I stayed snuggled up in my bed reading yet another book picked up on the way. I swapped out the 70% finished James Bond book for an book written by Australian Mary Gaunt in the 1890’s. It is proving to be a bit more realistic than Bond but a harder read.
After my slow start I dressed up again as Big Bird and made my way under grey skies to Torbay Hut. It was 16.5km up and down sandhills inland for some of it then out along the top of the cliffs. The cold wind from the south made the sea rough. I had no rain but the poncho helped protect me from the wind. I don’t like wearing my raincoat unless I have to because I sweat too much going up the hills.
I didn’t see another human soul, only kangaroos. I presume they have souls too. No snakes.
I arrived at 1pm, four hours later. Soup and cheese and crackers warmed me up while I chatted on the phone to my son Dean in New Zealand.
I was concerned about my next days walk so then began looking in earnest at the maps. My plan was to do a double hut day to reach Sandpatch hut about 24 km away. Cameron will walk in to meet me there from Albany. Then we can finish the track together the next day.
But there is an inlet crossing about half way that I was slightly concerned about doing on my own. The low tide was 2.30pm wiuch would necessitate a late start and mean arriving at the hut around 5.30pm which is nearly sunset in this place that has no day light savings.
There is an alternative route that requires a 24km extra walk along roads. The roads out here are sand tracks and I wasn’t keen on doing a 47km day. The chances of getting a hitch were very low because the roads lead to beaches and no Aussie is going to a beach in this weather.
I don’t so much mind getting washed away out to sea but I would like to have a witness to tell my family what happened. Maybe I am a bit weary of the sea but would get over it and be okay if I had someone with me. Also I would rather do it on a sunny day where I can get warmed up easily afterwards. (That is after a successful crossing rather than being swept out to sea).
As happens so many times in my life an angel turns up to help me. This time it is an older man, Ted, who comes and sits with me telling me he lives about 5km away and regularly walks up here for his excersise. We discussed the inlet crossing and he suggested that it would not be recommended as there has been considerable rain and with the strong onshore winds we ghave been having I would be wise to miss it.
So he offered me a ride for the 24km around the inlet. He will meet me along the beach in the morning and drop me back past the inlet on his way into Albany for the day. Whew.
He also calmed my nerves when this rat like thing arrived sniffing around. If he wasn’t here I would have freaked thinking it was huge rat and not slept all night. However Ted told me that it was a Bandicout or Quenda. It is a marsupial and definitely not a rodent. I am not to be scared of it, he told me. I should see it in the same way I see a kangaroo.
Actually I reckon it looks like a rat and a kangaroo have mated but I won’t tell the Aussies that as they have quite a soft spot for these creatures. I just hope they don’t steal my food or walk over me in my sleep because I am not allowed to poke them with my stick. It kept coming back to find crumbs.
I snuggled up in my sleeping bag reading my book and eating a pot of instant noodles. I now understand why people like these things. They are quick and easy and very satisfying, real comfort food.