I slept well on the second night of the Three Capes Track. I woke naturally at one in the morning, feeling refreshed, and went out for a little walk. Brush-tailed possums stared at me as I pottered about in their night-time territory. An incredibly bright star shone through the cloud layer. I wondered what it was, but it didn’t feel right to get out my phone and launch the star map, so I simply accepted its beauty and walked on.
Eventually I returned to bed, woke at dawn to light rain, and used the ingenious camp shower that I had noticed yesterday. I met Elizabeth in the kitchen and we brewed an Aeropress coffee, followed by fresh fried eggs over reconstituted Mexican beans.
One of the popular features of the third day of the Three Capes Track is that, because it is a there-and-back trip, you can store your pack in a dedicated hut and walk without it. I thought about it for a while, but in the end decided that I was perfectly happy with my pack, which was only a little over 20kg and had everything in it that I needed. I had carefully chosen its contents and I knew how to get to them instantly, so it seemed silly to try to strip it down any more. Just to show willing, I parked my sleeping bag and spare water bottle in the hut, and took everything else.
Day Three takes you out to on the narrow peninsular leading to Cape Pillar, tending to impenetrable Banksia bush on squishy mud. Reg and Tim, the locally famous bush-bashers who had spent several years breaking this trail, had found it very hard going. The ubiquitous boardwalk made it all rather easy for us.
The route is necessarily linear and windswept, and probably a bit miserable when the weather comes in, but today it was bright if overcast, and perfect for walking.
Once the path reached the Southern coastline of the Cape, it began to get rather spectacular, tending to dolomite columns and crumbling stacks.
Tasman Island hove into view, complete with lighthouse. There are harrowing stories about the difficulties of getting families and supplies up the sheer cliffs in the basket of a flying fox, before the light was automated.
Almost at the end of the path, there is a short side-climb up onto The Blade, with marvellous views all around.
And now, the final short stretch to the end of the Cape Pillar Track and the Southernmost point of the Three Capes Track. But just because we were walking through dense Banksia on the thin end of a crumbling rocky peninsula, didn’t mean that there weren’t any more flowers.
But all good things come to an end, and our path ended here, on the cliffs above Cape Pillar.
We ate lunch on one of the stacks overlooking the sea (rice and fish again, it seems to work well), and headed back the way we had come, re-climbing The Blade on the way back (because why not?)
Day 3 was to give us one last surprise. The gentle boardwalk that we remembered lolloping effortlessly down this morning, turned out to be a long, long slope back up to Hurricane Heath, inflexibly hard stretches of boardwalk punctuated by little steps. My hip began to complain loudly for the first time today, and I sneaked some extra pain killers about half way up.
Passing Munro cabin, where we had awoken that morning, we picked up our stuff from the luggage hut, and continued on our way to Retakunna cabin, where the amenities were every bit as delightful as at Surveyors and Munro.
It got a bit cold later on, but we lit the pellet fire to warm the kitchen, then sat and drank coffee laced with rum as the rain came in over the scrubby mountain gums outside.