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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Overland's True Form

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 28 April 2016 | Views [412]

Black fungi

Black fungi

For the first four days of the Overland Track we've been privileged with great weather but for part of today it turned to crap. Up reasonably early I was too lazy to get out of my sleeping bag. Another trekker replied "it's that sort of morning." When I finally did get up I cut up an orange and made a cuppa. Fresh fruit can really be a saviour whilst trekking when you tire of freeze-dried food. Gary, Rick, and their boys are staying another night at Kia Ora Hut so I had a chance to say goodbye over brekkie. Unfortunately they missed their chance to climb Mt. Ossa due to the rain. With a break in the weather I made a run for it but I didn't stay dry for long. A fair few puddles and mud patches were about today but I was able to get around all of them. About an hour into the walk I passed Du Cane Hut where some people were having a break and a snack but I carried on.

There are side trips to two different waterfalls but I didn't go to either of them, although I thought about the first one. My feet are sore and I think we're all getting weary. Most of the day was spent walking through forest with exposed (and wet) tree roots so I had to be cautious. The rain eventually cleared about midday and it was sunny again, so I needn't worry much!

Four hours after setting out today I arrived at Bert Nichols Hut, named after the pioneer of the Overland Track. Like Pelion Hut, this is a rather classy hut with everything except lighting and a hot shower. There's even a viewing platform with a nice view!

20,000 years ago, this area was completely covered in a glacier, and tomorrow will be spent walking through a U-shaped valley carved by a glacier. I've yet to decide if I'll finish the walk tomorrow or stay a sixth night on the track. Many people are taking the ferry across Lake St. Claire but it costs about $40; I'd rather spend that on a good meal and a glass of vino as a treat to a great walk! Five nights marks the longest I've ever spent on a walk; my previous record is four nights on the Rees-Dart Track. On the Inca Trail, Milford Track, and the Simien Mountains I spent three nights each. This could be a preparation for Kokoda or perhaps Antarctica. Other great walks I'd like to do are the Shackleton Walk (South Georgia), the Annapurna Circuit (Nepal), and various walks in both Japan and NZ. Possums wandered about outside the hut as I wandered to stand on the helipad for some stargazing. There's a helipad at each main hut for the purpose of airlifting out waste from the compost toilets, handy as well in case someone needs to be airlifted out.

Since many trekkers are off tomorrow, I was given a bit of food as well as some coffee! Pip gave me some Mexican rice and another couple gave me some butterscotch apples. I'll either walk all the way out tomorrow or I'll stay at Narcissus Hut or Echo Point Hut. Walking all the way out will be a very long day of about 25 km whereas staying at Echo Point Hut means my final day will be relatively short (about 10 km). An advantage of tomorrow is that the walk is mostly flat. Finishing the track tomorrow means I'll get out pretty late and nothing will be open, meaning I'll have to wait another night (likely sleeping on the side of the road) to have a victory treat. So, I feel like tomorrow evening willl be at Echo Point Hut to enjoy the extra night in the wilderness and get out early on the final day so I can have a good feed, a glass of wine, and plenty of time to organize where I'm going and staying. For now, I'm continuing to enjoy it out here. Having done plenty of treks, I think the second day is mentally the toughest; I tend to think about how I want some fish & chips, pizza, or fresh bread. By the third or fourth day, it turns to acceptance. You learn to deal with being without creature comforts like the internet, electricity, fish & chips, or a hot shower. Jennifer and her group are celebrating a late birthday for their friend Simon, and being in the bush there's no birthday cake, but instead they're making pancakes. The layout of the hut means it's not as warm in the bunk room than in the communal dining area, but I remained warm tonight. Tomorrow is my sixth day on the Overland Track...I can't wait to see what unfolds.

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