The Last Day
With Lake St Clair and the end of the Overland Track adventure in sight, I think I should be feeling emotions of joy and accomplishment. I feel nothing other than relief and the cold chill in the hut.
Talk about ugly in the morning. I’m wrecked. I could happily stay in my sleeping bag and be carried out.
Shit is getting tight. The toilet roll supply is low. Every sheet is being accounted for.
Breakfast is a slow burn as we have a second cup of tea, and finish off the last of our coffee. Supplies are now at a bare minimum. We’re all looking forward to finishing up today. The last couple of days have been hard.
The 9km to Narcissus Hut and the ferry to Lake St Clair Visitor Centre is pretty much a flat walk all the way in.
It is time to get shifting to catch our 3.45pm ride. The walk is timed at 3 hours. We conclude it’ll be approximately 4 for us.
Lake St Clair Uber Alles
We open the hut door to begin our final day before reaching Lake St Clair in similar weather conditions to yesterday; freezing cold, snow on the ground, heavy rain with a bit of wind in the trees.
Trekking along the forest floor, over tree roots, through mud and on the occasional duck board the way forward is always wet. There’s been a lot less duckboard than I understood there to be on the walk.
It’s a dreary walk in the rain. None of us are remotely interested in the flora around us. No photos are being taken. The idea of finishing the Overland Track is our driving force. A hot meal and a celebratory beer at Lake St Clair will be our deserved reward this afternoon.
Walking with wet boots and consequently wet feet is not something I would recommend. It’s such an unpleasant feeling. Mind over matter.
I wish there was more to describe on this mornings trudge. Traversing puddles, rock hopping muddy pits and minding my step on icy track takes most of my attention.
Conversation is at a minimum as our faces take shelter under our rain jacket hoods.
We reach the junction to Pine Valley and Narcissus Hut – we’ve made half way.
For the third straight day, we’re not making a lunch stop. What is left of our lunch supply has to wait until Narcissus Hut.
It seems like forever when we make it to button grass. We are out of the godforsaken forest. The wind is up but we are unperturbed.
The suspension bridge means we’re almost at the end. The raging water is brown in its hurry to get down stream.
It’s an interesting crossing. I’m caught between looking at the water, striding across in happiness and making a decent attempt at a video. I reach the other side and I haven’t achieved any of the three.
Walking in together we pass the some signs and see the Narcissus Hut.
We’ve made it!
The jetty is 500 metres further on.
The time is 2.45 and the sky is full of rain clouds. There is an hour to spare, giving us enough time to get out of the rain, have what little remains of our lunch portions. I get to enjoy eating my Time Out, have a drink and get the pack off for a bit.
There are quite a few others already in the hut chatting and trying to keep warm.
With the gas heater churning the small size of the hut aids in keeping the hut a few degrees warmer than outside. If only people would close the hut door behind them. Some people were born in a tent! Am I getting whiny? Probably.
I do the ferry check-in for our group through the radio attached to the wall.
It’s just about that time of the hour. Putting the pack on for the last time feels fantastic. I don’t even mind the wet boots and socks. Frame of mind is everything.
We begin making our way to the jetty.
Throes of Rejection
Then came the news. The most dreaded of dreaded news. The last ferry service of the day was cancelled. The conditions were too rough on Lake St Clair for the boat to cross. Two metre waves on Lake St Clair!
We would end up staying overnight at the tiny and crowded Narcissus Hut with the other stranded walkers, with unlucky day walkers included.
With one bar of phone reception, Tim was able to get in touch with Brad and adjust the pickup to tomorrow. Being a knowledgable fellow, Brad had already been in touch with the ferry service and had taken shelter at Miena.
We had kept our emergency dinner pack for such an occasion. This was an emergency – No soup, no tea, no coffee. I was hoping to not have to be in this situation. The roast beef Back Country pack was about all we had kept. Thankfully we were gifted coffee. Luckily, and most gratefully, Dad had some surprises up his sleeve. He distributed some extra, extra emergency mini-Mars Bars. The Last Boy Scout.
The condensation in the hut was extreme. The walls were dripping. In some parts it was dripping from the ceiling. Wet clothes and bags were getting wetter.
Ferry Me Home
In the morning we had another scare, the 9am ferry was postponed.
This brought about a lot of confusion among other walkers. Some opted to take on the 16km walk out around the lake, thinking the ferry would be delayed even further. Some adjusted their times for a further rest. We were not going any where other than via the first ferry, whenever it arrived.
Fortunately, the ferry got the green light to pick us up at 9.45.
All aboard at the jetty on the little boat.
Let go aft!
We are ready to cross Australia’s deepest lake. At it’s deepest point, Lake St Clair is 160 metres deep. The boat ride is choppy over the lake. Upon reaching dry land at Lake St Clair we greet Brad at the Lake St Clair. We tuck into some breakfast and hot drinks and then it is time to head home.