1. Once again, I packed too many clothes. Clothes take up a fair bit of space in a pack, no matter how much you try and squash them down. And they add weight. I ended up carrying an extra pair of walking pants, shirt, and thermals that I didn’t end up needing. That nagging feeling of “I should bring extra just in case” got the better of me. But really, they weren’t necessary and as a result my pack was probably heavier than it should have been.
2. The importance of not panicking. When I thought I’d lost the track in the scrub half way along the walk I thought that was it, I’d have to turn around and head back. When you think you may be lost, don’t keep pushing onwards as it may make your situation worse. Backtrack until you’re back on the path and then continue carefully to ensure you don’t wander off again. I did just that and when I ended up back at the same spot the track disappeared I scanned the ground ahead closely to pick up signs of where other walkers had been before.
3. Be flexible with plans. You never know what may happen on a walk so it’s a good idea to not be too strict with your timetable. You might end up at a campsite you were planning to stay at earlier than you think and decide to push on to the next one. Or you might find a nice site where you might want to spend an extra day. Or the weather might turn pear shaped, forcing you to stay put until it clears. Accepting that stuff happens and to just go with the flow and enjoy it will also relieve you of unnecessary stress.
4. If you’re going to finish your walk at Cockle Creek and haven’t organised transport to pick you up, make sure you’ve got coins so you can use the public phone, which only takes coins and Telstra Phone Cards (do they even exist anymore?) You may get one bar of service on your mobile at the ranger’s hut – enough for a text. Or you can walk out to the whale sculpture where the signal can be a little be stronger.
5. Not really a learning but a reaffirming of what I already know – Tasmania’s wilderness is wonderful.