I was going to settle in to camp. I felt great, so I trojaned on. Ringing Sarah was back on too. Walking beside the valley along Moraine K, I thought I heard the sound of an aeroplane. But it turned out to be the rushing sound of water flowing rapidly down the valley.
I’m now at Seven Mile Creek at the bottom of the plains. 9hrs solid walking. I feel ok. Legs are really sore. I got a little lost finding the camp site. Started getting a little nervous and shitty when I couldn’t find it. So tomorrow I should get back to Scott’s peak and try to ring Sarah. I can hear a duck. Goodnight.
Part Two: Huon Campsite to Cockle Creek coming soon.