18 hikers shared 5 cars out to the trailhead, at the usual range of speeds, and began hiking at about 08.40. Despite the substantial burn-off since the exploration hike, Saturday’s rain had helped damp down the ashes and cool off the air, and there was still a reasonable amount of shade and some slight breezes.
We made good time over the first half of the hike, despite a GPS-less leader initially missing one junction, but soon the GPS-equipped leader noticed that not only was his battery surprisingly low (wife had switched off his overnight charging attempt) but that none of the 12 regular hikers who had been emailed the hike gpx file (including one who’d specifically requested it) were actually present on the hike with the file enabled on a working machine. So he switched off to conserve battery for the trickier later stages.
After an early lunch on the rocks, we started down from the high ridge but soon found ourselves slightly too far E of the intended route, on the next minor ridge over. The GPS phone took an age to wake up and lock on to the satellites again so we scouted around and took an off-trail shortcut – down, across a dry stream bed, and steeply up again, challenging hearts, lungs and leg muscles. This set the tone for the remainder of the hike, with lagging/flagging GPS not helping. At a later junction, three faster hikers went one way while the main group went another, but we met up again when we reached the Bermuda Triangle, where we’d previously become confused, as the GPS phone battery finally died and the previously-used trail petered out into
thick seaweed rocks and bushes. Luckily the leader had an emergency compass and this agreed with most (but not all) of the various mapless GPS phones carried by other hikers and we quickly found a new trail which took us a slightly different way back to the parked vehicles. We were never actually lost, just ‘misplaced’ 😉
The recent fires had left a little insect, lizard and snake life and Ms JR found yet another shed snake skin for her collection. Thanks for the photos Ms JG. Anyone have any more to share?
Best guess for statistics: 8-9 kms, up/down 650m. About 6.5 hours.
Questions for further exploration/investigation (see map):
- where does the wide trail which confused us early on the climb go to?
- what about all the trails at the two crossroads near the end of the hike?
- did anyone actually record the final 1-2 kms of the hike, through the bermuda triangle (where the maps claim we meet an unsurfaced ‘black’ road) on gps? Please share!
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