Day 119: Telford Camp to Island Bush

Distance travelled today: 41 km
Total TA distance covered: 2866 km

Easy peasy almost marathon day.

To be honest it was a really uneventful day of walking on farm and back roads mostly with a few small forests so I’ll keep this one short.

Pack up this morning was at lightning speed with all of the sand flies still about. It was going to be a big kilometre day and I was keen to get away on first light, packing up mostly in the dark by head torch.

Back into the paddocks first thing and a river crossing within 1 kilometre of starting. I desperately looked for a dry crossing but the Telford Burn was just too wide and too cold to take my shoes off for a bare foot. So, there was nothing for it but to swallow my concrete pill for the day, harden the fuck up and plunge through the water in the knowledge that my feet would be wet for the rest of the day and smelly at the end.

Once over the river the whole morning was through Linton Station, a working property, with lots of sheep and cattle. The station can be busy with farm workers shifting stock along the farm roads and between paddock. If this is occurring trampers need to stand to the side and give way but I lucked out and had the roads to myself.

Shuffling along farm roads is easy and can be a bit boring, particularly if there is not much in the way of views other than paddocks. To keep myself occupied I popped my ipod on, listening to podcasts and music. There were a few long climbs on the farm road with views to the south and forests beyond from the top of the climbs but mostly farm views. The 17 or kilometres across Linton flew by and by mid morning I was walking through turnip paddocks towards Birchwood and a swing bridge over Morley Stream.

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Another hour and a few more kilometres on Birchwood Road brought me to a eucalypts plantation. I could smell it before I saw it. Reminding me of home I found a nice stop in amongst the blue gums and settled town for lunch. And what could be more Aussie than having vegemite wraps.

From the plantation the trail lead through yet mire paddocks stocked with sheep. I was down wind and it was amusing to watch the sheep suddenly look up, see me behind them and hoof off a million miles an hour. Through the paddocks there was a steep climb on an old farm track up to Twinlaw where some radio towers stood sentinel on the hill. I took the opportunity to take a drink break and catch up on email.

From the top it was more road walking, this time on forestry tracks, through to the Woodlaw Forest and back onto tramping tracks for a 5 kilometres or so. I was going to push hard today and didn’t know where my next water source would be so on finding a small trickling creek in the forest I collected water, filtered it and carried a few extra litres to get me through until morning should I end up dry camping.

Woodlaw was nice to walk through. Not much mud and through beech forest. The steep descent back towards roads was giving my knees some grief and this stage I’d already put in 35km or so. Time was getting on, it was around 5:30pm and I was keen to keep pressing on. The next suitable site to camp that I could see was the Island Bush, a pine plantation, a further 5km from the exit out of Woodlaw. I gauged it would take me just over an hour on gravel roads and I kept moving, my speed slowing down right towards the end of the day as I shuffled along the quiet country roads.

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I made it Island Bush and found a suitable spot to call home for the night at around 6:30pm. It was going to be a dry camp so I was glad to have carried the extra couple of kilos in water from the forest. I was pleased to call it a day having knocked off 41 or so kilometres over an 11.5 hour day.

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