Monday, July 25, 2011

A Lesson Learned

The sun was already making its descent when we arrived at Avon National Park. Even though it was the middle of winter school holidays, we had taken our time arriving at the park because we were hoping that the sun would dry up some of the puddles from the previous night's rains. We had been told that the park was visited by few and that camping wouldn't be an issue. But still, we were anxious about finding a suitable spot. Fortunately, the park boasts 5 campgrounds, so we figured we would find something. 
The dirt roads were still a bit wet, and we were glad that we had rented a 4wd.  Slowly we made our way  into the park, and it wasn't long before we came across the first campground. Unfortunately, the place was chock-full of caravans so we carried on. We decided to skip the turn-off to the second campground and headed for the one at the top of the hill. When we crested the bald hill we were greeted with plenty of sunlight. The setting looked idyllic, but upon closer inspection of the established neighbors we decided it was best to continue our search. We headed back to the campground we had passed up. The road slowly meandered towards the valley and I doubted that we would a sunny spot in the hallows. Fortunately, the track didn't reach the canyon floor and the campground was on a sunny plateau. There were only two other tents in the area, but there was no one around. There was an isolated area off to the side, so we staked our claim. 
Rather then setting up camp we decided to hit the trail. A steep single track continued from where the road ended and we were quickly taken down to the canyon bottom. The recent rains had turned to the valley into lush meadow lands. Even though our journey had been short, I felt as though I had been transported thousands of miles away to the center of Ireland--with its 40 shades of green. I wanted to continue exploring the valley, but unfortunately the marked trail ended at a waterfall. We did see several secondary trails, probably made by roo's and feral goats, but the terrain was just too rough so we decided to return to camp.

Our neighbors had not yet returned, and no one new had joined us so we had the place to ourselves. We quickly set up camp and sat out to enjoy the late afternoon sun. It wasn't long before the sun disappeared. Even though it was the middle of winter the temperature was mild enough for us to sit through several games of cards, enjoy an alfresco meal, and watch the moon begin its ascent. 
By 7:30 we were amazed that our neighbors had not yet returned. One of the campsites had a car next to it, and the other campsite consisted of a single person swag with nothing else. We began to question if the campers were a group and out and about in a second car, or if the campers were out on the trail. 
By 8:00 we decided it was time to investigate. A quick walk through the campsite assured us that no one was asleep in the tents. A meal had been cooked and everything had been left neat and tidy. It appeared that the two campsites were a group. We still had no idea if there was a second car around, or if they were out walking. We worried that since a headlight was left outside the tent, if they were walking at least one person didn't have a light. I couldn't help but be concerned, but without knowing if there was a second car all we could do was wait until morning. So we tried to put our neighbors out of mind and enjoy the rest of the evening. 
Fortunately at some point in the night they made their return by car (we slept right through their entrance). The experience has made us realize just how important it is to leave hiking details on the car windscreen if nothing else as a courtesy to your neighbors. A lesson you think we would have learned on this adventure.


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  2. Hi Maya, I remember that adventure you linked to. It is definitely a good idea to leave a note. This looks like a beautiful location for a hike. Do you take a GPS with you during your hikes?