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Rainforest on the South Coast Track

Granite Beach to South Cape Rivulet

South Coast Track

The Hike - The penultimate day on the South Coast Track and this would be the final test before what was going to be an easy last day into Cockle Creek. Donovan had been saying that his research revealed that people found this to be almost an equal day to the Day Three Ironbounds experience, in terms of physicality and the mental strength to get through it. On paper it looked like a reasonable day with one big hill to start with and then a lot of ups and downs as you make your way over the South Cape Range to the finishing point at South Cape Rivulet Campsite. . 

After one of the best afternoons at camp over the entire week, we got a couple of overnight showers that caught a few people out. With several hikers leaving clothes out overnight to dry, this morning was the time that Bronwyn came clean and admitted she had not packed any spare socks for the week long hike. Adding to that, she had left her only pair of socks out in the rain and this day had not started well for young Bronwyn. Donovan and I had a bit of a laugh as she had also let us know that she had found her "missing" pillow in her pack, and the large replacement she bought in Hobart wasn't actually necessary. Packing away wet tents is never fun and given it was another relatively short day, we weren't in any great hurry. The gloomy conditions that rolled in overnight didn't make for great photos as I ventured down to the creek to wash up my breakfast dishes and fill my bladder up for the day. What had been a magical place in the afternoon sunshine wasn't quite the same in the grey conditions that greeted us this morning. I wasn't too fussed with this, as the cloudy skies would provide much better lighting for the mostly forest walking that we would tackle today.


With everything finally packed away and the other two ready to leave, we started the journey that would see us head uphill for the first 4.5 kilometres of the day, before walking the rollercoaster section of ups and downs until the end. Tim was telling us this was his least favourite day from his time here two years ago, and called it the Seven Hells day due to ticking off the seven hills you get to ascend over the course of the hike. I think mentally we were all prepared for a tough day, so just focused on enjoying the experience and not worrying about pace or elevation. I found the first part of the day to be the hardest and the humid morning air wasn't helping out. Happy to lag behind and take photos, I soon came across an annoyance as we ascended through the Sword Grass and eventually up into some lovely old growth forest. The humidity was causing my camera to fog up and when this happens I have to be extra careful about keeping it near my face for too long, and breathing while I take a shot. Normally this works fine but after taking a photo of a River Rose, I noticed the fogging was on the inside of the camera lens. 

Getting frustrated as it wouldn't clear naturally, there was a large splotch in the middle of my shots that no amount of dehazing in Lightroom would fix. I soldiered on for a while, being a bit of a grump and hoping it would clear naturally. Reaching the first big mud patches of the day, it was just getting worse and I was thinking of all the galleries on this post being well below par. Finally I stopped and just stuck my hand over the lens and kept it there, my reasoning being the warmth of my hand would defog the lens. It worked a treat and after wiping the lens clean with my camera cloth, the photos were coming out crystal clear and as expected. A giant relief, I was a happy boi again, as I caught up to the others on the final part of the first climb. Entering an exposed section, the wildflowers through here were lovely and it wasn't long until we were on top of the first hill, having ascended 310m already. Popping out into the open summit was a bit of a change as it felt weird to have that much space. The clouds helped with that, as the views weren't very good, with limited visibility looking towards the ocean and the hills inland. 


We could just make out the far end of Granite Beach but it wasn't looking anywhere near as good as it did yesterday. Realising we were sort of near the high point for the day (but not really), I whipped out my phone and switched it off airplane mode. I got the slightest ray of hope with a single bar of reception but that was it before it went away. After five and a bit days without reception, this was a bit of a tease and was a distraction I should have saved for closer to the end. We eventually got going again after realising reception wasn't going to happen, and after some nice boardwalk, we entered a sloshy section of mud. This was the South Coast Track experience you hear about from people when they talk about the mud and unknown bogs where you might lose an ankle or end up thigh deep. For the most part it was ankle deep or better but there were some where we all lost limbs to the muddy puddles. It was all good fun and there were smiles and laughs all round as we photographed each other trying to retrieve our legs from the depths. This was a relatively short section and we were all relieved to enter the forest once again for that start of some of the best walking of the day.