South Coast Track with children Jan 1982
What family would be crazy enough to even dream about taking babies and young children on the astonishingly muddy and thus quite arduous South Coast Trail? Answer: Our family and that of our best friends in Armidale – in fact, it was their idea, so if a prize goes for ingenuity and get-up-and-goism, then they get it, but we agreed to the venture with gusto. We used to have weekly adventures taking the children into the bush, usually finishing after dark – almost on principle – so, why not this one? We forged our plans.
I think we were very fortunate that in that particular week of the earth’s history, the weather was pretty appalling down there, so much so that the plane just couldn’t fly us into Melaleuca inlet. Days went by while we waited for the chance to fly, but we kept being denied the trip.
This little poppet is now a mother – and is teaching her own children to bushwalk (of course).
Now that I’ve seen the whole thing, especially the mud around the Ironbounds, and knowing the huge amount of rain that preceded our visit, I am nothing but thankful that we couldn’t fly. Eventually, frustrated, we drove south, our time having been whittled away, and began the track in.
We would now walk in as far as we could get in half the number of remaining days and walk back out again in the rest. Better than nothing. It just so happened that that meant we avoided the worst – but not all of – the mud. When I did my first face plant with my baby on my back, mostly because I couldn’t control the very heavy weight I was carrying (normal pack plus baby) I was glad it was into gentle bushes and not deep mud!
In nuce, the babies had a wonderful time. Both were crawling, and ours delighted in traversing the ashes of the fires we were allowed to have in those days. She was absolutely filthy.
I think all children rejoiced that baths were not a possibility. The three and five year old loved both the walking and the playing in the sand and water at the end of the day. All of the children, it seems, were born believing that tents were the most exciting possible accommodation life could offer, and bushwalking, the best activity.
After the epic had finished, our friends had to fly out. We took our two on another – tamer – bushwalk, but still with overnighting, before we too, had to leave this wonderful island. We had already been plotting to move house to Tasmania one day, ever since we had first got married. This trip only strengthened us in that resolve.