Hiking of Fraser Island – Day 4

Day 4

Day 4 of the 5-day hike dawned fine and clear at Lake Wabby Walkers’ Camp.  After breakfast of hot oatmeal porridge, we packed up the camp and stashed the packs in a dingo-proof steel box.  Then it was a short, easy backtrack to the Lake Wabby lookout to view the battle between the lake and the sandblow.
Lake Wabby from the lookout
Only time will tell whether the lake or the sand dune will win in the end.  Perhaps the sand will fill the lake, or perhaps the forest will cover the dune and stabilise it before that happens.  In the meantime, we get to enjoy the interaction between sand, water and forest.  From the lookout it was a further 1km walk to get to the lake, but we decided not to do the extra this time.  We had already been to the lake during our previous trip in 2008, and there were still a lot of kilometres to walk before camp.

From Lake Wabby Walkers’ Camp, we followed an old logging road through valleys of huge trees and over ridges towards Pile Valley.  Pile Valley was so named as it was the site of logging for many of the tall straight timber piles used to repair the docks in London after the First World War.  Walking through this area now almost a century after logging ceased, it is breathtaking to see the towering trees.  We can only imagine what it looked like before logging, with fully grown trees several centuries old!
Trees in Pile Valley
We arrived at Central Station Hikers’ Camp well before sunset.  This was partly because most of the day’s walk had been on old logging roads and tramways, so the gradients were gentle.  The other reason was that we were becoming acclimatised to carrying the packs.  There were times during the day 4 hike that I forgot I had my pack on.  Laura and Claire made the same observation, so we thought we were finally getting used to carrying the weight, and packing the gear so that the packs were well balanced.

At Central Station, we were finally able to have hot showers.  The only problem was that we had not packed any $1 coins, and they were required to get hot water.  Cold showers were not very appealing, but some campers in the main campground were able to change a $5 note for us.  There is something very satisfying about soaking away 4 days of sweat and dirt, and we made the most of the hot water.  While I was in the shower, I noticed blood running down the shower drain.  On investigation, I found a very round, obviously well-fed leech crawling away across the floor.  A trickle of blood flowed from my ankle where it was obvious the critter had been feasting for some time before the hot shower made it time to abandon dinner.  I was amazed that I had not felt a thing, and even when I found the bleeding bite, I still felt no discomfort.  Whatever the anaesthetic in the leech’s saliva, it’s pretty good stuff!
Our final dinner on the island was similar the the three previous ones.  Rice flavoured with bacon stock cubes and dehydrated soup mix might not sound exciting, but when you have to carry all your food for 5 days you get to enjoy simple tastes that don’t weigh much.  Having to carry a gas stove added some extra weight, but I was very impressed with the gas canisters.  I’d packed 2 as I was worried we would run out of gas, but as it turned out, we only used one, and even that had some left after 5 days.  All cooking was done in a stainless steel billy – this weighed a bit more than an aluminium one, but it was far more robust.  Each of us carried our own bowl, lightweight cutlery set, and mug, and this was all we needed for eating.  

Day 5 was to be the longest walk of the trip, so we turned in early at Central Station.  No fires allowed, so nothing to keep us up after the sun set anyway.

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