Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

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Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Tue 01 Jun, 2021 5:41 pm

Well, that sucks... Had this written and then lost it bc I'd been automatically logged out! :? D'oh!!

Some quick overall notes:

- The 4 days covered 55-60km. GPS said 60km but I accidentally left it on at the campsite one night and we also had to double-back a couple of times.
- Super easy trail to follow. No maps, compass etc required. Could do it in the dark, with a headlamp, no problem at all.
- They make the beach sections sound more dangerous than they are... at least with the tides we were dealing with. We hit Johanna Beach right on high-tide with a big swell, and there was loads of beach to walk on with an ankle-deep river crossing. Same with Milanesia. Also, in the event you found yourself trapped on any of the beach sections we saw, there were easy areas to climb to wait until the tide dropped again (not ideal, but good to know you're not going to drown!). Can't vouch for the beach sections prior to Aire River.
- A lot of mobile coverage (Amaysim/Optus), including campgrounds.
- Shelters, toilets and water tank/s at each camp area. Shelters seat probably 10-12 people, with more standing area for probably 3-4.
- Days 2 + 3 easily the most challenging (and regarded as most challenging of entire walk, I believe)

Gear:

- Undercling_Mike's quilt. I had mine made to -5 comfort. Love it. The last couple of times I've taken it out (Mt Erica/GOW), I haven't bothered with straps - just wear it like a doona. Comfortable.
- Using the Sawyer mini as a filter to fill bottles was enough for me to buy a Platypus Gravity 4L, which is currently being delivered. Will likely look into Sawyer squeeze for different trips. This hike with tank/tap water, gravity system makes a lot of sense. Sawyer mini was painful. Not easy to decide on a filter. Feeling now is that Sawyer squeeze will be my ultimate choice.
- Dan Durston X-mid 2p. I'm still not entirely in love with this shelter but I want to love it, so I'm willing to give it every chance. The footprint is pretty significant. Having sat in a Hubba Hubba recently, the extra space from more vertical walls at head and foot is noticeable. Had to set up on slightly uneven ground and it worked better than expected. Tied the guy ropes out on this trip (including to trees) and it did make it feel very strong. Wouldn't want to be in a rush, setting it up in the rain. Still takes me a bit of time to get it up.
- One Planet Goondie 2. My brother uses this. It's great in that it's a simple setup, but you wouldn't want to be trying to fit two people in it. Far more cramped than my tent. Feels pretty bomber though. We both use LW Exped pads - no chance of fitting into his; could possibly squeeze into mine. I do get jealous at the ease of setup, but then he is envious of my space!
- To be honest, we're seriously considering a Z-packs Triplex for the two of us.. Would save a combined 2.5-3kg probably, which is pretty outrageous. On the flip side, we like being comfortable and dry, so a single-wall is a big concern. Need to investigate more. Also looking for a potential 4-season that fits our LW pads (so needs to be a 3 person).
- Exped Synmat LW 3D 7 (2020) pads. Very comfortable, very spacious. Weigh about 950g. I started practising sleeping on my back and I think I'm adjusting so might be able to get a second lighter pad at some point and keep this one for colder temps. Rated to -12 or so. Really think Exped make the best and most comfortable pads and I tried many before buying.
- Granite Gear Blaze 60 - love this pack. The light weight, large side pockets, plenty of straps for attachments. I think one of the biggest things (and probably very common now) is the removable lid - never thought it would be so convenient/useful. In saying all of that, I'm sure I'd love any well-designed pack - Osprey, Gregory etc. Do like having something a little less common. Unfortunately, something ate through my waist-belt pockets, damaging the material and ruining the zip.
- Fizan trekking poles (from Drop). Good, but one of them is starting to slip on the bottom section (ie, pole is shortening while walking). Haven't used them all that much (I use them as little as possible) so a bit disappointing.


Day 1 : Aire River to Johanna Beach (approx 14km)

- We were able to use daypacks today as folks tagged along with their caravan and met us at Johanna Beach. Made for a very easy hike.
- High tide and large swell, still easy to cross Johanna River and heaps of beach to walk on at Johanna Beach - no drama at all, despite warnings .. easy to find higher ground if you were to get stuck. We were concerned about it before we started and had a back-up plan to get picked up at Castle Cove lookout if we'd had to turn back. Just before we set off we saw a ranger and asked about and she said JB would be fine. She was right.
- The hike-in camp area not the easiest to find, but you will find it. If you weren't to find it, there are plenty of other areas to camp, at least at this time of year. It's on the GOW so you have to pass it sooner or later! For camp area, walk from beach exit out along gravel/unpaved road to day visitor area (probably 3-5 mins, past car-camping area, paddock). At the day visitor area head to trail leading to lookout (this is beach side of where cars park - if you went other direction, you'd be leaving the park). Almost immediately from beginning of that trail, turn right into grassy area where there will be a sign saying something like 'Johanna Beach camp ground - 400m'. 50m along this trail stick to right at fork (left runs into trees almost immediately so is a dead end anyway), follow the track for 7-10 mins .. runs into a T-intersection with sign to camp area (turn left), and arrows to Ryan’s Den (right) .. turn left at sign and walk 100m or so to camp area (past toilet). See photos below.
- 3 sites overlooking water (6,7,8) - apparently these are uneven but offer best views. 3 sites down below/slightly inland (3,4,5) - a narrow dirt track to these sites that begins kinda behind site 2 .. we stayed at 2 - largest and quite flat. Sites 1 + 2 are on the left, after the toilet, before the shelter.
- Shelter, toilet and water at camp area
- Fairly easy walk all told - took us about 3 hours (day packs). Think suggested time was 5 hours.
- More mobile coverage than expected

Day 2 : Johanna to Ryan’s Den (approx 14km)

- lots of 4WD track and paved/unpaved road for roughly the first half of day, back into bush second half.. didn’t mind the road/4WD - still felt like an adventure. Lots of ups and downs for the most part, quite a bit of climbing for the last couple of kms
- Same warnings for Milanesia Beach re tide, same easy river crossings and beach walk despite arriving at high tide and with large swell. In saying that, we had to take the first exit (which is the main exit - can’t miss it). We did walk past it to see if there was another exit and we could see one in the distance that we couldn’t reach bc of tide ... good result bc the track looked terrible when we saw where it joined up. Wouldn’t think it would have made for a fun walk. Definitely take the first/main exit.
- Much harder walk today - especially the last couple of kms
- Can’t miss the campground .. a couple of kms before campground there is a sign out to Great Ocean Road (1km away) if you have to bail for some reason. Can also leave a car here apparently - someone we spoke to did.
- Phone mostly on flight mode, but strong coverage at camp area, esp the lookout, shelter areas and the loo for those inclined!
- Sites more spread out than previous night
- Took us about 4hrs (not including the 20mins walking past the main exit of Milanesia). Think suggested time was 5.5hrs.

Day 3: Ryan's Den to Devil's Kitchen (approx 13km)

- Rain when woke up. First time I've had the X-mid in the rain. Dry inside. If we weren't such slow movers in the morning, we'd have gotten up and out before it rained (forecast on BOM was accurate (showers for a short time from 7am)) .. The other pair of hikers were up and out in the dry before we got up. We tended to take off about 11-11.45 each morning.
- Animal chewed through waist-belt pocket at some point after we'd set up camp the night before, where I'd accidentally left snack food. Damaged material, ruined zip. Fairly new Granite Gear Blaze 60 so a bit of a bummer. At least they sell the waist-belt as a separate item if I can't get it repaired. Any suggestions for a repairer?
- Took us almost 5hrs but big diversion on Wreck Beach (45mins+) bc of tide coming in and small diversion to Gable Lookout (10-15mins). Would have been 4hrs direct. Suggested 5.5hrs I think. Wreck Beach was a howler of a decision as it turned out, but we did get to see the anchors so wasn't a total waste of time. Lots and lots of steps down and lots and lots of steps back up when we had to turn around! The other pair walking to our schedule (day-to-day schedule) left much earlier in the day and took the beach route - they said the water was right up even then. Inland track was nice too.
- First 2hrs up and down a fair bit tougher - muddy and slippery. Easy going through the middle section, dragged on a bit at end.
- Shelter, water, toilet at campground .. Mobile coverage at toilet and lookout, from memory.

Day 4: Devil's Kitchen to 12 Apostles (approx 16km)

- Easier going again today. Took about 4hrs, but we jogged a fair bit of last 2km or so. Stopped at Princetown for a coffee with the folks who had camped at the reserve with their caravan the previous night. We carried our packs to the end though.
- Stopped for a time just before Gellibrand River to watch a surfer being towed in on the large surf. Faces of waves must have been 3.5-4m - maybe more. Pretty cool.
- Walked past a snake maybe 3kms from end. Could only see tail. Looked like a tiger to my untrained eye, but apparently it's almost impossible to ID a snake from its scales so could easily have been a python I guess. Saw another snake at 12 Apostles lookout - it was a white-lipped snake (ID'd by expert).
- Took us about 1.5hrs from Princetown to 12 Apostles but that was with the little bit of jogging.
- Weary by the end. Sore feet. Knees started playing up after jogging with full packs - that was a dumb idea.

Overall, a nice hike. Well established and good facilities. Some great coastal views and enough climbing to make it a bit of a workout.
Last edited by FNM on Wed 02 Jun, 2021 11:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 01 Jun, 2021 7:57 pm

Nice report FNM, Thanks.
Sounds like a nice walk. I will have to check it out one day, walking along the beach would be fun.

Regarding photos, I just open the jpgs in paint, and downsize them to 25% and they're under 1mb and I can upload them.
I have a Sawyer mini, but have been using a Katadyn BeFree lately and it's much quicker to filter water with.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 1:20 pm

Baeng72 wrote:Nice report FNM, Thanks.
Sounds like a nice walk. I will have to check it out one day, walking along the beach would be fun.

Regarding photos, I just open the jpgs in paint, and downsize them to 25% and they're under 1mb and I can upload them.
I have a Sawyer mini, but have been using a Katadyn BeFree lately and it's much quicker to filter water with.


Thanks Baeng. It was a nice walk. Running a Mac but I can resize the image sizes in Preview - was more a question of effort :D I'll see how it goes. I had a read of one of your trip reports last night and will suss out the videos soon - enjoyable read. My Platy order fell through, so have the option to go the Sawyer Squeeze now.. Going to have a lil think on that one.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 1:34 pm

This first photo is the point where you are beach side of the cars at the day visitor area - Johanna Beach (having walked several minutes on the unpaved road from where you exited beach). Main trail (left side) leads to lookout. My brother is about to start walking to campground (right trail)- sign says 400m to campground. Takes 7-10 mins. Then you hit the T-intersection (there is a sign here) where you need to turn left for the campsites.

Second photo is looking back from where we're standing in first photo, the unpaved road extends a couple of hundred metres beyond what can be seen in the photo.

Hope that makes it a little easier.
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turn to JB campground trail.jpg
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road from beach to camp trail.jpg
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Last edited by FNM on Thu 03 Jun, 2021 11:48 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 1:52 pm

A few more photos, but don't want to overdo it..

- The Dan Durston X-mid 2p and One Planet Goondie 2. Site 2, Johanna Beach hike-in campground.
- The camp shelters -same size/design at each campground we stayed
- The view from sites 6,7,8/shelter at Johanna Beach campground
- Johanna Beach river crossing - high tide/large swell
- Milanesia Beach - high tide/sizeable swell
- GOW plaque (about 2kms from end of walk)
- Damaged waist-belt pocket; easy to forget the snack food in those pockets!
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Tents.jpg
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Shelter.jpg
Shelter.jpg (160.83 KiB) Viewed 3661 times
Sites 6,7,8,shelter view.jpg
Sites 6,7,8,shelter view.jpg (120.17 KiB) Viewed 3661 times
JB River Crossing.jpg
JB River Crossing.jpg (105.41 KiB) Viewed 3661 times
Milanesia Beach.jpg
Milanesia Beach.jpg (124.54 KiB) Viewed 3661 times
Pano GOW plaque.jpg
Tents night.jpg
Tents night.jpg (110.44 KiB) Viewed 3661 times
Damaged waist pocket.jpg
Last edited by FNM on Wed 02 Jun, 2021 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby indented » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 3:22 pm

Nice report and pictures FNM, keen to give my X-Mid a proper run when this lockdown eventually eases up.

On the water, I went from a Sawyer mini to the regular squeeze and there is a massive difference. I timed the two when I first got it and when squeezing the regular flowed about 4 times faster. I've found the regular will gravity filter about 1L per minute at camp which was fine for me. With the mini I would just hang it up and come back in a while to see if it was done. The other great part is the regular has threads both ends, so I can use a coupler to attach directly to a bottle or bladder and not worry about it missing the clean container.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby Eremophila » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 3:26 pm

Yes thanks for the report and pics FNM.

Most likely a tiger snake, they are plentiful along there.

I've only done from Milanesia to 12 Apostles so keen to do the rest of the walk at some stage. This work thing gets in the way....

Actually the shuttle driver dropped me a couple of k's before the gate at Milanesia, so I had the pleasure of viewing the water station provided by property owners along the road there. It was a nice touch.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 4:19 pm

indented wrote:Nice report and pictures FNM, keen to give my X-Mid a proper run when this lockdown eventually eases up.

On the water, I went from a Sawyer mini to the regular squeeze and there is a massive difference. I timed the two when I first got it and when squeezing the regular flowed about 4 times faster. I've found the regular will gravity filter about 1L per minute at camp which was fine for me. With the mini I would just hang it up and come back in a while to see if it was done. The other great part is the regular has threads both ends, so I can use a coupler to attach directly to a bottle or bladder and not worry about it missing the clean container.


Thanks indented. As my Platy order fell through, I do have the option of the Sawyer Squeeze now. I don't know heaps about it. From what I've read, a good option is to buy the Cnoc bladders as they can open at the bottom for easy fill (or the Evernew for more durable bladders, but still the same issue of narrow opening). How do you setup the gravity flow? Is it much the same as the Platy, where you hang the dirty bladder above and just let it run? Does it require buying a hose to run from dirty bladder to clean bladder/bottle? (Ah, is this what you mean by the coupler to attach it? Otherwise, you're just lining it up to drip into the clean bladder from a distance?) ... 1L/min sounds pretty similar to the Platy specs, tbh. Do you think the Platy offers any convenience over the Squeeze? I'm not sure the Mini was working properly for us - took a lot of squeezing to get it to "flow", plus it was leaking a bit. Can't imagine it would have worked without the pressure being applied at all.
Last edited by FNM on Wed 02 Jun, 2021 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 4:24 pm

Eremophila wrote:Yes thanks for the report and pics FNM.

Most likely a tiger snake, they are plentiful along there.

I've only done from Milanesia to 12 Apostles so keen to do the rest of the walk at some stage. This work thing gets in the way....

Actually the shuttle driver dropped me a couple of k's before the gate at Milanesia, so I had the pleasure of viewing the water station provided by property owners along the road there. It was a nice touch.


Thanks Eremophila... Is this the water station to which you're referring? Was pretty cool.
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Water station skipper GOW.jpg
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby Eremophila » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 9:20 pm

Yes it is! Trail angels.

Re water tanks on this walk... I only used Micropur, most people didn’t use any treatment.

And a couple of the loos have wonderful views. Unfortunately a group who arrived at Devil’s Kitchen, didn’t appreciate the need to bolt the door from outside after you’re done. I made several trips through the night to do this as the door was banging in the wind. :x
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Wed 02 Jun, 2021 10:05 pm

Eremophila wrote:Yes it is! Trail angels.

Re water tanks on this walk... I only used Micropur, most people didn’t use any treatment.

And a couple of the loos have wonderful views. Unfortunately a group who arrived at Devil’s Kitchen, didn’t appreciate the need to bolt the door from outside after you’re done. I made several trips through the night to do this as the door was banging in the wind. :x


Ah, yes, the piece of wood was still chained there to prevent the door banging. Was a great view from the loos. Have some photos, but like to leave surprises for people (obviously there would be loads of photos of it floating around the web though). Interesting re water treatment - I generally play it safe but sometimes think I should worry less about it!
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby indented » Thu 03 Jun, 2021 8:00 am

FNM wrote:Thanks indented. As my Platy order fell through, I do have the option of the Sawyer Squeeze now. I don't know heaps about it. From what I've read, a good option is to buy the Cnoc bladders as they can open at the bottom for easy fill (or the Evernew for more durable bladders, but still the same issue of narrow opening). How do you setup the gravity flow? Is it much the same as the Platy, where you hang the dirty bladder above and just let it run? Does it require buying a hose to run from dirty bladder to clean bladder/bottle? (Ah, is this what you mean by the coupler to attach it? Otherwise, you're just lining it up to drip into the clean bladder from a distance?) ... 1L/min sounds pretty similar to the Platy specs, tbh. Do you think the Platy offers any convenience over the Squeeze? I'm not sure the Mini was working properly for us - took a lot of squeezing to get it to "flow", plus it was leaking a bit. Can't imagine it would have worked without the pressure being applied at all.


I'm not familiar with the platy so can't really compare them.

I use one of the cnoc bladders full of dirty water, the large opening makes them extremely easy to fill compared to the sawyer bladders that it comes with. I've had mine for a few years now and had no issues with durability. I bought my squeeze in a kit that came with a couple of extra bladders, parts to put inline on a hydration bladder and a cleaning coupler. The coupler is basically a joiner that allows you to attach something else with the same thread (bladder/bottle) to the clean water end of the filter. You're correct in that this means you don't have to aim the stream of clean water into your clean receptacle. As it's designed to be a cleaning device, it's very useful to backflush the filter if the flow does start to slow down, much easier than the syringe. Once you've got some clean water in your bladder you just take off the dirty one and squeeze hard to push the clean water back through.

I found the mini had to be backflushed quite frequently, probably every 5-10 litres filtered. The Squeeze has been fine filtering for 3-4 people over three days without needing a flush.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Thu 03 Jun, 2021 11:54 am

indented wrote:
FNM wrote:Thanks indented. As my Platy order fell through, I do have the option of the Sawyer Squeeze now. I don't know heaps about it. From what I've read, a good option is to buy the Cnoc bladders as they can open at the bottom for easy fill (or the Evernew for more durable bladders, but still the same issue of narrow opening). How do you setup the gravity flow? Is it much the same as the Platy, where you hang the dirty bladder above and just let it run? Does it require buying a hose to run from dirty bladder to clean bladder/bottle? (Ah, is this what you mean by the coupler to attach it? Otherwise, you're just lining it up to drip into the clean bladder from a distance?) ... 1L/min sounds pretty similar to the Platy specs, tbh. Do you think the Platy offers any convenience over the Squeeze? I'm not sure the Mini was working properly for us - took a lot of squeezing to get it to "flow", plus it was leaking a bit. Can't imagine it would have worked without the pressure being applied at all.


I'm not familiar with the platy so can't really compare them.

I use one of the cnoc bladders full of dirty water, the large opening makes them extremely easy to fill compared to the sawyer bladders that it comes with. I've had mine for a few years now and had no issues with durability. I bought my squeeze in a kit that came with a couple of extra bladders, parts to put inline on a hydration bladder and a cleaning coupler. The coupler is basically a joiner that allows you to attach something else with the same thread (bladder/bottle) to the clean water end of the filter. You're correct in that this means you don't have to aim the stream of clean water into your clean receptacle. As it's designed to be a cleaning device, it's very useful to backflush the filter if the flow does start to slow down, much easier than the syringe. Once you've got some clean water in your bladder you just take off the dirty one and squeeze hard to push the clean water back through.

I found the mini had to be backflushed quite frequently, probably every 5-10 litres filtered. The Squeeze has been fine filtering for 3-4 people over three days without needing a flush.


Thanks for painting a clear picture. In my search, I've discovered a new product to the market - Platypus Quickdraw. Seems very similar to the Sawyer squeeze. Doesn't have the threaded attachment point on clean end, but filter is cleaned from dirty end by shaking clean water in and out for about 30 seconds. I might give it a whirl to try something different.
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby ggorgeman » Thu 03 Jun, 2021 2:53 pm

Thanks for going to the effort to post the report..... interesting and I found the insights into gear etc. very helpful. Cheers
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby BakerSailor » Fri 04 Jun, 2021 2:16 pm

Hey mate,

Great to meet you and your bro on the hike :)

Hopefully we can hit the trail again sometime soon!

Here is the Relive vid from our walk: https://www.relive.cc/view/vmqX2y5YZLO

Cheers,
Simon
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Re: Great Ocean Walk - Aire River to 12 Apostles 18/5-21/5

Postby FNM » Fri 04 Jun, 2021 4:02 pm

BakerSailor wrote:Hey mate,

Great to meet you and your bro on the hike :)

Hopefully we can hit the trail again sometime soon!

Here is the Relive vid from our walk: https://www.relive.cc/view/vmqX2y5YZLO

Cheers,
Simon


Haha!! I was wondering if I might see you here! Welcome :D

For everyone else, Simon and his Dad were the other pair of hikers we met (legends) ... the pair who actually got up early (avoided the rain) and made the most of the days! We'd sleep in, be slow to pack up and end up rolling into camp not long before sunset!

Will be great to hit the trail together again.

Awesome vid! Haven't seen that app before. For some reason, It didn't want to play ball with my M1 Mac (crashed) but it only hesitated once using iOS. Going to look into it.
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