So we went down to Wilsons Prom at the beginning of this week for two nights. To test my gear, to test my walking fitness, to get out of the city.
It didn’t go 100% according to plan.
We were a bit late getting out of the city, then missed a turn off, so arrived three and half hours later at the Visitor Centre to pick up our permit. The woman serving us told us we’d have to cross a river at the end of our first stretch, right before the first camp site. She checked high tide, and it was about 45 minutes before we would arrive at the crossing. Damn. The Boyf was not entirely pleased to hear about this – he hadn’t factored in a river crossing and wasnt sure about the idea. But, what are you going to do. We drove up to the car park and started out, then immediately set about doing the rain dance. The dance being, start off with your jumper and raincoat. Get too hot, stop and take off both jumper and raincoat and stash in pack. Five minutes later it starts to rain. Stop again and put raincoat back on. Five minutes later it stops raining and you’re hot. Stop again and take raincoat off. Repeat
We walked about 10km through the wildly different terrain of Wilson’s Prom – where it seems you can cover rocky mountain, deep rainforest and coastal scrub within just a few km – and popped out onto the beach just as the sun came out – perfect timing! We promptly got naked (the woman at the counter had said, no worries, you’re pretty much alone out there) and forded the wild river balancing our packs on our heads – the woman had warned us it would be up to chest deep, and it ended up being just below my bra line. And FUCKING COLD! After we got across and went the 50 meters to the campsite (Sealers Cove), we realised there was a bunch of about eight adolescent girls on some sort of school trip there. Oops – hope they weren’t watching our naked parade (full of shouted obscenities as well as full frontal genitalia). Oh well.
We set up – yay, the tent works! Started cooking dinner – yay, the stove works! And rugged up – yay, the down jacket and beanie works! Within an hour or so, I looked up to see the tent shaking – something was on the attack! I ran over thinking – one of the kids?from the school group?! – but it turned out to be a muthafuckingpossum (different species to the cute, adorable possums you may have come across before). The muthafucka had clawed a few holes in my brand-new-custom-made-expensive-lightweight-precious tent!! That mother fucker! I chased him/her away, but s/he only went up a nearby tree and sat there waiting for the next chance to attack. Watching with cruel, calculating eyes. (S/he also came back during the night to have a go at another side of the tent. Fucker.)?
We took advantage of the clear night sky, playing with my camera and getting a couple of cool night shots. Bedded down quite early (8:30 pm?) and the Boyf went straight to sleep. (barstard). I stayed awake because although my sleeping baggie is super warm, my airmat does not have much in the way of insulation. So the ground was just leeching out all my heat. I tossed and turned for hours, eventually laying down both a ground sheet and my raincoat under my bed, finally nodding off with the drawstring of my baggie pulled tight around my face to make a little warm air cave for my head. I think it got down to about 6 degrees.
Good weather in the morning and some cold soaked overnight brekkie. Boiled creek water for the day’s drinking. Got going at a reasonable time (8:15 am) and set about tackling 14km of mod-hard track. It was quite hard. Which is to be expected for a track rated mod-hard, but we hadn’t looked at the rating before we started, so it was, actually, not entirely expected. Scrambling across rock, walking through soft sand, climbing up steep slopes, only to go back down again. But good, great views. Stopped for lunch at another spot with only creek water to drink, which we couldn’t be bothered to boil because it took too long. So we walked on, the last 9km were pretty flat and easy.
Rocked into the second night’s camp, right near a bit stretch of sea – Oberon Bay. Yay, rainwater! We were the only ones there. It was amazingly still, with only a slight breeze. A bit of cloud, so not as cold as the previous night. Early dinner at 5:30, then we hobbled down to the beach to watch the last of the sunset. Well, the Boyf was fine, but I was hobbling by this stage due to sore feet and sore calf muscles. Another early bed. Read out loud from the Boyf’s Kindle to each other. Such quiet camping bliss. Sleep time. But then I started thinking of how isolated we were. And how, if they wanted to, this would be the perfect place for creepy dudes to hang out so they could prey on people. And it turned out this really is my biggest fear. In my declaration post, I listed the fear of being raped/murdered (I use the terms loosely to include all sorts of creepy man attack), but put it under the category of a fear of failure due to it occurring, and then dismissed it as something unrealistic. Turns out it doesn’t matter how unrealistic it is. Also turns out the fear of it happening is far greater than the fear of failure caused by it. Or really, the fear of the fear that would occur if it were to happen. Put me in an isolated place without other people around, and instead of feeling more safe (there’s no one else actually there!!) I feel incredibly unsafe. Even with the Boyf right there next to me. I have actually been avoiding considering what it might be like to be out in the bush in the dark with the noises and literally no one else around, for fear of, well, inciting fear. And I was right. There’s a lot of fear there. What’s to be done about that though? Not much. Oh well.(Ideas for how to not be scared alone in the dark are welcome!)
Aaaaand then the wind picked up. I looked at my watch at 8:30, 10:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30.All night it went (I looked at the weather after we got home and saw it got up to speeds of 50km an hour). It was like someone was physically shaking the tent with their hands. SO LOUD. Sometimes the walls were bending in so much they were phwapping me in the head or the feet (which were, admittedly, quite close to the edges of the tent. Being as it was, technically, a one man tent). I was also worried about more muthafuckas creating more tent damage, so I kept thinking the noise was them attacking. So was the Boyf – at one point my feet accidentally wandered over to his sleeping mat, bumping into his feet. He woke up, sat straight up and was like WHAT THE FUCK, FUCK OFF! Before realising it was me. Whoops, sorry.
By the time 6:30 arrived I was like, THANK FUCK, NOW WE CAN LEAVE! (Caps entirely necessary). We got up and realised that the wind had actually taken very fine sand from outside, blown it underneath the tarp/outer tent, up the walls of the mesh inner tent and forced it through the mesh, coating everything inside the tent with a fine dusting. Lovely.
We prepared brekkie and then went and sat down in the next campsite, a few meters away – which was about 100x more sheltered than where we’d set up camp. Lesson 1: set up your tent in the most sheltered looking spot. Bugger the view. Lesson 2: if it gets very windy early in the night, get up and move your fucking tent. It will be worth it.
All fear of scary men gone (until a brief stint when we walked through one particularly creepy wooded section on the way out) we packed up and made a move. Hiked an easy nine km out on a four wheel drive track, arriving back at the car about 9 am! Who knew you could achieve so much so early in the morning! It was still crazy windy, and the deliciousness of getting into the car where there was not a lick of wind was awesome. Went and ate hot chips and hash browns.
Impressions of the trip were that Wilson’s is a really beautiful area, and I’d definitely like to hike more around there. Also I want a new stove as waiting 15 minutes for boiling water is too long. Much trouble walking once we got back to Melb due to extreme soreness of the calf muscles (all good now). Am left thinking – What the fuck have I gotten myself into?