Day 2 and another two camp day of roughly 21km starting off at the Blanket Bay walk-in campsite which is where we finished off yesterday, hitting Cape Otway at lunchtime and then finishing off at Aire River in the afternoon.
Today’s walk focused on hitting Parker Inlet at the right time. Parker is one of the two inlets on the walk that could potentially derail our plans but we didn’t do ourselves any favours and just managed to luck it, more on that in a minute.
We left the Blanket Bay Campsite at just after 8:00am in the morning and ideally we should have been at Parker Inlet at low tide but opted for the later start expecting to get to the inlet while the tide was still reasonably low. Within about 100 metres of leaving Blanket Bay we were given a ‘Decision Point’. We’ll talk more about these decision points in the write up; the name implies there is an option but in reality this wasn’t the case. We ended up turning back to the start after 30 minutes when we were presented with a rock outcrop that would require a degree of confidence in bouldering with no surety of what to expect after that.
Once back on the main trail we made quick time and ended up reaching Parker Inlet at 10:30am, 2.5 hours after low tide but given our loss of time at the start of the day, we were happy at how fast we moved. One thing that was going to be reinforced the next day was that this trail does rely on hikers being familiar with, and confident with, crossing inlets. We hit the Parker Inlet crossing, chose our crossing spot and after I stripped off my pants and being the taller hiker, went first and determined that the chosen crossing point was around 70cm deep, mind you if I’d picked the wrong spot this wouldn’t have been the case. Gill followed straight after and we took a 30 minute break for morning tea, allowing our legs to dry off before heading on. While we sat drying off and snacking, we watched as the tide rose about another 30cm from when we crossed and this made us think about the school group that was following.
We continued on past Cape Otway Lightstation and Campground, heading to the Aire River Campground crossing over cliff tops, sand dunes and through bushland, still with the occasional muddy areas but nowhere near as much as yesterday. We spotted the occasional wallaby and multiple birds along the way. Today we came across a large healthy Echidna who as soon as it saw us, shot into the bush which was a bit of a surprise for us as on the Three Capes Track in Tasmania, Echidnas really don’t care about hikers one little bit.
Speaking of wildlife, Gill was walking in front of me and thought she’d seen a Goanna shoot off into the bush. She indicated where it had gone and instead I was greeted by a diamond shaped head, grey eyes and an open mouth which I was pretty sure was a Death Adder of some variety. Sure enough when I checked a few days latter when I had internet access it turned out to be a Common Death Adder which just reinforced that it always pays to look from a distance, with a trekking pole in the lead and not go into an area where you can’t see where you’re putting your feet. Another surprise for us was this day ended up being the warmest of the whole trip and also the sunniest so we were glad we had good sun protection.
The rest of the afternoon was uneventful taking the odd break as we went. Even though this day just seemed to go on forever given our mistake at the start of the day, we ended up walking around 24km rather than the expected 21km. We finally arrived at the Aire River Campground at 4:50pm and were greeted by another thru hiker. We learned our new friend was from Belgium, had been going campsite by campsite and started two days before us. Given our remaining days would be done campsite by campsite, we would finish the trip together.
The Aire River Campground was another of those sites that shared resources with car campers. As much as I loved the hiker’s area, there is a very steep walk down to the toilet and then back up the hill which really made you think twice about the need to go or not. A great day overall!
Day 2 and another two camp day of roughly 21km starting off at the Blanket Bay walk-in campsite which is where we finished off yesterday, hitting Cape Otway at lunchtime and then finishing off at Aire River in the afternoon. Today’s walk focused on hitting Parker Inlet at the right time. Parker is one of […]