To the Sand Patch

Noosa Travel Blog

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We had been left instructions for our next day's canoeing which was to head an hour and a half up river to campsite 3 where we would walk 2 hours up to The Sand Patch and then return, making a 6 hour round trip to occupy our second day. We set off early and were pleased to find that both the current and wind were behind us making it a much less stressful and terrifying experience than the previous day. Esa and I had swapped places so she was in steering position but she wasn't quite confident what effect paddling on each side had we spent the first half an hour zig-zagging from bank to bank. Eventually though we found our stride and seemed to settle into a less frustrating straighter course and were able finally just to enjoy the feeling of gliding through the glittery waters and admiring the beautiful forest around us.

After a couple of hours we saw the jetty for the campsite and caught Ross and Fe who had just arrived themselves. We set off together on the long walk, first through sand dunes and lush vegetation and later through forest that changed interimittently from tall eucalpt forest (similar looking to English forest) to rainforest. We walked for an hour, and felt sure that the 2 hour estimate had been over-generous for the walk, joking that wouldn't it be funny if we saw a sign saying 'only halfway' as we panted and trudged up the winding path. We were so sure we were close as we glimpsed panoramic views over the valley that we started counting down the number or turns it would take to reach the summit. That was until we gimpsed the distant view of the sand patch; at least another half hour walk.
I had convince Ross to keep walking when he had threatened to give up, and he cursed me for making him go on, but now we had come too far to go back. Finally we saw sandy steps climbing up through an embankment and walked out onto a smooth, bright expanse of pure sand over-looking the beautiful view of the valley and stretching far back to the blue sky. We collapsed onto the warm, fine sand and marvelled at the view and at the achievement. Ross and Fe played an amusing game of cricket, eager to make use of the set they had burdened up the hill, but when each hit of the ball saw it run down the dune far away from the catcher they gave up in exhaustion and we all stretched out on the sand and napped in the warmth.

After half an hour we had to leave to make sure we were back at camp in time for dusk and to cook dinner before nightfall.
The downhill journey was naturally faster than the uphill, even though our going was slower because of our tiredness, but the real challenge was facing the canoe home against the current and wind and after 4 and a half hours of strenuous exercise. The going back wasn't as tough as we had imagined, only in the wider parts of the river did the wind and current conspire to push us off course but as on each leg of each journey since the first day, our bodies were ready to give up 20 minutes before we reached the end. We saw Ross and Fe cheer as they rounded a corner ahead of us, and we paddled faster to reach the campsite, only to round the corner and see them still paddling, our hopes of arriving home soon dashed! Finally we made it and I stuck into cooking dinner ready for Megha and Rick's return in their boat.We had some pasta with chickpeas, mango slices for dessert, and coffee and biscuits before I retired to the warmth and comfort of my sleeping bag and book listening to the sounds and smells of the camp group's cooking and laughing late into the night.

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photo by: jbo