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Adventures on a bike; sometimes on foot

GOW Day 5: Ryans Den to Hells Kitchen

Hells Kitchen. That sounds like a seriously interesting campsite. I wonder why they called it that?

That was my internal monologue as I pondered packing up while listening to the wind and rain on the tent in the morning. It was a futlile exercise in procrastination as nobody else was going to sort out our campsite mess.

Eventually i summoned the energy and crawled out of the tent between showers and assessed the situation. Our tarpology construction the night prior had done a good job of keeping our bags dry so things were looking good.

Gee i was glad i brought the tarp along

Gee i was glad i brought the tarp along

I had brought along several large garbage bags to put the tent in and so we packed everything away that was wet and jammed it into the garbage bags and put it in the bottom of my bag in a seperate compartment to everything else and where gravity was going to keep the water away from everything else.

We set out that morning in a light drizzle that was actually quite delightful after the heat of the day before. More single track. More coastal views. More paddocks and kangaroos. It was rad. We passed what quite possibly may have been the greenest paddock in existence with the most lush grass and what i presume to be the most contented cows in ever. I like to think that cows are more wise than us silly humans. That those cows knew just how good they had it and were free from such human traits as always wanting more. The weird shit that goes through your head while you are walking for days on end.

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The overnight rain had made the trail seriously slippery. Some of the hillsides were properly slick and any excess momentum resulted in anything ranging from a controlled slide to a train wreck. It was comical to see the footprints of other hikers where they had slipped and slid down slopes. Our poles were a godsend at this point. That little extra bit of traction made all the difference and they saved my arse on more than one occasion as i did exaggerated dance moves just to stay upright.

We wandered through forests of an altogether different species of eucalypts then clifftop single track and then an elevated section of metal boardwalk that ran for kilometers. When we reached the decision point which gave us the option of beach walking involving a descent to the beach and a climb back to an elevated campsite, or staying high on single track out of the driving wind, the decision was easy. Whilst the anchor burried in the rockpools looked cool in the brochures, we weren’t going to have a bar of the practicalities of getting there that morning. Some of the other hiking groups wisely walked down to it from the campsite as an afternoon activity to fill in time which we didn’t think of sadly.

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One by one we overtook the other groups on trail and somehow we again were the first arrive at camp. With the place empty, we were free to wander around and debate the merits of each campsite before finally settling again on the one furthest from the main shelter. The fact that it was again only meters from an ocean view wasn’t lost up on us either.

Of course the wind was howling in off the ocean but we had just enough of a buffer of trees and embankment that we could nestle in and settle in for a long afternoon under the tarp staying warm and dry. Now all our extra gas came into its own. I think we made about 5 cups of coffee and tea each while enjoying our last night on trail. I ended up using up the second to last gas cannister while simmering dinner for an inordinately long period of time as our continental carbonara pasta meal required more than just heat and eat. Having said that, combined with some dried parmesan cheese and i think it was the best meal we had on the entire trip. It was so good that i fired up the stove and made the second packet that was left over.

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I sat and braved the seriously windy and cold conditions on my own in order to watch the sun set over the ocean (it’s a bit of a novelty for someone from the east coast of Australia) however the clouds on the horizon spoiled the show leaving me clutching a camera and nothing to photograph.

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We retired early that night to read our books in our sleeping bags. Inside our little tent it was warm and cosy and the weather could do whatever it wanted out there, were were just fine inside. With only the last day to go on our hike in the morning, our exit strategy was top of mind. The bus back to Geelong left at something like 10am and there wasn’t a chance in hell of us walking the remaining 16 kms in time to make the bus, so instead we had pre-purchased tickets on the later bus which went in the wrong direction in order to end up in Warrnambool at the train station. Even though the bus didn’t leave the visitors centre at the Twelve apostles until 15:10, we still decided to get a super early start as we were both much more comfortable with hanging out waiting for the bus than trying to run the last 4 k’ms with packs on because we were out of time. So we set the alarm for 5am and slept warm and comfortable.

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Preamble

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

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