2/3 Bored in Boyle

Boyle Flat Hut to Boyle River

14 K

I sleep amazingly, in spite of Davy rattling and clanging until past 1:00 in the morning, and when I get up to make coffee, the water tap for the tank has broken. Well, shit. Lucky for me Prana is a chivalrous soul, and makes a pilgrimage to the river to come back with plenty.

A bit of a late start to the hiking, but it’s chilly and wet enough I wouldn’t have wanted to start any earlier. Prana and I hike just the two of us in the back, and our random conversation ranges far and wide and animatedly. Four hours of hiking through meadows with the occasional blowdown or climb around washouts in the bank disappears quickly.

We come upon the other three waiting at the entrance to the Boyle Outdoor Education Center, where we all follow the signs to the check in. A volunteer is in for the weekend, and he slowly and painstakingly helps us all find our food boxes, which we need ID to collect. “We’ve had hikers steal other hikers’ boxes,” he explains. Breaking the code. What must their opinion of hikers be?

The sandflies are absolutely horrendous, and any thoughts I have of relaxing evaporate. For a fee they allow us to charge our phones and power banks in their lodge room, with specific directions to not bring our shoes or packs or gear inside, to not eat any food inside, and to leave it at least as clean as we find it. A fair deal. Even in the lodge room, the sandflies are incessant, and none of us feel a desire to stay. There is a washer, but no dryer, and I can’t imagine clothes drying in the chilly cloud-shaded air today. ‘Poof’ goes my dream of laundered clothes. We count out our meals to double check our rations, and repack our food bags. Then we wait for our batteries to charge.

We thumb through a few outdoor books and magazines, and I type on my journal. Standing in just the right spot provides one bar of service, so we all scramble to message parents and friends and check email. No new news, really. We wait some more.

At one point, a few new hikers arrive, hitched in from the nearest town of Hanmer Springs. They stroll in with boots and packs on, and we let them know the expectations of the staff here, who were gracious enough to let us use this space which is normally off-limits. This does not go over well, and I even receive a passive-aggressive “I always clean up after myself, I clean up other people’s messes too, so fuck you TA walker” from the French girl, right before she flounces out, leaving her bean bags unstacked, her magazines unshelved, and mud on the floor behind her.

We finally leave at 6:00, batteries still only half full, but we can’t stand to sit still and wait any more. We hike several k’s out of town and drop into the Boyle River valley, easy walking in colorful grass meadows. We find a flat and sparsely grassed spot not too far in and call it home for the night. Prana and Mario go to get water from the river, and I cook gnocchi in Thai pumpkin soup for dinner. It is fantastic. We all tuck in for a chilly night, the cold wet air from the river settling like a weight around us.

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