28/9: Well I slept better but Ambles didn’t, was kept awake listening to everyone snoring. Told Deb later he gotta set up the tent😁. The suffering northbound hiker got up to drink some water, started vomiting again, crawled back into his bag. Ambles got up 4.45am just eager to get going so as always he is the first up. The suffering guy complained the tank water was making him sick, but he only ate breakfast yesterday & nothing else, obviously was dehydrated as well. Daisyfish gave him advice that he must eat & keep his fluids up, that’s why he is so sick. He didn’t have any water purification tablets & asked Deb for some. She didn’t have enough to offload some but I had heaps, & another box in the car so I gave him two sheets. He wanted to pay me but I told him no that’s fine. In hindsight, I should have offloaded my empty mini glass wine bottles for him to carry back to One Tree Bridge & put in the bin – darn! We doubt he listened to the advice as he set off. Hope he will be alright, if he passes out, that group of 17 will stumble upon him. Of course Brad was gone quick as you like double hutting into DRV. We noticed Brad wasn’t wearing proper boots but trail sandals with socks. Both northbound hikers & Daisyfish set off before the rest of us. Ambles grumbled, “I get up first & everyone leaves before me! And I’m sick of being last one into camp!” Pouting Ambles still had an itchy throat & the sniffles. He reckons he is going to lose a toenail on the toe that has been sore awhile. The nail has gone black. Oh dear😕. Geoff had pitched his tent with the front viewing people going in & out the toilet, I thought that was an interesting choice.😀
We left camp after Daisyfish at 6.30am. Pumped for the day ahead, this is a challenging section, the profile elevation looks similar to sharks teeth. And when the guide book talks about steep ascents, steep descents, (multiple times I may add,) and if you got a jet booster attached to your pack, now would be the time to use it, engage walking poles here! Well, it all doesn’t sound good. Also described as the Donnelly River Roller Coaster. So as the roller coaster starts, you hike along comfortably slowing climbing up, up, to the top, then WHOOSH! The ride begins taking you down a steep incline & over a gorgeous Karri tree bridge. Lindsay & John leapfrog with us for a bit & John told me he had a bone to pick with Ambles – he wasn’t using his axe to cut a pathway through all the fallen trees, logs & big branches for everyone 😂. I was in a good mood singing verses like, “Show us your teeth!” & “Rollercoaster of love! Roller coaster doo doo doo!” I later changed this to Rollercoaster of pain! We had our first steep long climb joined by John, Lindsay, Deb, Mel & Daisyfish. And we successfully knocked out one of 11 inclines. Ambles was on fire, he even took the lead for awhile there, & we had covered over 8kms of Rollercoaster hills within 2.5hours. Ambles was running low on petrol, started to slow as we had another steep long descent (my knees protested) that switchbacked downwards, followed by one horrible long steep ascent. It was so long, we had to stop & start 50 times, sweat pouring off our bodies, making these grunting & groaning sounds all the way up, our bodies so bent forward our heads almost kissed the ground in front. At the top, my shirt was half soaked in sweat, had no oxygen in my lungs so found a log to take a breather, ate some trail mix, lollies & vegemite peanuts to re fuel. Could really kill for a Mars bar right about now! Ambles kept on moving. We had achieved 12.8kms by 10am which was pretty amazing considering the terrain. Then Geoff & Lisa go pass me, looking pretty fresh & not wrecked like me! Darn, they just don’t make hikers like they use to😂. I thought, ‘They can’t be human! Wahhhhh!😭’
Caught up with Ambles as we continued onwards with 5kms to go. It was a hard slog day, but at least shorter with 20kms to Beavis. The track today follows the river but doesn’t provide much river views, you are usually up away from the river. The last steep zigzag descent really upset my knees & they started to throb painfully with each downward step. At least the rest of the way was relatively easy with short little pimply ups & downs, arriving 12.05pm with Ambles just behind me. Yah! Was so happy to arrive at camp & have the afternoon there! This shelter has the same design as Brookton & Possum Springs but not rammed earth. The sides had been recently painted with lacquer the smell was still strong & surface very sticky to touch. Again, firewood & axe supplied. Really like the campsites in this section, volunteers have gone to a lot of effort in supplying cut up firewood in a storage area for hikers to use. There is a still pond of water brown & green. We were deciding if we should swim in it so Lindsay tried it out first, came out horrified with a leech attached to his leg. Well that settled that! Geoff & Lisa got in not long after us. The tent sites are in a particular spot – on the way to the toilet! Geoff & Lisa decided to set their tent smack bang in the middle of the track heading south. I hoped no night hiker would turn up walking into their tent, you never know actually anything happens out here!
After lunch, I joined Deb & Lisa on the small wooden bridge for some yoga. We went through some poses, stretching out muscles & tired bodies. Daisyfish came in as we were still in yoga class, walking through the middle of us to the shelter 😆. Lucky she has a free standing tent she set it up inside the shelter to hide from all the zillions of insects & buzzing flies here! Ambles got more help from Dr Deb on his backpack. He was going to cut the belt some more, but Deb found him a solution without cutting, he seems happier now with it, the backpack isn’t weighing down on his shoulders as much – so cooking with gas! It was a relaxing afternoon, some people napped, or read a book or just lay down resting. The days weather was beautiful, cool, some sun but not too much.
Daisyfish was happy to get a campfire going late in the day, chopping up firewood with John helping while Ambles lit it up. Mel is suffering from Plantar Fasciitis she thinks in her left foot. Her arch is very painful making descents a struggle. Each step hurts. We hope she can make it into Pemberton, get some rest & arch support in her boot & be able to continue on. She is one tough cookie & determined to make it to Albany. We all are now, our leg may break, we will still continue on, dragging our leg behind us. Push on no matter what! That’s how determined we all are now. Everyone gathered around the campfire chatting until hikers bedtime. Our Pemberton bound tramily😊.