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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Tiger Trails Tarkine Hike - Day 4 - Camped at Huskisson River
We had done extra distance yesterday, which meant that we could stay at the Huskisson River camp for two nights and just do a day walk in the forest today.
We had a leisurely breakfast, and after a while decided to set off down the river. We walked through the trackless rainforest, trying to stick to the ares with an open forest floor, and few fallen trees (quite difficult). We kept the river on our left, and after a while came to a river bend, where the river ran against the bottom of a ridge line.
The forest consisted of lots of smaller and medium sized trees with heaps of ferns and tree ferns, and lots of moss and fungus covering everything. There was an amazing variety of moss and fungus – even on a single tree. Interspersed in the forest, were occasional (every 50 – 100m) enormous Eucalypts, which towered above everything else – leading us to wonder why they grew so tall, as even their bottom branches were usually above the tops of the other trees.
We decided to climb the ridge, which was not too difficult, as it was fairly open at ground level, although it was pretty steep in places. At the top, it was a little drier, with more of the giant Eucalypts,and not quite so much moss and ferns. We decided to delay lunch till we got back to camp, although we'd brought it, and started contouring the ridge back toward the campsite. We came across a huge Eucalypt which had recently fallen. It left a massive crater where the roots had been. Climbing on top of the trunk, we walked down the length of the intact part which was probably 40 or 50 metres. It gave a good sense of how truly huge the trees around us actually were.
We then descended off the side of the ridge, through tree ferns, and lush forest, descending very steeply - we were often sliding rather than stepping, making it difficult to stay standing. Almost everything I stepped on in the forest seemed to be spongy to sme degree – the moss, matted roots, mud, and especially fallen, rotten logs. Several logs I stepped on collapsed and left my foot partly inside the log.
Amazingly, we arrived right back at the camp with no searching at all. The walk had been very nice - getting off the track, and into virgin rainforest, which had probably never been explored by white people was pretty cool. The forest was truly beautiful, it would be horrible if it were chopped down to be chipped for paper.
After a late lunch, we lazed around the camp till dinner.
As it was getting dark at dinner time, we noticed that Rob had still not returned from a solo wander he had gone on. We started coo-eeeing and shortly heard a faint reply. A few minutes later Rob arrived looking a bit sheepish, as Darvis had earlier told us a story about a guy getting lost at this very camp. Rob said he'd wandered into the forest to be alone for a bit, and was fairly sure, but not 100% sure of the way back, but our calling confirmed it for him.
There was a fair bit of talk about the river after dinner, since tomorrow we would have to cross it. The river had gone down about 10cm during the day, but it was still ragin, and as powerful and deep as any river I'd crossed, but much wider, at 50 metres wide. Everyone was a little aprehensive.