I left Part 1 of the story at the top of the mountain, two and a half hours into a hike that I expected to be finished in 3 hours, 4 at the latest. It had taken us longer than expected (and seemed further than estimated distances) to get this far but my friend and I still thought we were walking the track we had planned which meant that we should have an easier, flat walk back along a fire trail. At this point we could have retraced our steps and not have had any dramas. But I have this thing about going back over the same ground….I hate it and try not to do it where possible. Also I wanted to make it to Monadnocks Campsite, which was the goal of the hike. So we pushed on….
Going downhill….literally and figuratively.
Told you the photos ended when we stopped having fun. The good news was that under the telegraph poles we had signal so we pulled up google maps and worked out we were on Mt Cooke which was a completely different area than we thought. We were quite a distance from our car which had sports drinks and spare water, we had been hiking for about four and a half hours, we had no water left, and while we knew the general direction we needed to take we didn’t know if we would find a trail/fire road to take us in the right direction or exactly how far it would be. We thought it might take us 1-2 hours to make it back to the car in a Westerly direction. (Hey, I forgot to mention that we saw an emu along the way!)
I won’t lie it was quite stressful. We had eaten and had a spare nut bar each so that was not a big concern. We knew that we weren’t that far from the highway and we were currently on an access road so we could be found quite comfortably especially as we could even give a pole number to pinpoint exactly where we were. So why didn’t we call Parks and Wildlife or emergency services? Calling emergency services is not to be taken lightly. We didn’t feel that we were in life threatening danger, had only just run out of water and were otherwise feeling OK. Besides, we would NEVER live it down if we had to be picked up by a Park Ranger or god forbid make the news! Two women lost while hiking….arrgghhh. Really didn’t want to go down that path. The downside was that it was now the middle of the day and really starting to heat up. How long could we go before heat stroke or heat exhaustion became an issue?
A plan was made and we decided to head down a fire road that would take us in a westerly direction. We would give it an hour and reassess at that point. Off we went and slow and steady was the name of the game. The trouble was that another hour went by and we thought we were still heading in the right direction but now we had no signal to check our position. Decision time again. Do we keep going and trust that we were heading in the right direction? Or do we admit defeat and go back to the access road and call it in? We couldn’t even call anyone now, emergency calls only. The decision? Trust our gut instinct and forge ahead. Thirty minutes and reassess. My lips were cracked, my mouth so dry. All I could think about was the Staminade waiting for me in the car. My poor friend was starting to feel the effects of over five and a half hours of hiking, her hip was twinging and the calves starting to cramp. I was grateful for all my Adventurethon training that’s for sure, as my body did not let me down.
A further thirty minutes passed and still no signal. We had been without water for over ninety minutes. Snooze was starting to feel a little fatigued and we still didn’t know how far we had to go. We decided to call emergency services (only call we could make with no signal) to at least advise of our situation. BUT it didn’t work!! No ring tone no nothing….seriously how is that supposed to work? Time to keep walking. We had got to our lowest point and then a little bit of hope. We hit an actual dirt road with a sign….Millers Log Road. This was very exciting, yay!! Just keep walking, just keep walking….then not much further along we got signal!! While I rang the hubby (several missed calls from him) and explained our situation and what road we were on, Snooze managed to clarify that we were 4.3km from the Albany highway. Insert groan. On the plus side we were no longer lost! However, it would take us about 45 minutes to walk that distance and we didn’t know how far to the car once we made it to the highway. My hubby decided that he would drive and meet us to make sure we got back to the car safely. As we were walking along this road we saw a small bridge and wondered about water(really quite thirsty at this point, just saying), so we stopped to see if it was drinkable. Suddenly there was a rustle of leaves and shrubs and something ran out and away from us.
It was a frigging small wild pig!! I kid you not and the only thing worse than a little wild pig is a big one. GET ME OUT OF HERE!!
Turns out we came out only a couple of hundred metres from the car and as hubby took a wrong turn we told him to turn around and go home. I am glad I was lost with Snooze, what a trooper. No freaking out, no stressing, just cool under pressure and tough to the end. So after seven and a half hours hiking (worked out later that it was about 30km), three hours without water, we made it to the car and the Staminade……ahhhh. We stopped at the closest service station and bought more gatorade and an ice cold coke. Washed a couple of panadol down with these drinks, got home and had a nice cold shower, put the feet up and we all lived happily ever after and ready to hike another day. Don’t let this trip deter you, just learn from my mistakes, plan well, and go explore.
Tell me what would you have done in this situation??