Monday, 25 January 2016
Distance: 9k + 5.7k
I think that day 6 was the first day that we were actually the very last to leave the camping site. While most of our tribe were heading down the trail to get on the 1:30pm ferry, a few were going for the 11am ferry, and consequently had tromped past our tents at 6 in the morning. Of course we knew that the overland track isn't truly completed unless you walk all around the lake as well, so we could linger smugly in our tents.
Actually that was one thing that was odd - the trail around the lake is really pretty. In fact it's one of Tasmania's 60 Great Walks - but it feels like the overland track people are almost discouraged from doing it - by both the description in the brochure about the walk from Windy Ridge to Narcissus being 'your last day'…. and by chinese whispers.. walkers were saying that they had heard that it was 'overgrown and unmaintained' which is completely untrue. Thus there's confusion about whether it is a 6 day walk, or a 7 day walk - resulting in people realising half way through that they hadn't allowed enough time to actually walk around the lake. In fact the two other groups who were planning to walk around the lake, realised halfway through their journey that they hadn't allowed enough time, so they had to combine two earlier days so they could stay on schedule.
We had planned to walk the 8 or so K down to narcissus, have a lazy relaxed lunch by the river, then head further on to Echo Poiht for our last night. Our first stop was 5k down the trail at the Pine Valley junction.
From this point we were retracing the path we took 18 months earlier when we walked out of Pine Valley with the kids. In fact it was on that trip that the dream of the overland track was hatched - not for real, but just as a 'maybe', a 'possibly', a 'could it ever happen', - vague thoughts drifting through the air. It was after chatting to some overland hikers at Echo Point that we decided to ditch our trangia and get a new fangled gas stove (which was awesome ). Those walkers also complained that they hadn't been able to use their fancy gortex coats that they'd purchased specially - what a thought ! not needing raincoats on the overland track!
And look at us now! the kids have proper packs, we've got a proper stove, we'd even climbed Cradle Mountain & Mt Ossa, when so many people had failed. We hadn't lost Bjørn, we still had food (unlike 1989!). We had literally, and figuratively, come so far!
Arriving at Narcissus (as it happened about with an hour to spare for the 1:30pm ferry should we had wanted to catch it), and thus catching up to all the people who had left so early - we headed down to the jetty for a lovely lunch and a swim. Eventually the ferry arrived and we said our final good byes to our travelling companions. I recon they were a bit jealous of us getting to stay another night out in the wilderness, postponing our return to the real world.
We still had about 6k to go before Echo Point - we could have camped at Narcissus but that would have made the final day pretty long, and we knew Echo Point was nice - and the kids were very keen to push on. Despite the beautiful scenery (the first section is amongst my favourite) It felt like a bit of a slog, particularly the last few ks. We even had our first injury when Zali tripped on the board walk and had her knees scratch up by the chicken wire they lay on it to make it less slippery. It wasn't serious but it was satisfying to get to use the first aid kits we had with us!
After about 1.5 hours we arrived at Echo Point and we had the beach all to ourselves. It was beautiful, just like last time.
We all had a swim - the first proper one for Jett who just ran straight off the edge of the jetty. Zali was very disappointed, in fact if was the first and only tears of the entire trip - that she couldn't catch a fish and eat it (not because we wouldn't let her, because it was too hard - even with her pocket knife taped onto the end of a stick).
Aside from that it was a beautiful evening. Before dinner we all sat out on the Jetty and I quizzed everyone on their highs, lows, successes and regrets of the trip (I'll post these when I get to the end of the trip). We stayed up late to look at the stars before setting in for our final peaceful night. Almost peaceful - just as we were drifting off to sleep, a weird growl, which Clare described as sounding like a bear dismembering a kitten, exploded across the lake. 'What the *** was that ?" exclaimed Clare , thus depositing another $5 into the swear jar account which had amassed excess of $100 throughout the journey (due to absorbidant rates mind you) . Aside from the kids giggling (probably partly with glee at the thought of all that cash, and possibly also slightly nervously at the thought that they would be the next victims of the kitten dismembering bear., that was the last sound we heard before we all fell asleep.