I didn't realise that it would be this hard! It all looks so easy on the map - just follow this ridge line to here, and then follow this one to this point, and then we'll walk down into the canyon and follow the creek. We'd even entered in 3 waypoints into the gps toy, so that we would have something to aim for. Satellite reception was good - it was the bushbashing through, well, the bush that hurt.
It took nearly 8 hours return journey, and we only made it to the second waypoint (i.e. the second ridgeline). We didn't get anywhere near the third waypoint, or the creek that we were aiming for. After the second, we clambered around the cliffline hunting for caves. The rock was really exposed, rotton and soft. Kind of strataed in the wrong direction, and it wasn't at all what we were hunting for.
Gave up on the hike then, and started heading back. It's amazing how disorientated you get when i starts to get dark, and your vision 'switches' to black and white. Every bush and tree starts to look the same, and they're all so darn spiky! I was glad of my super tough 'quagmire goretex gaiters', but i wish i had the equivalent for my arms.At least I had fleece gloves to protectect the hands, but ow!
Once it got properly dark, it was all relying on the leader picking up the faint trail through the brush, and backed up by the 'breadbrubs' laid down by the gps. It was one of those paths that when you were on it - you weren't sure if you were on it, but you definitely knew when you had come off it, because of the amount of undergrowth.
*Finally* got back to the bikes, and then began to pick our way back slowly along the dirt trail. I have ridden at night before without much light - but normally along the street where you have streetlights or car lights to help you out. Worst case for me so far had been riding through centennial park in the dark. But this? You could barely see where you were going, and the throw of the headtorches that we had wasn't really adequate. Luckily it was a fairly flat, well graded track, although I nearly did come a cropper by running into a downed tree whilst daydreaming about tinned sardines for tea.