Day 12: Climbs, Mud, Beaches, Boats

Thursday December 1, 28.2km/17.5mi

Louisa River Campsite (30.2/41m) to Osmiridium Campsite (58.1/8m) (TAS) +0.3 campsite

I left camp at 7:45am, a little later than usual to give the morning fog time to burn off. Everyone else has already left camp it seemed. The first few minutes of the day were on a nice flat section of trail, giving me a preview of the big climb ahead, up the Ironbound Range.

And then, for the next 2 hours, I climbed up….

Up….

Occasionally I would turn around to see how far up I had come.

Still going uphill. It got pretty rocky near the top.

I got one final look behind me, before I lost the view.

The top ridgeline was a more gradual uphill, traversing a wet area on some old boardwalk.

I kept pausing to watch the clouds swirl around the ridges below me.

The top section was mostly boardwalk, which was a nice change from the thousands of stairs I had just climbed.

Finally, at 10am, I was on the summit! I had climbed 900m/2950ft over 5km/3mi, so it was quite steep. The view behind me:

And ahead of me:

I had caught up to John, Murray, and Sean, they started the descent just before me.

And now the trail started going back down the other side, initially on a nice boardwalk.

More boardwalk descent.

After a short while, the trail dropped into a wet gully. The boardwalk disappeared and everything was a wet muddy mess.

Sometimes there were wet slabs of rock to walk and scramble down.

Eventually, after 2 hours of descending, I made it to the bottom. I enjoyed a brief walk thru a flat forest.

It was after 12pm, so I stopped for lunch as soon as I was a suitable spot. This was a campsite at Little Deadmans Bay.

I always enjoy watching the waves crash on the rocks.

I had passed 2 other groups on the downhill section, and I was hoping to see them again. But after 30 minutes, it was time to move on. After crossing a very short rocky beach, I was back in the meadows.

My favorite parts of the day were the beach walks. First on Turua Beach:

It even had a short rocky section, which was fun to taunt the ocean from.

There was a short section of forested hiking, and then back on the beach! Prion Beach was longer, and I strolled down it for an hour.

These massive seaweed clumps were washed up everywhere.

It’s a long beach.

Eventually I left the beach by scrambling thru the sand dunes, and I stood on the shore of a lagoon behind the beach. I saw where the trail resumed on the other side of the lagoon.

It was time to paddle!

Like the Bibbulmun Track, they provide boats for hikers to get across the ocean inlets. Unlike the Bibbulmun, these weren’t lightweight canoes. These were solid aluminum heavy rowboats that were nearly impossible to push into the water. With 2 people, I’m sure it’s much easier, but I couldn’t sit there for a day and wait for someone to show up. Eventually I devised a system to drag the boat down to the water. I took all the paddles out of the storage box, and removed the oar part so it’s just the round handles. I put all 8 oars underneath as rollers, and pushed the boat into the water. The actual rowing across was easy, and only took 5 minutes.

I had to leave a boat on each side, so I towed the 2nd boat back to my starting shore, tied it up, and paddled back a final time to my ending shore. I made sure to only barely pull the boats out of the water, so other people don’t have the same struggle. Definitely the crux of the hike. All those shenanigans took 45 minutes, and it felt nice to be hiking again.

The trail felt rather brushy and unmaintained for the next 30 minutes, so I was quite surprised to see a new metal bridge.

After crossing the bridge, the PUDs ended and the trail became nicer. I could see ahead to Osmiridium Bay.

Which means I was almost at camp!

I turned down the 300m side trail to Osmiridium Campsite, and it felt good to sit after a long day.

Eventually I convinced my legs to stand up, and walk down to the beach. It was an easy 5 minute walk, and I’m glad I got to experience this neat little beach.

There was nobody at the campsite or the beach, I had it all to myself. I like the remoteness of this trail, it’s so much quieter than the Overland Track. I think I’ve seen 7 people so far in 3 days. Tomorrow is the last day, and it will be interesting to see what else the South Coast has to show.

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