Today would be the final leg of our journey. As mentioned in day fives journal, the option was to A: be soft cocks and take the Ferry back to Cythia Bay (The ferry was leaving Narcissus at 1.30pm with a half hour journey) or B: be hardcore to the max and walk the 17.5km back there. Of coarse we chose B.
In actual fact it has nothing to do with being hardcore to the max. The trip is flat and relatively easy and the people who usually take the ferry are those that have done the track, or tracks off the track on numerous occasions. We did feel it was our duty though, to finish the track in style by walking all of it. It initially heads south-west through some low swampy country before returning to the shore of Lake St.Clair.
The lake itself is Australia’s deepest at 167m, its valley having been carved out by glaciers over three ice-ages. The Aboriginal people called the lake ‘Leeawuleena’ (sleeping water) and the first European surveyor ‘General George Frankland’ who visited the area in the Summer of 1835 wrote “It was a fine summer’s day and the air was so serene, that the surface of the water scarcely ruffled, but the sand beaches bore evidence of the lake being as rough as the sea”. The water’s surface on our walk was somewhere in between depending on how big you believe my picture of ‘Nessy’ is.
The fine sand beaches of Frankland’s time are now buried underwater unfortunately with the hydro electric scheme raising the water level by 3m back in 1937. The many dead and fallen trees along the shore also resulted from that flooding.
Today would remain relatively cold and overcast all day. A couple of hours into our walk and we came across the final hut at ‘Echo Point’. We stopped here for a while and had a break and a look around. The ferry also makes a stop here and there is a large, new looking pier. The hut itself was very small and old school. It had a cheery looking wood kettle fire place inside that you could still use. It would make the perfect evening for a couple of lovers on a still summer’s evening, a dip in the cold lake water, warm up by the fire with a blanket, etc, etc. My day dreaming was shattered as I remembered I was with a couple of swarthy blokes that hadn’t showered in a week, time to move on.
We set a cracking pace for the rest of the days walk and as we gradually got closer to our final destination the track began to widen and become more trodden with boot marks. We crossed a very modern bridge over the ‘Cuvier River’ and knew we were getting very close when we came across some rather colourful (clothing wise), elderly Asian ladies with umbrellas that didn’t really look like they could wander too far away from civilization. We wandered into the visitors centre at around 2pm narrowly beating the ferry. We took some snap shots at the end of the track. I felt a little unusual being back among the public. You sort of get used to everybody being filthy, unshaven, mud covered boots, packs and supplies. It can actually take a couple of days to get used to having no pack on. We celebrated with a couple of beers and arranged a cabin for the evening. The 500m walk to the cabin was murderous but we were welcomed with warm beds and the best shower I have had in a long time. Once showered we wandered back down to the restaurant where we ate and drunk as much as we could take. The rest of that evenings memories get a little bit blurry.
The next day we were driven back to Salamanca by our good friends at Cradle Mountain Coaches. I was very happy to have some clean clothes to put on. This company were very professional, turned up exactly when we wanted them to and didn’t mind changing their schedule to accommodate us. We booked in at Lenna of Hobart , yes we splashed out and enjoyed a full day taking in the sights and sounds of Salamanca (mainly from the Irish Pub) that was bathed in glorious sunshine for our stay.
Well I hope you have enjoyed this series, it was an awesome trip and writing about it bought back many memories of how we felt during the time. Hope you can join me next time.