Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 5. Battersbys to Pattersons, Great South West Walk, Victoria. Winter 2012


glenelg river at pattersons camp
Glenelg River at Pattersons Camp

Who says Melbourne can't turn on the weather? Last week I was wearing a winter jacket and today I've resorted to semi-obscene home wear of three-sizes-too-small boxer shorts and nothing else. Seeing how it reached 39.6 °C (103.28 °F for you blokes who refuse to enter the 21st Century) I think borderline nudity is acceptable. It was certainly a shock to the system, as I found myself sweating in areas which I'd never experienced. I mean, I was sweating out of my ears. I guess it's sweat? Who knows, maybe during my afternoon nap someone smashed me over the head with a large rubber mallet, which has resulted in a traumatic brain injury? If so, that's disappointing as this will possibly be the last post you'll ever read here and that would be unfortunate, as this entry is again continuing the eternal saga of my winter hike of the Great South West Walk. Oh yeah, just to rub it in, not a real lot happened on this particular day.

The night spent at Battersbys was an interesting one with the blaring 'hits and memories' music from my car camping neighbours. I woke up a couple of times in the early morning and it was all quiet, other than the odd grunting sound from surrounding wildlife. Either that, or it was my neighbours getting the job done. Anyway, the whole thing was too traumatic for me and I was well and truly done with Battersbys, so I was up early, breakfast inhaled, tent packed and ready to go before daylight. It was also raining. Most days previously had been a bit drizzly, but this was a proper soaking rain.

So, it was time to get wet, but the bonus of the day was that this is one of the shortest legs on the hike. A lazy 13 km to Pattersons camp and I was looking forward to a short day, as I was expecting to reach camp by midday. I crept out just as there was enough light to walk without headlamp and I left the 'four L's' behind (languid lunar lumberjack lovers).

I was soon climbing above the Glenelg River which continued to be a nice distraction in the rain.


bend of glenelg river


This was going to be my main interest for the day, but you'll find I've barely got any photos of this section. At one point the rain really began pelting down, so the camera went into the backpack. Now and again, I'd risk the compact, but the DSLR definitely was snug in a dry bag.

It was casual walking though and the rain didn't bother me, as I covered ground quickly. As per usual I didn't see any other walkers and only came across one vehicle. Whilst walking on an unmade road, a Parks Victoria car approached me. I thought he might stop for a chat, seeing how I was the only walker currently on the entire GSWW at this time. Guess what? No, he waved and powered past without lifting his foot. Oh well, as I'd seen him approach I'd quickly planned some dialogue to blurt out to him and I think I pressured myself too much, as I waved and smiled too maniacally when he got close. There's always the chance he thought I was mentally unbalanced, so planted his foot to escape.


wet tree and glenelg river


Now, don't laugh, but do you know what time I strolled into Pattersons camp? How about 11.20 am? I actually felt a little embarrassed to be stopping for the day and actually contemplated pushing on to the next camp. The trouble is the half-way point of Nelson was another 20 km away, so I wasn't going to attempt that distance. Why not have a lazy day now and again? That's what I was thinking, as I put my feet up before midday.

Pattersons camp ended up being one of my favourites for the entire walk. A brand new, three sided shelter right on the Glenelg River was a pretty comfortable place to relax in. The river was also starting to take on a different look with limestone cliffs rising up from the water. There's also a canoe camp a short distance away, which I took some time pottering around. The weather also had changed with the sun coming out. Here, I'll show you...


white branch against blue sky


See what I mean? With plenty of time on hand, I decided to set-up the tent which I'd packed soaking wet in the morning. There wasn't a lot of heat in the winter sun though and what I needed was a decent breeze. If you're in this position, try out my dubious solution. I looked to the sky and asked Zeus, the god of sky and thunder, for some wind to go with the sun for quick tent drying. Zeus didn't have much on that day, so he replied in a very deep voice (what other voice do gods have? There's no squeaky voiced gods are there?), "No worries muscles. Here's some wind" and on cue the breeze picked up which helped dry the tent within 30 minutes.


zeus from game age of mythology
"I detest a wet tent more than anyone."

Mind you, it's not all plain sailing when you invoke the gods, as they're always trying to outdo one another. Unfortunately I'd gone straight to Zeus, when really I should have double checked with Thor, who's another one competing for the 'creating weather god' title. The interesting thing about Thor is he's always waving that hammer around. It's not a rubber mallet by any chance is it? Anyway, bypassing him can be a common mistake and no sooner had the tent dried completely, that the sky suddenly became dark. Rain was definitely on its way.


'Thor's battle with the Ettins' - Mårten Eskil Winge (1872)
"What's with the sun and wind? Cop some rain ya' bastard!"

Yeah, I guess Thor can't help being manly, when someone has named you Thor? I'm sure if his name was 'Derek', he wouldn't have such a tight grip  I now began a crazed tent pack as the temperature suddenly dropped. Thank god (not Thor, but the 'fast tent packing god' which I can't seem to find on Wikipedia. I'll look into it) I managed to just throw the tent under the shelter when the rain began pouring. Mind you, the sun was still out, so I guess the god's just couldn't get organised.


rain and sun on glenelg river
Heavy rain on Glenelg River

The rain continued for about ten minutes and suddenly it was sunny again. This wasn't bad, as now I got to wander around taking photos with water dripping off trees.


water droplets on eucalypt branch


water droplets on tree


You know what? That's about it for the days walk. As the afternoon passed, it went from heavy rain which had me running to the safety of the shelter...


heavy rain on glenelg river


...to clear skies which had me walking around looking for more photo opportunities.


wet leaf on ground


water droplets on eucalypt branch


Light began to fade quickly on the short winter day, but I managed to snap some photos of the limestone cliff opposite my camp before it got too dark.


limestone cliff at glenelg river
Limestone cliff on the Glenelg River

Now, this post is done. You better batten down the hatches as the next post is the half-way point. I'm more tired writing this than the actual walk! A couple more pictures to see out the day...


eucalypt branch


setting sun on clouds



4 comments:

  1. Always an adventure to be camping/hiking when the weather keeps changing. Nice photos.

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    1. Thanks Linda! The changing weather is definitely the lure for me to continue to do winter walking.

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  2. Yes, I've been hearing about the warm weather back home. My mother tells me 39C was forecast for Brisbane today. Over here I saw the first hint of snow on the weekend on a ridge a couple of hours' walk from home.

    That's a nice campsite indeed by the look of it. I don't know, I couldn't possibly contemplate making camp that early unless I was well-stocked in the entertainment department! I'd get bored pretty fast - think I would have kept going to the next one. Looks like I would've arrived soaked though!

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    1. Hey there. Yeah, at least Brisbane gets some consistency. Usually just plain hot?! I do like the variations in Victorian weather, but sometimes when it jumps between 40C and 15C it's a bit hard to take! Yesterday I did a coastal walk and I was wearing winter rain gear as it was bloody freezing. The car thermometer was telling me it was 10C, but the windchill was working overtime. Now, in three days time the forecast is 37C! Bloody hell...

      Yeah, you would have drowned if you kept walking. The rain was really, really heavy. I don't know, I've arrived at the odd campsite by midday in the past. I don't mind hooking up a bit of Zen and mellowing out a bit. Maybe you have to fire up your inner Buddhist and mellow out a bit?! :)

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