Because I wanted to arrive in Hobart before the 30th of January in order to ride some mountainbike trails with Mark before his departure to Japan, I decided to skip the two-day hike to Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy. After all, friendship is more important than seing landscapes. Consequently, my plan for today was to do the Cape Raoul hike (5h return) and then cycle back to Dunalley so that I could reach Hobart the next day.
Unfortunately, I lost nearly one hour in the morning to fix a recurrent issue that I have with my left pannier’s fixation system. With all the shocks on the gravel roads, I nearly lost twice one of the fixation point. This might also be due to a too heavy loading or an inadequate way of securing my backpack on the rack. (Since then, I have tried to balance my equipment even better between the panniers and I changed the way I strap the backpack on the rack and the problem seems solved for the moment.)
I was running a bit out of time, so it was time to awake the trail runner that is sleeping inside me. I took only 1 water bottle and two cereal bars and did nearly all of the walk running. I had a lot of fun on a very technical course, with steep uphills and downhills, switchbacks and many loose rocks.
Most of the walk happens along impressive cliffs, and to run on that part gave me an incredible feeling of freedom. I was impressed by how easy it was for me to run fast without being breathless, and how much power I had in the uphills! It looks like biking 4 to 6 hours a day is a good training for trail running too.
Approaching the cape, the landscape became even more dramatic: impressive dolerite pillars forms massive cliffs, constantly attacked by the strong waves of the dark blue ocean.
Finally I arrived at the cape itself: a razor-sharp ridge of dolerite pillars, so perfect in shape, defying the mighty ocean. As a casual rock climber, I looked at this beautiful wall with envy! Some Swiss climbers who I met at the campsite confirmed me that there were amazing climbing routes near the cape. At the foot of the cliffs, we could hear (and see in the distance) a seal colony.
In the distance, we can also see Mount Brown, Cape Pillar and Tasman Island from Cape Raoul.
At the cape I met a lovely couple of retired hikers from Hobart, later at the cape we had a nice chat and they offered me a plum and a piece of delicious banana cake. The streak of strange coïncidences continued: their son, Paul, has been living in Belgium for 2 years to play field hockey for the club where I played when I was a kid!
After running back to the campsite, I quickly had lunch then started biking my way back to Dunalley. After the running my legs were a bit tired and the way back seemed particularly long. The fact that I knew exactly what climbs to expect contributed to my feeling of fatigue.
At the top of the climb after Eaglehawk Neck, I felt like a convict who had succeeded to escape from his prison: the main difficulties of the day were behind me. Everything is not perfect however: I have this issue with my left pannier and I also noticed that I lost one of the four screws that tighten the chainrings to the crankset. Finally, I have some play in my bottom bracket. I hope that everything will be fine until my arrival in Hobart tomorrow evening ant that I will be able to fix these issues there. So far, I did everything I could, so it is pointless to worry about that now. After all, life is one day at a time…