Southern Ranges: Day Seven

New River Lagoon to Surprise Bay

Feel soft bumps against guy lines throughout the night, imagine inquisitive pademelon.

Wade the thigh deep lagoon for eight kilometres toward Prion Beach. A sharp wind sends miniature swells to shore. Three sleepy swans float by. A large eagle stalks above, spread wings ragged wide and still.

Progress steadily to the dark waters of a forked creek too deep to wade. Head upstream to a likely log. The smart move in the rain is to shimmy across – instead, trust in upright balance and stride forth like a fool.

Slip from the wet trunk and bounce chest–first off the steep bank into a semi-submerged log. Strike various solid things underwater. Let out an awful winded walrus groan.

Struggle to breathe armpit deep in tannin–stained blackwater.

Avoid concussion and haul out across a second creek a little more carefully.

At Prion Crossing, encounter a guided group of friendly walkers heading for Osmiridian. Resolve to push on ahead for the solitude of Surprise Bay. In four hours time, mildly exhausted, fall into a fast–flowing rivulet on the far side of the beach and laugh.

Approximate walking time and distance: 8 hours, 19km