According to the guidebook today was classified as hard which meant this was potentially the hardest day of the trip. As it turned out, physically this was very similar to yesterday’s hike but with much less mud and that was a welcome difference. The condition of the trail due to rain has a big impact on your speed and you find yourself slowing down so that you don’t lose your footing.
One thing that’s rare about Ryans Den as a campsite on this trip is that you walk into the campsite and then walk back out again. Apart from the section 1 Elliot Ridge Campsite every other site you walk through including Devils Kitchen. This morning we went uphill for the much of the morning past farmland and in all honesty this was the steepest part of the whole trip. Once we reached one of many high points at the back of rural areas we continued along but this time into the Otway National Park. Just prior to this we passed one of the biggest rural properties in the area that hugged the cliff top.
Another thing we noticed was the change in vegetation types; coastal, rural and forest all in one day. On other days we tended to be walking in the same type of vegetation for much of the day. As the guidebook promised, this section of the trail is well known for its fungi and while the main season is over, there was still lots of photos to take.
The mud continued but nowhere near as bad as yesterday and once we moved past the midpoint, the ups and downs became less noticeable with the gradient changing to more gradual.
We arrived at Devils Kitchen at around 12:20pm having walked just under five hours and averaging around 3km per hour. While rain was forecast for mid morning, the sun stayed with us until mid afternoon until the clouds and rain set in.
I managed to stuff up our gas estimate for the first time in a long time. We started the hike with our preferred 100 gram canister that had been used once before. This should have lasted us the full six day trip but due to extra hot drinks on day three, we ran short by essentially one full meal. Thankfully another hiker on the trail had plenty and we were able to snaffle some hot water for dinner and a hot chocolate.
This day for us is the best day so far with the changing landscapes, as tough as it was.
According to the guidebook today was classified as hard which meant this was potentially the hardest day of the trip. As it turned out, physically this was very similar to yesterday’s hike but with much less mud and that was a welcome difference. The condition of the trail due to rain has a big impact […]