Overland Track - Day 2

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Distance : 7.8k

Side Trip : Lake Will 3k return

Dawn of day 2 broke under grey but not threatening skies (well it might have, I got up a bit after dawn, so I’m making assumptions here).   Jon, Bjørn and I started the day with our porrige ration - I had vacuum packed our combined daily serves - each was about 500g including milk powder which made two pretty large serves each once it was cooked - too much for me, but given the weights of their packs, pretty much what the boys needed to get through to lunchtime.  At the start of the walk I was really looking forward to our hot porrige breakfasts.  By the end of the walk I’d started calling it our daily Splodge Ration and I haven’t been able to look an Uncle Tobys box in the eye since then.

Each day we had to rouse the snoozing kids who were the always last up (of everyone on the entire overland track I suspect)  - normally preceded only slightly by Bjørn, who had the magical ability to turn this around and have his tent down and be the first ready to go each day by a mile.  In anycase, with everyone up and fed, we were packed and ready to go at about 9:45.  We were certainly not the first to break camp, but we were almost never the last.  We found that as a rule, the hut-sleepers left the earliest (NO doubt having woken each other by rustling plastic bags and farting loudly) , followed by most of the campers at around 9, then us between 9.30 - 10 (except for the long day where we managed to head off by 9).  We were only last away once.
In 1989 we marched in the rain right through this entire section of trail in the afternoon of the first day, so all the landscape seemed new to me.


An hour’s walking brought us to the halfway point, and we were presented with the day’s side-trip option - a 3k return flat walk to Lake Will.   The option of a side trip without packs to further explore the area was appealing to everyone.  As evidenced by the piles of abandoned packs at the turnoff, it seemed that most of the other walkers felt the same.  At all the side-trip junctions, Parks and Wildlife have built nice places to leave your packs and/or sit and wait for your side-tripping partner which is a nice touch. 


On the left, Lake Will Junction, and on the right - who exactly is the Norwegian? - the one with the Norsk flags and the orienteering top, or the one with the aussie flag hat? 


So without packs we practically skipped along to the lake and enjoyed a 1/2 hour sit down and snack stop as we chatted to some other walkers.


On the way back to the main trail I managed to daydream my way right off the edge of a boarded walkway and into the mosssy bog below - Clare, who was in front of me, turned when she heard me yelp.  Attempting to curtail my fall (which was well underway by then) she somehow sort of caught my shoulder and unwittingly swung me even futher out across the bog so I sort of landed right on my feet, right in the middle. I immediately sunk up to my knees in moss so I tried to use my forward momentum to continue stepping in a semi circle back around towards the boardwalk.  Which worked, but I left very deep footprints in the otherwise pristine looking bright green moss-bog - horrifying Jon to extent that he suggested I needed to immediately revise the 'leave no trace' section of my guidebook.  I'm glad I didn't perform that manouver with a pack or my entire body would have left a much larger, body sized 'trace' . With sodden boots I continued sheepishly back to our packs. 


For this side trip we were smart enough to put pack covers on our abandoned packs  so the Currawongs weren't able to steal our snacks in our abscence, but we did notice that some other campers items had been presumably stolen and dropped under the platform.  Including a nice yellow camping spork, which we sent Zali underneath to fetch before continuing.




An uneventful hour’s walk later and we arrived at Windemere - in 1989 this was our first stopping point and due to the rain, the first (and thankfully last time) we slept in a hut.  The hut had been upgraded extensively since then - I remember quite clearly the stench of wet woolen socks and sodden walkers drying themselves in front of the wood heater when we pushed the door open in 1989... 

 The hut in 1989 

 The enhanced hut 

 Now the heaters are all gas powered and physically won't turn on unless the temperature inside is below 10 degrees. There are also new verandas on most of the huts - great for cooking and drying.  A lake has since been added to the camping site as well (ok - so maybe we just didn't see it back then), and we all had a swim in it that afternoon.  These photos are at 6.30 the next morning as the lake-fog was lifting and the water was completely calm.  This lake was by far the warmest swimming spot of the week - Clare and I almost did a lap of the island but were thwarted by submerged rocks that we kept thwacking our knees against as we swam - that water is clean but very dark – you can’t see your feet when you look down.



Our tent site on Day 2 was on some beautiful camping platforms which looked back at Barn Bluff. This was my first time ever using camping platforms - and Clare has found they can be a bit of a pain to anchor tents to, but because we had our cheapie self-standing tents, and a few bits of extra rope,  we didn't have too many hassles (Bjørn and Clare both had Macpacs which are better in serious weather but a bit more of a hassle on platforms).  



In the afternoon the rain set in so Jon went for a run while the rest of us jammed into our tent where we quizzed ourselves on the contents on the guidebook (an optional extra when I booked the walk, which turned out to be really useful).  Once the rain had cleared dinner was pre-fab cheapie curries for Clare and myself (Clare was pleased to be rid of that weight in her pack), and rehydrated chilli con carne for Bjørn and Jon. The kids entered day two of their plain pasta/rice/noodles rotation (the boringness of their menu was entirely their own fault).
By day two we seemed to have settled into a start-dinner-at-6pm, finish by 8, bedtime by 9 routine. The evening meals were just about my favourite times of the day - they were delicious & we had so much fun sitting outside enjoying the beautiful scenery whilst we prepared them.  Everyone was so relaxed and happy and I was so grateful to be in such a fantastic place.
We were all off to bed as the sun set, listening to the rain falling softly on our tents...
Packing Regrets Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Overland Track - Day 7 Monday, 25 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 6 Monday, 25 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 5 Sunday, 24 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 4 Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 3 Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 2 Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 1 Monday, 18 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 0 Sunday, 17 January 2016
Slow Progress Thursday, 14 January 2016
Pakning på, opp og stå, ut og gå Monday, 11 January 2016