If there are two words I can use to describe today they would be ladders and mud! (and lots of them!). We definitely had a late start this morning! I woke up around 8, and the two boys probably closer to 9. By the time we left, EVERYONE else at the camp had left at least an hour before (most more like 2+hrs before. We hit the road (or the trail i guess?) around 11:30am. The morning was BEAUTIFUL, and we started with a nice beach walk! It was a quick paced walk, and we were covering a lot of distance. We needed to make it to Camper's Bay in order to guarantee we would see Owen's Point tomorrow morning. Although it was only 16km away, there were rumours floating around that after the 53km mark (the time-wise half way point, some would say), we would be very slow going. The first people we bumped into in the morning were three avid hikers. You could tell how avid a hiker is by his/her walking stick. Although we were authentic and resourceful and environmental and chose driftwood walking sticks, this does not speak highly of our hiking abilities. ANYONE can pick up a stick, but only a true hiker would spend money on something you could get for free. These three men were SO avid that they each had TWO purchased walking sticks each. They were a bit negative, saying we'd have a hard time making Camper's by nightfall (we were clearly being judged by our walking sticks). The next two ppl we bumped into were a lot more positive and warned us it was hard going, but that we'd definitely make it. We decided to ignore Two-sticks and listened to the positive encouragement instead. I must say though, although negative, Two-sticks did give us good advice. They told us to take the bush route at the next beach access point because Waldron was very deep, and the tide was coming in. When they crossed the river the water came up to their upper thighs. It was solid advice (we later learned Sean did the river crossing and then proceeded to spend 1-2hrs just drying off). So we headed up into the bush (and were thankful for a change in scenery). The bush route was tons of fun! It was like an obstacle course, where there were roots everywhere, and pits of mud we had to maneuver in/through/around. There were a lot of ups and downs, and it was very interesting, made us think, and was just fun (had to jump, duck, climb over/under, etc). We had several cable cars as well to take us over rivers. Then the ladders started. We were warned about the ladders, but the warnings didn't quite give them justice. They were LARGE ladders. We were told they were 100ft deep/long (by Two-sticks.....and they would know). They never mentioned at the start of the hike that you shouldn't do it if you're afraid of heights. Good thing we didn't have that problem because these ladders were HIGH. And there were a LOT of them!!! They usually went down to a bridge (wood or suspension) or to a cable car. We were definitely wrecked by the end of the day! We didn't really find it got much slower at the 53km mark per say. It was more that once you hit a ladder, you would spend time and energy climbing down then up, but you wouldn't actually gain any distance. Once we were done the ladder section, we were a little worried that we would be caught out in the dark (having no concept how long it would take to complete the last 4km). By that point there were no more ladders, but there was still a LOT of mud to maneuver through (which needless to say is time consuming!). The sun was getting quite high in the sky, and we didn't give ourselves many (or any) breaks. By the time we hit Camper's we were WRECKED! We immediately started cooking dinner and setting up camp (and obviously taking off all our wet shoes/clothes). Turns out we had just enough sunlight. The sun started setting as we were washing up our dishes and it only became dark after we were all ready for bed! No one in the camp thought we were going to make it (because of our late start) but we won! (as if it was ever an option to not make it in time!).
Posted by Nicole