181112 – Sand, sweat and snakes

Day: 007
Date: Monday, 12 November 2018
Start: Lake Monibeong Camp
Finish: Tarragal Camp
Daily Kilometres: 38.4
Total GSWW Kilometres: 189.6
Weather: Overcast, very warm and humid with little wind
Accommodation: Tent
    Breakfast: Muesli
    Lunch: Trail mix
    Dinner: Rehydrated Kung Pao Chicken
Aches: Exhausted
Highlight: The scenic variety that ranged from the beach, through dunes, pine forests and Australian bush
Lowlight: Getting caught by a rogue wave on the beach.  Several times I had had to make a run for it up the sand to escape abnormally large incoming waves, but this time I just could not outrun the incoming rush and was wet up to the bottom of my shorts and my socks and Goretex boots were filled with a mix of water and sand.  It was very hard to get out and my boots remained wet and sandy inside for the rest of the day.  Not what you want with a day of hiking ahead of you.
Pictures: Click here
Map:  Click here for Google Map


I got up soon after 6am and was hiking by 7am on an overcast and already mild day. My campmates, Cath and Ben, were still in bed, but I suspected they might still catch me later, even though they were only going 18km to the next shelter and I was continuing on to the one after that, a further 20km.

Back on the beach for the morning, the surf was raging despite the lack of wind and I could see waves breaking way out, where there must have been some sandbanks. I know that ships were wrecked along this part of the coast in the 19th century. The sand walking was frequently hard work because sections were soft, and I occasionally had to run to dodge incoming waves (see above). There were also a lot of annoying little black flies around, probably because of the lack of wind. But there were also interesting little flocks of seabirds on the water’s edge and the highlight(?) was finding a partial whale skeleton with its massive vertebrae stretched along the beach.

Around 11:30, I followed the trail inland from the beach through a desert of soft sand dunes where, apparently, dune buggies are allowed to drive since there was road signage around. At noon I reached Swan Lake Camp, and as I finished my break, Cath and Ben arrived. They made good time and must have walked without a break, though they looked hot and tired. I wished them farewell for the final time and headed for Tarragal Camp, my destination for the day.

It was warm and muggy, the trail often soft sand, and the flies were bad enough for me to don my insect head net. Safe to say, I wasn’t having a good time, but kept up a reasonable pace as the trail climbed gradually towards Mt Richmond. I encountered the first of three large tiger snakes for the afternoon on this section and that kept me alert for the rest of the afternoon. The third snake was not inclined to leave the trail and reared up, but I backed off and threw a small log at it and it retreated into the bush.

There were no views from Mt Richmond, but the trail through the eucalypt forest was pleasant enough and I saw a couple of emus, although by this time my mind was on getting to the shelter. I reached there at 6:30pm and enjoyed a nice cooling flannel wash after setting up camp, though the rest of the evening was marred by the resident voracious mosquitoes. It was a long hot day. Hope it’s cooler tomorrow.

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