Being in the middle of the wild with no one else but myself to rely on I put this out of my mind by wrapping a bungee cord around my waist and poking both the hooks into my hip bone, forcing my mind to think of this pain rather than my knee joint which was now swollen and grating.
I found a couple of walking poles and used them like an old man. I pushed on for one more day hoping desperately that the Gordon River would raise its water level with the joining of a lake. This was not to be though so I had to make a decision to continue along the river in the hope it would allow me on it in a few days time. It could be another week to walk alongside it plus another 3 days hike out to safety, but I would have a water supply. Or I could hike out away from the river and up and over a couple of mountains in search of a small road. Stick or twist time as I called it. I twisted and hiked up and over the mountains, sleeping on the edge of one and getting caught in even thicker bush than previously. I didn’t think about anything other than the next step, just focused on the present moment and on trying to survive at this point. 2 days later upon reaching the road I knelt down and kissed the bugger with all my heart. No sooner had I reached the road than my GPS battery died and I was clinging onto my last 300ml of water having hiked half a day on 100ml and a handful of oats.
The bush had ripped my clothes and much of my skin to shreds, my knees and arms were scabbed up and my trousers were being held up by a bungee cord on each leg. I memorised my route for the next 100km and took a moment to wash in a running stream, eat lunch and enjoy a coffee.
I spent the next 2 days hiking along small paths and roads and passing many echidnas, kookaburras, galahs and even walked past a poisonous copperhead snake as it slithered around on the side of the road.
Eventually I made it to the town of Maydena and found a new route paddling down the Derwent River and through it’s white water course before hiking (more like hobbling at this stage) up and over one final mountain to the Huon River, where I met my Mum and Dad.
Dad and I jumped in his canoe and paddled the Huon River though, in keeping with the adventure, we ran aground on some rocks due to a storm and rough weather. When I looked back and Dad was waist deep in water I knew we had to pull in and set up camp. With the tent up and the storm rolling in we sat around our campfire, ate noodles and washed them down with a swig of rum. I enjoyed the calm of this moment just staring at the stars and understanding how insignificant we really are in the universe and yet know that we can each create ripples in our world that can have a far greater effect than I can fathom.