I clearly wasn’t thinking straight when I accepted the challenge of venturing on a 4 day hike to Wilsons Promontory. Covering over 50km on foot with nothing but the bag on my back with life’s bare necessities (15kg worth of bare necessities I might add), and I wasn’t willing to get much more Bear Grylls than that.
The first day was great – fresh, excited and ready for adventure. We began at Telegraph Saddle Carpark, stopped at Sealers Cove for lunch and continued onward to Refuge Cove. Once we reached Refuge Cove we only had an hour of daylight to go and our campsite (Little Waterloo Bay) still another 7km/2.5 hours away, so we decided it best to stay and enjoy dinner by the beach. With our little stovetops and pots at the ready, we cooked our dehydrated Thai curry and filled our bellies with instant noodles and listened to the gentle lap of the water against the sand. Thank you to the lovely couple who offered to share their piece of dirt with us – we’re forever grateful!
With many hikers up and ready to go before sunrise, we were one of the last groups to pack up and get going. Our bodies were tender from the 16.6km walk the previous day, my feet had begun to swell and my shoulders needed a good massage. We had a long way to go since we were now 7km behind our original plan. The first 7km were difficult and I was glad we hadn’t attempted it the night before. The steep uphill climbs were quite torturous and by midday my dear friend was not enjoying himself. The constant pressure on my feet made my toes fat and they pushed up painfully against the end of my shoes. This slowed the pace right down for all of us (sorry guys!) as each step was painful.
We realised yet again that we weren’t going to make it to our campsite (Roaring Meg) before nightfall. We thought it best to cook some dinner on the trail while there was still light, and trudge on through the darkness for what felt like forever. It was getting towards 9pm and I was ready to throw my pack on the ground, pull my shoes off and throw them off the cliff and lie there in defeat. But I couldn’t give up, there was nowhere to set up my tent! When I could finally hear voices and see glimpses of light in the distance, I cried out in joy, but mostly in relief. We had made it after a gruelling 25.1km. Possums the size of small dogs came in the night and rummaged through a sleeping hikers pack that he had left out. Its safe to say the possum got what it came for – the nuts!
By the third day I could hardly walk. My feet were so swollen my shoes felt 2 sizes too small. We had intially planned to stay the night at Halfway Hut but as it was only 4.8km away we figured we could make it all the way back to Telegraph Saddle Carpark, where it all began. I think after about 6km I was taking teeny steps and had fallen far behind the others. My dear friend waited up and walked slowly with me as my partner powered on in the distance. Every now and again he would stop and wait for us to catch up. He made an executive decision there and then to just carry my pack for me so that I could try and keep up and walk a little faster. Even though he carried my pack as well as his own, I still couldn’t keep up with him. I swear he must have been a soldier in his previous life.
When we finally reached Telegraph Saddle Carpark I wanted to drop on my knees and kiss the concrete. But instead I sat there in relief, reflection and wonder at how I just completed the biggest challenge of my life. It’s not something that I’ll do again in a hurry as it was the most mentally and physically challenging feats of my existence, but at least I can say I’ve accomplished it.
So now I bet you’re all wondering why the heck I did it? Well, the views and the scenery were beyond amazing. I don’t think our photos captured Wilsons Promontory in all it’s glory but hopefully it’ll be a snapshot of what it has to offer. I understand that hiking is not for everyone, so if you’re not willing to trek through the wilderness, well, I’ll let you live vicariously through me.