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.
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).