After a good nights sleep things looked better. There’s a new bridge across the Spring River, so getting across was no trouble at all. In earlier times with the log and rope crossing it must have been quite perilous when the river is in flood. The new bridge is high above the river so even in high flow it should be safe to cross.
My knee was giving me less trouble than the previous day and I felt pretty good after a good night’s rest but even so, the descents and climbs were wearing me down.
As we were doing one of the many descents I jarred my injured knee again and was in excruciating pain and a few hundred metres further on the same thing happened again. Pressing my fingers against the side of my knee I could feel grinding as I bent my leg, but the only thing to do was push on. I tried to avoid bending my left leg and let the right leg do the work, but occasionally I caught my left boot and involuntarily bent my knee and pain shot up my leg. Oddly on the few sections of open track where it was possible to walk, I found I could walk without much discomfort, but the descents were quite slow and painful and I decided to jettison some food. I hadn’t eaten as much as I had expected and wasn’t very hungry so I opted to dump the muesli and trail mix I was carrying. It was probably a couple of kilos and Owen took my lead and threw out some food too. We still had plenty of freeze dried meal packs so we weren’t going to go hungry. It seemed to make a difference. Plus the track opened up on to a plateau and I was able to motor along quite well.
Once out on the plateau we could feel the breeze more than before and I started to become concerned that the crossing at Bathurst Narrows might be a problem if the wind picked up any more, so I decided to increase my pace, leaving Owen behind.
I was planning to attempt the crossing solo and pick up Owen on the return trip but he wasn’t all that far behind me and by the time I got the dinghy in the water he had arrived.
As were readying the oars we saw a launch pass by and I considered hailing them to ferry us across but I didn’t want to impose on them.
I thought it best to leave our packs on shore until we’d seen how rough the crossing was. We did the crossing together , one oar each and it wasn’t too bad at all in the channel; a bit choppy and we missed the water on a couple of strokes but made it across quite easily.
As we were starting to launch the second dinghy, the boat we’d seen before drew close to the shore and the skipper offered to take us across. We just had to row the first dinghy back to the start and collect our packs. It saved us a bit of work and we got the chance to meet some tourists on their Melaleuca Experience.
When they dropped us off at Joan Point the skipper even gave us a couple of fresh apples each and they were delicious.
C & A arrived at the other side just after we completed the crossing and they were able to come over on the launch without doing any rowing at all. Apparently another couple of walkers were just behind them and they got an even better deal, being ferried all the way from Farrell Point to Melaleuca in the launch!
C & A stayed the night at Joan Point but Owen and I pressed on as we wanted to arrive at Melaleuca early in the morning before the plane left.
It was quite difficult to find the track out from Joan Point. Once we were out on the ridge the track forked, with one track leading straight on and the other taking the eastern side of the ridge. Someone had placed small white rocks across the path on the western track, suggesting to me that was not the route to take and tried to call Owen back. I got more concerned when the track descended into a forest and disappeared altogether, but there are various markers (twine and tape attached to branches) that you really have to look out for, but they guide you down to a campsite that isn’t marked on the Parks and Wildlife map.
We set up camp. It was pitch black that night and I had left my torch in my pack. When I had to get up in the middle of the night to urinate I could only shuffle a metre or two from the tent in the dark.