Overcast early on, so I managed to sleep in.
Then I made time to go down and drink my coffee, and eat my muesli down on a log overlooking the beach. Didn’t seem to be any hurry, maybe because low tide at Gorge River would be around 3 40 pm. That would make crossing the river much easier.
Sandflies were congregating at the tent in huge numbers, and then there were 20 minutes of the finest drizzle that still managed to wet everything. I stayed outside with my coat on.
When that ceased I quickly packed up. Left at 10 am.
More serious boulder hopping until Spoon River, about an hour away.
I checked out the alternative campsite in the flax and came to the conclusion Callery Creek was way better.
The major surprise: much of the rest of the day was on sand, and while soft in places it made for considerably less perilous walking. No twisting-of-ankle-style concentration required either, it was just one foot in front of the other.
A few beautiful little beaches, and later some rocks out to sea. The vegetation was dense on the hills, with flax on the low-lying areas also looking difficult to penetrate.
Eventually I made it to The Steeples, a remarkable outcrop of rocks, and spent an hour scouting for mussels around the rocks. Nope.
I could see habitation not so far off, and a small windsock, but the head and cannonball size rocks made another appearance. Progress slowed.
I timed my entry to Gorge River at low tide, later in the afternoon, and while immediately in front of me the Gorge River lagoon was still and deep, at the bar it appeared shallower.
The first half of the crossing was ankle-deep and I was onto a dry island mid-river. Thought I’d better put all my electronics safely in my pack despite the second half only looking knee deep. Just as well as it came up to almost nipple height, and had a decent flow as I headed across at 45°.
Underwear well rinsed.
My double plastic bag inner layers kept everything dry inside. Now that seemed a fully sensible decision.
Suddenly I was chatting to Robert who invited me in for a cuppa.
“An hour,” I replied, as I went next door to the DOC hut. No one there for a month, and two hut books that went back to May 1984, Forest Service days.
Time to dry off, and change. Not much choice in dry clothes however, I only have the stuff I wear during the day, and the change of clothes for night.
Robert has been living at Gorge River since 1980. His wife Catherine had been in the helicopter I saw twice in the morning. Tea and cake went down well.
I had a few questions answered about the track and its history, but will be here for three or four nights depending on the weather so should be able to catch up some more.
The comforts of a DOC hut are great after a few nights in a tent, and best of all, mostly sandfly proof.
Yeah. Not sitting or lying on the ground. A bench. A plastic covered mattress.