Over the long weekend, I finally went on an overnight hike — my first since the Overland track in early 2015. Sure, I was a bit scarred back then but when I did try and get to some overnight hikes, uni or else other stuff got in the way. Honest.
For those who are a bit uncertain, an overnight hike is one where you hike out to the camping spot carrying all your gear, set up camp for the night and then pack everything back in and hike on the next day. This weekend’s hike was a one night hike and I thought it’d be the perfect way to get back into it again as opposed to doing two nights.
A reasonably big group of us (19) started our hike at Kanangra Walls in Kanangra-Boyd National Park. The plan was to hike from there for about 11 kilometres to a campsite near Dex Creek. We would be hiking along the ridge and crossing Crafts Walls, Mount Berry, Mount High and Mighty, Mount Stormbreaker and finally to the top of Mount Cloudmaker. The campsite was meant to be on the other side of Mt Cloudmaker. Of course, this gives you and idea of us climbing up and down peaks.
We knew it was a difficult walk.
But we underestimate just how difficult it was going to be!
The first hour or so was ok. But then it just got out of control. The terrain after lunch in particular, was extremely rough. Some of the peaks were quite steep, therefore being a huge strain on knees and ankles for yours truly. Also, remember how I said I hadn’t been on an overnight hike since Tassie? Well, it really got to me. After a steep downhill on Mt Berry following lunch, the next sections were scarily traumatising for me. There was a lot of rock scrambling, uneven terrain, climbing rocks near the edge of the mountain and crazy heights.
I was on the verge of crying several times. I had a couple stay back and walk slowly with me as I was struggling. I didn’t have any sugar on me so they gave me some sugar hits to keep me going. It was tough. I was envisioning myself falling off the edge of the mountain, of not seeing my cats, of wondering if this was the end — and yeah, admittedly, I can be a bit dramatic like that when I’m tired or anxious.
Finally, a little before Mt Cloudmaker, two other members of the party waited for us. They helped carry some of my load — water and my tent. Eventually we met up with the others and continued to a campsite — not the original one because turned out, there was still a long way to go — but one that we could find. Most of us picked the first one we found. We were that exhausted.
We’d ended up walking 15 kilometres as opposed to the original 11 kilometres. It was so good to set up camp, have dinner around the campfire. Some people like me, went to bed early — 9 p.m. Others stayed up a while more.
I didn’t want to wake up the next morning knowing I’d have to make the 15 k trek back. But somehow, knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, made it easier to keep going. It was still painful and I stacked it several times. I have bruises and scratches to show for that. But we made it out. Alive. I had a swollen ankle and I stunk of sweat but I was alive. And that’s all that mattered in the end.
When I returned home that night, I wondered why I do it. Why I put myself through hikes like these. Sure, the views are lovely but you can get that even at other easier hikes. I think it’s the people I hike with. We look out for each other. We persist through this sanity. We have great laughs around the campfire.
This is why I keep going back.
Having said that, I doubt I’ll be doing a similar overnight hike anytime soon! Camping trip where I can drive me car up to the campsite? Sure! 15 kilometre or longer day hike? Sure! Overnight hike? Let’s wait on that for a while…
Have you almost ever died on an overnight hike?
Until next time,