December 21st 2016
107 Govan Wilson Rd – Possible Camping
Total distance: 325.3
After finally falling asleep at around 11:30pm to the sounds of the morepork owls and the screechy possums, I woke to a very wet tent. Huge amounts of condensation. We packed up our stuff and lay our tents in the sun to dry while we went up to the house for tea (my third cup of tea this year in a very short space of time!) / coffee. We sat and chatted with Matt and Jasmine (Yasmine?) for about an hour. One of Matts jobs is making bacon but he told us they ate it all last night so we didn’t get to try any!
We did get to fill up our water and get rid of our rubbish though which was very nice. As we were slowly putting our stuff away Jas came down and gave us a pikelet with strawberries on top. It was delicious. I could have eaten at least 50 of them. Our relaxed morning saw us leaving at 9am.
We had a small dirt road walk before joining a forest track through the Dome forest and up to Dome peak. I could feel my knee was sore from my little fall yesterday, but I think it’s just bruising and nothing more serious. On the road we saw a fence covered in all sorts of shoes and boots. Odd. And I see these flowers every day – red hot pokers – and every time I see them I think of my Nan because she had them in her garden.
The nice easy-but-steep forest road turned into the tramping track we expected. Loads of hazards, lots of tree roots, some vines, muddy patches and steep up and down. Some people moan a lot about this type of trail and says it’s ‘unmaintained’, but this is tramping and it’s fun! It can be slow going at times and you have to concentrate 100% of the time, but it’s wild and rugged and that’s what I like about it.
I struggled a bit with the downhill because my knee was sore, I was also conscious of slipping and making it worse. But we ploughed on because we knew that at the end of this track is a cafe and my stomach was growling in anticipation of a good meal. We slogged on through the forest, stopping to take in a couple of nice views, the shade from the trees and ferns provided some welcome relief from the heat of the sun but it was still very humid and I was sweating buckets. It was rolling down off my face. We made it to Dome summit and had a small break but with the cafe only 0.9 miles ahead we didn’t stay for long.
The downhill is very steep and there are a couple of Little Rock scrambles but about halfway down you get to a viewpoint and after that the trail is a constructed pathway. A popular trip for people to make when stopped at the cafe. It’s a series of gravel walkways and wooden steps. There are hikers with the opinion that all the forest tracks should be like this, I really hope that never happens.
At the cafe I order a deluxe burger – tomato chutney, a great big beef patty, cheese, bacon, egg, beetroot, lettuce, mayo – sorry America, New Zealand are kicking your ass with their burgers. It also came with chips and onion rings. Really delicious onion rings. I worked my way through it but I’m the end was defeated by the last two mouthfuls of the burger. I just couldn’t do it. We stayed for a little while, I nodded off for 5 minutes with my head on the table, but we still had 12 miles to go so we couldn’t dilly dally.
I felt incredibly thirsty before leaving the cafe but I didn’t do anything about it. Something I will come to regret later on. I had about three quarters of a litre of water and thought that would be enough considering how much I have been drinking.
We climbed up and down through old forest roads and farm land. The sun was so intense, I was sweating again within about 30 seconds. We spread out as the trail continued to follow a dirt road for quite a way, going downhill we were able to pick up the pace and make some time up. It’s easy walking on dirt roads. I put my earphones (one earphone) in for the first time in a long time and listened to some podcasts. I won’t do that again, even on these quiet roads it was impossible to tell when a car was coming. I didn’t like that. We took a break after about 7 miles. We sat on the edge of the dirt road by a small bridge under the shade of some bushes. It had been so hot and I was so thirsty I was down to a quarter of a litre of water. The stream running under the bridge was gross. It was dark brown and not appealing to drink at all. So we carried on with very little water, hoping that we would be able to get some from a residence later on.
Two of the biggest vehicles possible came past us while we were sat in the shade, flat bed lorries carrying digging machines. I thought we were going to get squashed and I had no idea how they were going to fit across the bridge but they managed it. We saw them later on and they were really nice to us.
The trail climbed up and up in the heat and Julia and I were really struggling. We felt very dehydrated, a bit vomity and I could barely speak at one point. Our lips were sticking to our teeth and our tongues were stuck to the roof of our mouths. All in all, rather unpleasant. As the trail kept climbing we thought it was touch and go we would make it! The trail continued to be exposed to the sun but as it got later it started to lose some of its strength and the dehydration became easier to cope with. We had a final forest track to get down, there was quite a lot of gorse about and it made my legs super itchy.
We got to the road and we were then on the lookout for a lady’s house who we had heard likes to help out hikers. We were going to ask her for some water. We had the street name and a photo of her property to go by. We used our detective skills and found it, went to the front door and knocked. A man inside shouted ‘are you pretty?’ of course! Then he said ‘you must be thirsty!’ got it in one mister! We were SO thirsty. He very kindly filled our water bottles for us and Noelynne, the lady of the house, came and had a chat with us. She loves having the trail go by her house and has hosted and helped many hikers. What a gem! I drank about three quarters of a litre of my water all at once. I needed that so badly.
We chatted for a while but with a mile to go to our camp spot it was time for us to carry on. Up the road and then into the forest we found the ‘possible camping’ spot that was listed on guthook. It’s difficult with three tents because the possible camping could only mean space for one. This one was tight but we managed to squeeze ourselves into this spot. I am right next to the trail so hopefully no one will come through here at night.
It’s late again by the time I finish writing, there is always so much to write about and I feel I’m too tired to capture it all properly. But at 22:15 and with an early start I must get some sleep.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.