We had a good solid feed from the kitchen and sat around the campfire with several others having a bit of a chat. Tempting as it was, we couldn’t stay there forever, so with the temperature continuing to drop we headed back to our tent and grabbed some warmer clothes and the torches before heading back out again.
Having never attempted night navigation in the bush before, we had decided that we had to get at least one control (preferably a few) before calling it a night. We chose control 21 – it was close to camp and was at the junction of a trail and a watercourse. Surely that couldn’t be too hard?
The trail was supposed to start about 200m from our tent, so we started along the dirt road chatting away and looking about at the night. The full moon wasn’t set to rise for a little while yet. Looking up, we realised we were nearly at the intersection almost a kilometre away… We walked slowly back along the road, scanning the bush for any sign of a path that might be the marked trail, venturing 20m or so off the road in the hopes that we would see something that would show us we had found the trail we were looking for. Back and forth we went, over 40 minutes covering the same stretch of road – stubborn, us?
Just as we were about to call it quits, we stopped, and looking in just the right spot, we saw the trail! It wasn’t the clearest, and wasn’t overly easy to follow in the dark, but we followed it and around 500m in landed straight on the control. Finally! Nick had led us in on the trail, so it was my job to lead us out. Only I had unknowingly followed an unmarked trail and we headed in the wrong direction. The ground wasn’t too rough though, so once we realised we were in completely the wrong spot we took a bearing and headed back to our road and back to camp. It took us around an hour and a half, but we had 20 points more than if we hadn’t gone.
Our path on strava is almost embarrassing. Except, we did find the control in the end, so I guess it could be worse. Freezing cold, we headed for our tent to get what sleep we could. The tent closest to ours had a good snorer, my hamstrings cramped horribly several times and the rustling of other people coming and going from tents ensured we didn’t sleep too much though. Both awake at 5:30am on Sunday, we decided to give up attempting to get anymore sleep and start day two.
Check out Part 1 – Death by a Thousand Cuts
Part 3 – Do Pigs Know They Have a Tail?
Part 4 – The Aftermath