Long Point to Walpole
7th June 2018
The Hike - My last night on the track for this section turned out to be a pretty wild one with strong winds and heavy rain pelting the shelter for most of the night. I didn't have the greatest sleep, not because of the noise but because I was too warm, even with my sleeping bag unzipped. It was a weird feeling after almost every other night on the Bibb being like I was sleeping on the ground. I had set my alarm early with every intention of leaving camp well before my usual 8:30-9am departure time. That didn't exactly go to plan as I was enjoying a restful sleep and ended up turning it off. Never mind though because I was still up at first light to discover that the rain had disappeared and a gorgeous sky greeted me. Not knowing what the day would bring weather wise because I'm with Vodafone and wouldn't have reception in this part of the world (even in the middle of Walpole), I endeavoured to pack up as early as possible.
It sort of worked and I was away from the shelter a tick after 8am, full of energy and ready to tackle my last day on the Northcliffe to Walpole section of the track. I always find the days leading into towns a big mental challenge as you are very excited to reach a hot shower, hot meal or just to wear clothes/shoes that don't smell and are dry. However you still need to enjoy the day ahead and not rush things in case you miss out on something special in your haste. With a top up of fluids and everything packed away I departed Long Point, keen to experience more of the beautiful coastal walking that I had a taste of yesterday. Walking up the long access road into camp I was amazed at how stunning the sky was with the aftermath of the storm producing a wonderful show of dark clouds, white fluff and blue skies all in one. Looking back at Chatham Island and the ocean I was kicking myself not to wake up earlier and watch the sunrise from Little Cove. Reaching the turnoff where the campsite sign was I headed onto new tracks for a snaking journey through the dune system before heading inland to tackle Mount Clare. With a fairly flat 4km to start I could ease into the day and enjoy the magical lighting that I was blessed to be experiencing. The feeling of being alone in this wilderness with conditions like this was awe-inspiring and it wasn't hard to slow my pace down and just enjoy the walk.
I wasn't always alone as I interrupted a couple of kangaroos as I walked along the ridge line of one of the dunes. It would not have been a pleasant night for the wildlife out here last night but I'm sure they're used to it after calling this place home for a very long time. One feature I was enjoying photographing was a broad hill on the coast that every now and then would be lit up by rays of sunshine peaking through the morning cloud. As the track wound its way through the dunes I began to wonder if that was the hill that I was going to climb today as after the 4km mark the elevation map showed a bit of an ascent up to 140m ASL. The further I got down the track, the more I was sure that I wasn't going to have to but it would have been nice to head there and get some pretty spectacular ocean views from the top. At one of the higher points on this first section there were some pretty lovely views back towards Chatham Island and the Southern Ocean and this would in fact be the last chance to view Chatham Island, something that is a soothing landmark from the first time you reach the ocean on your way from Woolbales. As I made my way past the broad hill I noticed my first rainbow of the morning, something that would be quite common throughout the first part of the day but being the first one I hurried to capture it before the light changed.