Day 3 – Watershed Camp to Forest Camp
Distance: 22.4 km
Walking difficulty: Hard
Mud: Less than yesterday
Date walked: 13 March 2012
We were happy to leave Watershed Camp. Up around 7am. Gone by 8:05am.
Looking at the map, we figured we wanted to skip Spring River and get to the unofficial Forest Camp. It turned out to be a good decision. While the distance is a bit longer, Spring River is a big of an odd place. It sounds lovely, and you picture something similar to yesterday’s Crossing River. In reality however, it’s a bit icky.
We set off from Watershed strongly, and were soon weaving through the bushes before heading up the hill again and getting out of the dank, damp forest. I found a water bottle that had been pulled off someone’s pack, so make sure you’ve got everything secured because the tight scrub will do some damage.
After about 8km from Watershed, we got to a John Chapman suggested campsite. This is where we were aiming for the day before, but it turned out to be a bit too far and we had no chance of making it.
But in the end it was a great place to have morning tea.
More leaches too!
There’d be room at this camp spot for a few tents. If you need more space, there’s another small campsite for a few more tents just after crossing the creek.
I liked this place. It wasn’t gloomy like Watershed. It was open, and had a water supply. All was good. Nice time for relaxation!
I reckon if we’d stayed at Crossing River, you could skip Watershed and make it here. It’d mean a longer day on day 1, but you get a better choice of campsites.
After morning tea, we entered the Lost World Plateau. I loved it. Dash did too.
I loved it out here. It was flat(ish), and most importantly it had solid ground underfoot. It allowed us to get some quick kilometers down, since we were planning on skipping Spring River.
The views of the mountains and rolling hills around us were amazing. It was nice to be able to walk along, without having to worry about slipping over and breaking your leg. Though by this time, we were suffering a few blisters and very minor cuts.
It goes to show we’re getting into this walk. It’s Day Three. It’s going well. I’m having fun. I think.
Then the walk started to drag, and we started getting hungry. Spring River – the lunch spot – was tantalisingly close, but never seemed to turn up. Eventually we got there.
It hadn’t rained for ages, so we had no trouble getting to campsite. But in flood, or heavy rainfall, this place would be horrific.
I had a waist-deep wade though strongly flowing water even to get to the river bank and there was no way I was going to be able to swim it.
– Our Hiking Blog (2008)
Spring River was hard. It would be harder still if there was more water around.
John Chapman mentions in his track notes there’s a tree you can use for a crossing. As far as I can tell, it’s gone: it’s either washed away or it’s broken. I also couldn’t find the campsite of the other side of Spring River. The only campsite I could find was the one you first come across when you enter the clearing.
UPDATE 28 Feb 2016: Apparently there’s a new bridge there now. That should make getting across much, much easier.
Here’s how we crossed the river. You’ll also be able to see the broken log.
It took Dash and I about an hour to figure out how to get across. While the water wasn’t moving fast at all, I wasn’t too keen about swimming across. I also wasn’t too keen about crossing the broken log. (I actually did cross it in the end, though in reverse, just to see what it was like. I didn’t have my pack on either. It would have been easy to slip off and get everything wet.) I have no idea how you’d get across in a flood, or if it’d rained a lot recently.
Spring River was a struggle. It didn’t have a great vibe to it either. There was also a lot of toilet paper around. Maybe that all gets washed away come flood time?
After clearing Spring River we got off the Lost World Plateau and started getting some altitude. The walk along the mountainous ridge was a pleasure. You can see the whole plateau, and see Spring River snake its way through the land on the way to the sea.
After a whole lot more walking, we made it to Forest Camp. It’s a wonderfully dry place, high up from the river. There’s room for about 3 tents (4 if you push it). There are a few logs to sit on to cook dinner. This was one of my favourite campsites on the entire trip. The only thing to keep in your mind, is the river is a long way off. Probably a 15 minute walk down the hill to get water, then all the way back up it. Again, the water bladder was worth it. I could bring up 5 litres, which was easily more than enough.
Up early tomorrow, as we were gunning for Melaleuca.