Excitedly, I packed the car for another camping and hiking adventure. Feeling a cold coming on I figured I was going to sweat it out! Being in the fresh air always helps as well. I was planning on doing the Mambray Creek to Alligator Gorge Hike which is only 13kms/8.1miles one way, so 26kms/16.2miles all up but I wanted to do it over three days giving me two nights camping on trail. At this stage, my goal is to get my camp setup right for me, not to see how far I can hike in one day.
So day 1 was to get to Longhill Camp (a bush camp about 1km away from Alligator Gorge), day 2 was exploring the gorge and heading back past Longhill Camp to Kingfisher Flat for the night and day 3 was the rest of the hike back to Mambray Creek where I had my base camp set up.
I used my water bladder this time with about 2L of water in it. I also packed a 600ml bottle of water for cooking with.
The S2S pocket trowel I bought has a little compartment in the handle so I rolled up a small amount of toilet paper, put it in a snap-lock bag and put it in the handle. I was pretty excited about using it!
As I knew there’d be creek crossings I was excited about the trekking poles as well because I knew they’d help me cross without falling into the water like last time. In one side pocket of my pack I put the slip-on shoes I bought and secured them in and in the other side pocket, I put my park map & compass.
I tried packing my pack a little differently this time by laying my sleeping bag down the bottom and squishing my clothes bag down beside it, then standing my kitchen, shelter and food bag along the back part of the pack with my sleeping mat standing in front of the shelter away from my back as it’s fairly light and then shoving the fleece wrapped in my rain jacket down in the gaps with my little bag of towel, toilet paper & wipes shoved down there as well with the Vigilante jacket I got and the bottle of water just laying up the top somewhere with the shelters groundsheet. It’s like a game of Tetris trying to pack it right, thinking of what I’ll need first at camp or on the trail and putting that up the top (in last) and what I’ll need last and putting that on the bottom (packing it in first). In the end, it weighed 15.2kgs/33.5lbs for this trip.
With Pack Sorted, Off I Went!
Love that one 🙂
Finally Made It To Camp!
It was actually a hard hike and felt like I’d been walking for days. After each hill climb I was thinking ‘surely THIS is the long hill to Longhill Camp, or THIS one!’. I was over it and just wanted to be there already.
Camp visitor lol. I don’t think he knew I was there.
This is the shelter. I’m not a big person but it’s actually too small for me! I set it up and slept in it the night before at Mambray to test it out before hitting the trail with it and found that I was getting condensation drips on my sleeping bag and touching all walls of the foot box meant that my down sleeping bag was wet. Not good. I wasn’t happy but still wanted to try it out on the hike.
Getting changed in it is really hard as well. Another bad thing about it is you have to peg it out. It takes 6 stakes to set it up otherwise it wouldn’t be usable which isn’t ideal depending on the terrain you’re setting up on. Also, my sleeping bag zip is on the right hand side so for me personally having the only door on the left and having to climb over and in is a pain in the butt. I know I sound like a broken record but I will find a tent that suits me!
They also advertise that the vestibule is nice & roomy to fit your pack. I don’t know what size pack they had in mind but as you can see there’s no way my 60L pack could fit in the vestibule. That’s with all of the bulky stuff taken out of my pack as well. A nice area for shoes though
After setting up the shelter and the sleeping mat I got changed and started getting dinner organised.
That Backcountry meal was awesome! So good. Quick and easy to cook and it was a good amount as well. Filled me up and was tasty. Definitely buying more of them! So light as well which is always great.
I forgot to mention the snacks I packed for this trip. I had portioned-out baggies of maple cashews, peanut m&m’s, honeycomb pieces, beef jerky, Minties and cheese sticks. Oh and mixed dried fruit.
After a little nature walk I got settled in my sleeping bag and made some room in the shelter to write some notes/trail journal, and they are:
Left Mambray at about 11:10 and made it to Longhill Camp at about 15:20. I think I’ve got 1 or 2kms to Alligator Gorge so today I hiked about 12kms with a 15.2kg pack on! It was hard! Even though it was still early in the afternoon I just wanted to get to camp. My feet were killing me and I just wanted to give up. It’s getting a bit dark so I just put the head torch on.
Not happy with the size of this shelter. My sleeping bag touches every side and ends up wet. I should’ve just got the Duo. Last night I had my Polypro thermals on with my pjs and I was so hot I had to open my sleeping bag. Hopefully tonight will be the same. I’d rather be too hot than cold. The trekking poles really helped today. Awesome for stream crossings. I past Hidden Camp and was dry this time.
I reckon I drank more water than last time because I had it right there in the hose. I’ll have to check how much I’ve got left. I felt like I had heaps to write today but now I don’t. The Backcountry meal I had for dinner was very good. I’ll buy more of them. Wearing the merino thermals tonight. I’ve got my fleece on as well. I only snacked on some cashews and peanut m&m’s today. Had the jerky here.
Sorry about all the repeated information, I had forgotten what I wrote down.
I actually remembered to put in some coffee sachets for this trip and that morning coffee was lovely.
Again, I had water everywhere inside the shelter by the time I had finished getting changed and everything. I knew I’d have to lay everything out in the sun to dry when I got back to base camp. Ate my oaty bar and off I went again to Alligator Gorge after doing my morning pee in the bushes.
View from Alli’s Lookout at the top of Alligator Gorge. I was only 1km away but had to pass a group of school kids on the way which was a little embarrassing. I’m not sure why but I didn’t like it. I then climbed down to the bottom of Alligator Gorge (so many steps!) where there were more school kids and had lunch down there by the water. It was so beautiful.
For my lunches I just made a couple of cashew spread wraps back at base camp and packed them in my bumbag.
While I was down there eating lunch I decided that because it was only early I’d do a loop track from Alligator Gorge back to the track I was on before and I’d come out just before Kingfisher Flat. I didn’t realise at the time that I was committing to a 9km hike that was bloody hard!
This is a part of the trail, walking along those wet rocks. At one stage I had to chuck my trekking poles down a small rock cliff, take my pack off and drop it down (that’s when I bent one of my trekking poles 😦 ) and slide down. Crazy! I think if I was completely on my own I would’ve had more fun but because I had a couple who were hiking almost with me I was always trying to look like I knew what I was doing when in actual fact I was just winging it the whole way and trying my hardest not to fall flat on my face or in the water. But even they said they were having trouble finding the trail at times which made me feel better.
Kingfisher Flat Camp
Finally made it to Kingfisher Flat for the night. That’s an I’M-ABSOLUTELY-STUFFED selfie! It must’ve been about 3 or 4kms in on that loop track that I actually ran out of water! Not good! I forgot to check the water level in the bladder. I was so thirsty and so hot, a few times I soaked my Buff in the creek and put it back on my head which felt amazing and even though the water was running and was fairly clear I didn’t want to drink too much of it. I had mouthfuls here and there but knew there was a rainwater tank at Kingfisher Flat so I was hanging out for that.
I ended up walking at a snail’s pace so I didn’t use too much energy and my feet were that bloody sore! One of the school groups passed me as well just to add insult to injury and I was so close to asking one of them for some water but me being so stubborn I thought nope, I can make it to camp. You know, I never thought I’d be the one to run out of water on a hike but there you go, it happened.
When I FINALLY got to Kingfisher Flat camp I had to empty out my whole pack just to get my water bladder out and fill it up again. After drinking about a liter of water I found a flat area of ground for the shelter far away from another school group who were camping there as well that night over the other side of the toilets (yes, I had a long-drop toilet to use!). Trust me to choose that hike while around 3 PE classes were doing it as well!
Anyway, laid out the groundsheet for my shelter to sit on and started boiling some water I had collected in my bottle along the way. I didn’t mind using that because I was boiling it anyway which kills all the nasties.
I had another Mug Shot for dinner but tomato flavour. That one was really good as well.
After dinner, I set up the shelter, rolled out the sleeping mat and blew more air into it (which makes it ok to sleep on I guess), got changed with a bush bath (wipes) and got in my sleeping bag. I thought I’d better settle in before the school group got into camp. I must’ve been so dehydrated because I didn’t even need to pee before bed nor did I need to go in the middle of the night which usually happens when I’m camping.
I made some more notes:
So today was meant to be an easy day, just walk to Alligator Gorge, see that and walk back to Kingfisher Flat. Well, I decided to do a loop track from Alligator Gorge and it was hard! At one stage I had to take my pack off, throw it & my trekking poles down a rock and jump down. I bent one of the poles when I dropped my pack on it. Then I lost the foot off my other one. So I’ve got retarded trekking poles now.
I’m hurting all over I can barely write this. Thank the gods I know what the rest of the way is like which is easy compared to today. My feet are so sore. I shouldn’t have done that track. I left earlyish this morning and came past a school group at Blue Gum Flat and more at Alli Gorge and had a couple sort of hiking with me on the loop track.
I’ll be camping here with a school group. I can hear some of them now. They’re getting back pretty late though, it’s 17:34. I’ve already had dinner – a Mug Shot. It was good. The first thing I did was head to the rain tank and asked some boys coming back with full bottles if the water was drinkable and they said yes and their teacher was there getting water to drink as well so I had to empty my pack out to get to the bladder and fill it up. I had a chat with their teacher for a bit and then found a flat spot. Some kids are here at the moment and they’re noisy! I probably won’t get much sleep tonight.
Sorry again for the repeats. I didn’t have too bad of a nights sleep. Their teacher seemed to keep them quiet and sent them to bed fairly early.
I woke up early and could hear them starting to pack up and make a move so I just laid there waiting for them to move on so I could pack up in peace. Big socialite I am hehe.
Dreading the thought of putting my boots back on and trying to hike in them was an understatement. My back and shoulders were really sore as well so I was not in a good way. I started to walk off and almost made it out of the camping area when I realised I’d forgotten my trekking poles so I had to go back and get them. Even though it was only maybe 50m out of my way I considered just leaving them there I was so sore and over it.
Met a cute little goanna on the trail. After my photo, I slowly started to walk around him but as I got closer he shot off the track and climbed up a tree to try and hide from me. So cute.
Then a bee wanted to pose for me as I was taking photos of pretty flowers. I guess that’s one of the things I love about camping and hiking, you really become one with nature and all of the creatures living there don’t seem too bothered by your presence. Goannas might move off the trail, kangaroos and euros just watch as you walk past or maybe hop a bit further away, birds put on a show and the ants, flies, and mosquitos get real friendly!
I limped into base camp, dumped everything and sat down with some water. Eventually caught my breath and rehydrated while taking off my boots. Bliss! Then I had to unpack everything and lay it all out in the sun to dry. I set up the shelter again but luckily not to use it this time. I’d had enough of it. Cracked a can of Woodstock and put some quiet tunes in my ears. Ahhhhhh!
My notes I made that night:
There’s probably some more repeated comments in there.
The school kids woke me up fairly early but I wanted to get ready in peace so I waited till they left and then I got up, got changed and got out. Cooked the Backcountry hot breakfast which was good. Packed and started walking off before remembering I left my retarded trekking poles so had to go back and get them. My feet were in agony as well as my back & shoulders. I was so over it. I had the pace of a snail the whole way.
I passed a few hikers going the other way which was bad because I stank so much! Poor people. After a stream crossing, I actually lost the main trail and ended up on some other old trail but it eventually merged with the proper one. Weird. Anyway made it back limping into camp. I got talking to an older couple and then ate all my rockmelon and some grapes, drank more water and then had a Woodstock. Put my tunes on and relaxed!
I don’t know why but I always crave fruit when I’m camping.
My main lesson learned from that trip was to pack way more water than what I think I’ll ever need! It may be extra weight but I’d rather put up with carrying that than feel the way I did when I realised I had no more water left. That was a horrible experience and like I said, I never thought it’d happen to me.
Well stay tuned and please feel free to comment, like and follow 🙂