Johanna Beach to Ryan’s Den – 15kms
Hooray! I slept!
Ear plugs worked a treat and I crashed out completely. Unfortunately, Ange did not enjoy the same sleep and only grabbed a couple of hours.
Our pack up was our quickest yet and I think there was a bit of spring in the step knowing we would be having real showers and sleeping in a proper bed within hours.
It was a decent climb before we finally reached the GOW campsite at Johanna Beach, making us feel more relieved with each step we hadn’t attempted it yesterday. When we did get there, while it had a beautiful view, the sound of the ocean was like a train roaring through. I’m not sure even my ear plugs could have managed to block out this sound.
We pressed on, walking through open fields and continued climbing.
Did I mention I am not great on hills?
It felt like we had been walking up forever. How could it possibly be this high up? Where was the descent to help me make up my speed? According to our information sheet, it was only 3kms. What? As the crow flies?
We hit a period of gravel road walking and this just seemed to deflate me even more. I’d only been walking 2hrs, but I felt like I had no gas in the tank.
We came across a grassy flat spot in front of a driveway and dropped down on the grass, relishing the ability to lie down flat in the shade.
It was a cool respite and we were ready to continue on, again, with no idea of where exactly.
Eventually, the road ended at a forest gate and it wasn’t until we squeezed through did we see the yellow arrow.
This was the descent to Millanesia Beach. The short pitstop, the relief of being out of the sun and going downhill had me moving far quicker than I had all day. It felt like no time at all had passed before we were stepping out of the forest and seeing the water reveal itself below.
We decided to stop here for lunch to enjoy the splendid view.
Had I known what was to come, I may have spent far longer on this beautiful sand admiring the view.
Our path took us off the beach into a straight up climb.
This photo doesn’t do justice to how steep the path was. All the energy reserves that had built up in the break disappeared immediately. And somehow, we kept going up.
And nowhere near enough descents for me.
While the extensive steps continued, the flora changed to more of a scrub bush, providing intermittent relief from the heat.
And this is where my day completely unravelled. My body was aching by this point, I was walking slower and not fully registering my surroundings. That was until my eyes caught sight of a large Tiger Snake lying on the edge of the path – the same path that Ange had just walked past, oblivious of the danger beside her.
For my non-Australian friends, Tiger Snakes are ranked the 6th most deadliest snake in the world.
And here I was, standing frozen across from one that was refusing to move on.
My mind was in overdrive. I had never encountered a snake that hadn’t high tailed it out of there upon hearing people, so I began to wonder. Are Tiger Snakes arrogant and don’t feel like they should have to move? I mean, why wouldn’t you be when you have the kind of infamy they possess? How long would I have to stand there waiting, hoping it might decide to move?
What was making it worse was, I could see it flattening its head to look bigger and more threatening. The next step from this is to strike in defence of itself.
I felt myself looking up at Ange helplessly. I stood in the same position for minutes that felt like hours. And still, the snake refused to move.
I decided to step to the side as far away as the path would allow, never taking my eyes off the snake for a second. Unfortunately for me, that got me tangled up in a blackberry bush, its thorns latching on tight.
My anxiety was sky-rocketing. While I was further away from the snake, trying to untangle myself from the blackberry thorns could result in me falling back and being struck for certain. The rising fear had me wanting to cry.
With a final pull, I was free of the bush and of the snake. Adrenalin was coursing through me and left me badly shaken.
We continued walking, but I was so rattled by the experience, I was completely on edge. Especially when the path narrowed to the point of barely enough space for our feet. I kept seeing all the possible spaces a snake could be lying with nowhere to move and striking in response.
And still we climbed steps.
With all of this, I was done. I was emotionally spent and physically exhausted.
I kept trying to take in the amazing surroundings and talking with Bree, but nothing was pulling me into a better headspace to continue. I needed this day to be over.
After initially missing our turnoff for accommodation and having to back track, we travelled up Ryan’s Den Track. At least it was what we were hoping was the right track. There was no signage and the instructions left a lot to be desired. All we knew was that we were supposed to be walking 2kms to the road for collection.
Again, it was all uphill and I reached a point where I looked up and saw the hill continuing after what had already felt like an eternity of climbing and I came close to crying. I had nothing left.
Seeing the road felt like an oasis. Somehow, I had made it. When the car pulled up and we jumped in to the air-conditioner blasting, I suddenly felt like I was in heaven.
But nothing compared to peeling off my clothes and stepping into a hot shower, scrubbing away the dirt and the day.
It was so wonderful not having to set up our bed for the night, to just be able to sit and relax. Well, after rescuing Ange’s shoe from over the balcony that is.
As I stood on the decking taking in the beautiful garden, Ange came out and randomly tossed her shoe over the edge. All she had meant to do was bang out the sand. I listened to her grumbling about having to put on her other shoes to walk around to get her shoe, before I queried why she didn’t just lean over and pull it up.
She looked at me incredulously, telling me how impossible that would be as it was too far to reach. Now it was my turn to look at her incredulously. I leaned down, stretched my arm out and pulled up the shoe. Ange said it had looked really far. Did I mention Ange wears prescription glasses?
The other wonderful thing to look forward to, was dinner being brought to us. A hot, home cooked meal, not out of a packet. We polished our plates clean.
With contented bellies and soothed minds, hopping into bed was a welcome moment.
Ange was asleep in mere minutes, not even waking up for me having to turn the light on just five minutes after turning them off to hunt down the mosquito buzzing in my ear.
It is taking me a little longer to wind down, but with a shower and a comfortable bed, tomorrow is a new day.