A Bushwalk to Hellfire Bay

In Cape Le Grand National Park

Sometimes victory lies not in reaching your target, but in returning to where you commenced your journey.

It was impossible to resist a bushwalk during our stay at Cape Le Grand National Park and we decided to take the path up Mount Le Grand and ‘see where it took us’.  We were at one end of a defined walk from Le Grand Beach to Rossiter Bay, X number of kilometres of hard terrain that you should allow 6 hours to complete one way.

We were not going to walk the entire distance.

Although the path doesn’t go all the way up to the top of Mount Le Grand, it does scale up a fair distance to where you trek across countless slabs of sloping granite.  I was amazed at the colours in the rocks, they were ablaze with orange and even pink, as well as the tell-tale black that defines the path of water following rain.

We walked through a wildflower wonderland with the under story sparkling with pinks and blues, orange, reds and yellows.  There were wildflowers everywhere and, for over 30 minutes, I oohed and aahed my way along the path.

This is such a pretty little flower - See the fly on the top?

This is such a pretty little native flower – See the fly on the top? It gives perspective. (Click to enlarge)

We heard a few wallabies bounding away from us, squawking currawongs off in the distance, and witnessed copious numbers of lizards and Ornate Dragons scurrying off as we approached them.

Initially we were only going to take a short hike up the rise, but the day was mild and at some point we silently agreed to simply keep going.

Once we spotted Hellfire Bay we knew we were close and didn’t have too much further to go although it would take us another hour to actually reach the bay.

The sign said to “Allow 3 hours” to reach Hellfire Bay and that’s exactly what it took us to step off the granite and onto the sand.

We relaxed – took a load off so to speak – and sat and enjoyed a sandwich, a drink, and the amazing view.

. . .

It was 11:45 am when we decided to head back up the granite and commence the walk back to Le Grand Beach.  I knew it was going to be hard, tough even, but at that stage I had no idea just how hard it was about to get.

Hellfire Bay

Looking back across Hellfire Bay

Thirty-five minutes later, descending a sandy section of the path littered with overgrown rough-edged pebbles, my right foot lost purchase on the loose surface and shot out in front of me.

As my right foot continued its forward journey, my left leg buckled, wrapping beneath me at angles I didn’t think were possible.  I’m sure I heard something snap and I know I screamed, my cries of pain echoing off the surrounding granite boulders.

My immediate thought was of needing a rescue chopper to get me off the side of the mountain and through my tears I saw my hero bounding back up to where I was.  I cried, howled even.  Salty tears and sobs preventing me from telling Dean that I’d hurt my left foot.

Even though the pain in my foot was incredible, I finally managed to get back onto my feet and was able to put a little weight on it.  Thankfully nothing was broken, the snapping sound must have emanated from a small bush I crushed as I fell.

But what to do now?  Keep going, or turn back?

If we turned back, there was a much greater distance to walk along a roadway.

We kept going forward, knowing the terrain was rough, but the distance much shorter.  Dean led the way with me hobbling along behind, yelping with every misplaced footfall.

The terrain in front of us - there is another walker in the centre of the photo.

A section of the terrain in front of us – there’s another walker in a pale blue shirt in the centre of the photo.

As the ground rushed up to meet me a second time I scared all the wildlife with the colourful language that escaped my mouth with a life all its own, yet “I’m ok!  I’m ok!” was all I remember saying as Dean once again helped me up.

Back on my feet, this time holding a loop on Dean’s backpack, we continued one painful step at a time.  A slow pace for sure, painfully slow at times.

I discovered I could walk with a little pace if I didn’t put pressure on the arch of my foot and spent the next 2½ hours rock-hopping on tippy toes.  That soon became tiring, but by this stage we were off the rocks and onto softer ground and I did manage to place my entire foot down, carefully not to step on it the wrong way.

Before long we could see Le Grand Beach and although I knew I could really do with some pain killers, the sight of the beach gave me a spurt to keep going – the end, and victory was in sight.

P1130193

Le Grand Beach viewed from the lookout

“I’ll carry you if I have to!” Dean declared, and the thought of my greyhound carrying his Saint Bernard only tugged at my heart-strings and bought more tears to my eyes.

. . .

It took three hours to reach Hellfire Bay, and nearly four hours to return to Le Grand Beach.  With Dean helping me as much as he could, and me yelping along, getting off that mountain was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

The victory of walking myself off that mountain was almost bittersweet knowing it was the first and last bushwalk we would take in the Cape Le Grand National Park as I was then forced to sit with my foot up for three days.

Thankfully my foot wasn’t broken, just badly sprained and (today) five days later, I’m still walking with a limp and sporting an assortment of bumps and bruises and cuts and scratches.  It could have been much worse.

 

More photos of wildflowers have been added to the Photography page, so please enjoy.

In response to the WordPress Photo Challenge – Victory

2 Comments

  1. You are one determined gal! Especially not know if there might be hairline fractures. You two reminded me of Sam carrying Frodo up Mt. Doom! 😀 But it your case it would have been down. Glad you didn’t actually break anything, friend. ❤

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    1. Hi Calen,

      Ha ha – Frodo and Sam, though it did feel a little like Mt Doom before we reached the end of the track and descended down to campground. I’m guessing if I had a hairline fracture I’d have screamed much louder and needed that rescue chopper. Now that would have made for some interesting reading 🙂

      Clare

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