Isn’t this the feeling everyone who ventures far from track or trail is seeking: the freedom of the wilderness, the exultation of the hills, the distant roar of rapids, the whistle of wind in the trees, the ubiquitous echo of birdsong, the warning bark of a deer in a golden sunset… Della and I are back from three days and approx 50 km walking in one of our own trackless wildernesses in the Gippsland mountains, testing out ourselves and the functionality of our http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-deer-hunters-tent/ for two hikers plus two dogs. As Della is partially sighted I have now cleared a walking path approx 60 km long to make our journeys there easier – and there is so much more to explore still downriver and up the three major valleys encountered so far to keep me busy in the future.
We need to do a little more work on warmer clothes for Della as she sleeps rather cold. A down hood (eg https://goosefeetgear.com/products or http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/goosehood.shtml) and a pair of Montbell’s down trousers (http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=2101&p_id=2301217&gen_cd=2) should do the trick (added to her down socks, two insulated jackets plus vest and -7C down sleeping bag). On the same night where she was still a little cold (in all but the hood and trousers) I was quite warm enough in a -1C down sleeping bag in wool singlet and shirtsleeves with no socks. We are all different.
The 4WD track which gets us to within 5km of the river is very overgrown. This is a good section. A couple more summers and we will be walking all the way, but we will keep on driving it down whilst we can.
Around a 10 km walk to the riverbank where we made our bed. A toasty warm fire heats our tent where we are serenaded by the river’s murmur and deer barking at the end of Day One.
Morning has broken. Spot loves to help Della with the dishes. The river is quite low this winter.
Though a little crowded, as you can see next morning we all fitted into the little tent. You can picture us sitting on our Cyclone Chairs at the entrance watching the best show in town, the flickering of the embers of a night as we enjoyed our hot chocolate (or Smackos) before bed.
In summer we will venture the river too on a multi-day trip with our packrafts. It looks quite delightful. Here is a major rapid we could still hear roaring at night from approx 5 km away! (Aside: I have a WordPress glitch with this picture which appears twice. WordPress is having image problems Sorry).
You never tire of gazing at the poetry of water on stone. Will need to watch out this one does not tip us out of the canoes though.
In the early morning light it is a beautiful stretch of river.
And just keeps going on and on. Around the river’s bend may wait…
Carrying water up from a magnificent valley nearby on the second night we camped high on a wonderful clear ridge with truly vast views of the river and the huge valleys all about. Sunset was indelibly memorable. In Della’s photo here you can see the tent suffused with it as we put it up and I gather some kindling in the background.Tiny has already settled in for the night.
Tiny was quite tired out – she is 16 ½! She loves Della’s sleeping bag.
This young ‘black velvet’ fellow was harvested for meat. Amazing ears.
Tiny below. Both the dogs love to sit on the packs during rest stops. My trusty take-down .308 in the background: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/308s/
The tent proved excellent for one – if a little crowded for all four of us, but at <750 grams (in Tyvek) it is an easy carry. I will be remaking it (soon) with a cuben fibre roof and 1oz/yd2 silnylon poncho floor – perhaps even with .7oz/yd2 insect netting at the front door. This version should be well under 400 grams, so will undoubtedly become my ‘go anywhere’ tent.
NB: If you enjoyed this post why not ‘Share’ it on Facebook (etc) using the button below – &/or if you want to keep up with my posts ‘Like’ The Ultralight Hiker’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/theultralighthiker/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and you will receive regular notifications.
Some Other Hunting Related Posts (there are many more):