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reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

In Tasmania Day 10 Deadman’s Cove to Surprise Bay

January 25th, 2020

In Tasmania Day 10 Deadman’s Cove to Surprise Bay

This was a day of Tassie walking—rained all night, packed up in a drizzle, and set off fairly early (nearly every day I’ve started within 10 minutes of 7). The South Coast track follows the coast and often drops onto spectacular beaches —mesmerizing waves, broad sand, but usually cold and windy. Reminds me of the descriptions of the early seafaring explorers who approach but do not often land. The track dips down on the sand for a half kilometer or so of easy walking  (unless it is a stone granite beach, then it’s slow and laborious). But a stretch on the sand involves always a steep climb up and ramble through the ridge dividing the bays. There were some river crossings and as usual for this area, a whole lotta mud. At one point I was passed by a nice German hiker who slogged better than I. Immediately after I thought I had caught back up but it turned about to be an Aussie named Daniel with whom I camped with for the duration.

Fascinating man: 2 years ago he had never been on an overnight camping trip. In the space between he has learned to hike long distance and on this trip had followed mostly the track I did with one significant difference. Through Port Davey he carried a folding pack boat (I can’t imagine hiking Port Davey with that much weight). When he got to  Bathurst harbor, he assembled his boat and spent almost a week paddling about that area— brilliant. He then packed it out to Melaleuca and shipped it back to Hobart via Par Avion.

When I caught up with him, he was suffering from the sheer brutality of what he had done, but a positive, thoughtful man, he continued on to the end (we hiked out together). After a lot of mud and roots, we arrived at Surprise bay which was much further than my originally planned end-point (the weather was bad so instead of stopping at a beach I had pushed on). Ideally I should have gotten to Granite Beach to be able to make the next day (a strenuous one), but weather and exhaustion brought me to Surprise Bay and an early night. The hard-core crew rolled in a little later, set up camp and had dinner in the rain. For the rest of the trek we all shadowed each other.

T. Hugh Crawford