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Day 172 A Day of Two Halves

30 March 2021 The side of North Mavora Lake to the side of Mavora River Start 8.45am Finish 6.05pm Distance 28km Total 2758km Steps 44894 Ascent 214m Descent 345m The day began with blue skies, not a breath of air and incredible scenery. North Mavora Lake was calm and fish feasting on the surface insects left tiny circles of ripples spreading across the lake.

South Mavora Lake
South Mavora Lake

The walk along the lake edge was serene and the river running between the two lakes was gin clear and beautiful. The track was wide and gentle through mossy beech forest. South Mavora Lake was equally stunning and provided some excellent reflections of the hills and bush. The edges and reflections reminded me of Tarn Lake in the Richmond Ranges and brought back lovely memories of that part of the trail. I vowed to come back here with Dave and spend time fishing, kayaking and exploring more of the area.

The next section of the track, south of the Lake followed the Mavora River, initially as a wide, smooth but fast flowing river, before showing its true natural power as strong rapids that I wouldn't consider crossing. The track continued to meander through lush green beech trees. The ferocity of the river was relevant because I was going to have to make a decision early afternoon whether to cross at a swing bridge and follow a less well traveled track on the true left of the river, or continue on the river right but ford it about 3km down.

South Mavora Lake

I crossed the swing bridge. Two reasons: I didn't see how the river could reduce in volume down stream and I wasn't into taking unnecessary risks, and I wanted to keep my feet dry. I stopped for lunch at the swing bridge, enjoyed an hour of sitting in the autumn sun, and oblivious of what was to come, set off with a big smile on my face. I was now out of the bush traveling along rocky, tussocky (new word), prickly hawthorn covered terrain with no discernible track. Not a problem I thought - can't get lost between a river and a road, and soon enough it will join up with the track that crosses the river and then it will a clear route again. The 3km took me well over an hour. I drew blood from trying to find my way through the hawthorn, and then to add insult to injury as I was rock jumping along the edge of the river as there was no alternative through the scrub, I slipped into the water, mid thigh deep. The worst part of it was that the river had become this hideous brown slime covered environmental disaster. I have since discovered it is clogged with didymo. There wasn't a single rock that wasn't covered in the putrid stuff.

The damage didymo does to our rivers

At the crossing point it was evident it would have been easily foldable, subject to not slipping into it on the slime. After that the track was no clearer and progress was incredibly slow. I eventually decided to call it a day, climbed to a small ridge above the river and pitched my tent next to a row of my least favourite trees - pines. All in all my disappointment at the environmental damage of this section of the Mavora River is total. The photo of the view with my tent may look impressive from a distance, but up close it is just very sad. My least favourite part of the whole trail so far.

View of the rain coming from my campsite
Campsite night 172


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