This morning I was a bit apprehensive. I aimed to do solid 30km today to Parry’s Beach but following yesterday’s feet and knee soreness I wasn’t sure if I had it in me. I would start the day at least and resolved that if I made it 20km to the next hut and wasn’t feeling it, I would pull up stumps for the day.
I went back to basics, taking out the stiffer inner soles and dispensing with the knee brace. I’m pretty sure both made things worse yesterday, over compensating and not allowing my body to do it’s thing. It was only Day 3 and my body was still adapting to the rigours of thru hiking again. The extra 1/4 day rest was awesome.
So with a belly full of pizza and coffee milk for breakfast I was out the door by 7am, taking it really easy and backing off my pace. Typically on solid surfaces I’ll average 5 – 6 km and hour. I slowed right down to around 3km/hr, taking deliberate steps to see what was tight and what I could handle.
The track took me down along a river for a few kilometres before turning inland through a maze of back streets and what is essentially people back yards. A pretty area for sure.
The first 8 km were fine and I was feeling good. Getting out of suburbia the trail lead steeply up and over Mount Hallowell with massive granite tors jutting through the trees. Tall trees at that, not quite sure which kind but white, long and barrel straight. From the top of the granite views across a now calm ocean covered directions. The water is such a crystal clear blue close in and penetrating inky blue further out now that the wind had backed off the white caps to be able to see it.
The backside of the mountain was proper technical trail and had to done slow through the jagged rocks. My kind of trail.
Navigation is easy as there are trail markers every few hundred metres or so, some in the most unlikely of spots like high up on a rock jutting over the trail.
On to some flatter ground and down to a surf beach my feet were sore but holding up. The decision to sans the liners and knee brace was paying off but the test was to come in the afternoon with a 7km beach walk.
From the beach that I was one, the track headed inland up and down series of short sand swales before hitting the first diversion. A section of the trail was closed for repairs so a diversion was in place meeting along along, slow fuel breaks with not much to see.
I arrived at Tower Hill shelter, 20km deep for the day, around quarter to one and knew I had it in me to complete the final 10km stretch to make it a 30km day just fine. The respite over lunch would be enough of a break to rest the legs and have the whole afternoon to walk the final leg. I’d need it.
The final beach walk after lunch was relentless. Soft sand for just about the whole way. It was horrible. It was one of those moments that you just have to keep trucking. There was nothing I could do to change to walking conditions. The only that could change was my attitude. I saw the beach as a challenge. It was playing a game with me, a game that I would win.
My feet were screaming out in the soft sand. Every footstep twisted the feet left, right and centre, paining the calf’s and archilles heal. I had the break the beach up into chunks, playing watch game where I’d walk for 20 mins and rest the feet or pick and object out in the distance, a log, a heap of seaweed and not stop until I reached it. I tried following in the footsteps others had tread but that was not use, the sand was still way too soft.
After one final stop along the beach I looked at my maps and saw I had 3 km to go. I also notice a few surfers 4WD’s not too far away and knew it must be a bit firmer for them drive that section of beach. Reaching the first car the sand was much firmer and a welcome relief. I made it to the end of the beach and to the Parry Beach camping areas caretakers hut. The caretaker welcomed me in, filling my water bottles and pointing me to the Bib Track camp spots that are set aside for walkers. We is meant to charge but being a walk himself and see the tattoos on my legs of previous adventures told me not to worry about paying, if anyone asking tell them I did he says.
I have the camp site to my self. A small day shelter is close by which is great as it’s mean to rain overnight and I’ll be able to pack everting in the dry apart from my tent.