Sometimes you just have to go into the wilderness alone. This is a story about my day getting lost in the untouched rainforests of Western Tasmania.
After waking to the sounds of the native birds and way past check out time, I emerged from my tent nestled in the rainforest in the sweet little historic town of Corinna, Tasmania.
That day my traveling companion, Betsy, and I decided to go on solo adventures. We had been road tripping Tasmania together for about 7 days at that point and felt we both would enjoy some solo time exploring the area. While she decided to go on a hike, my spirit was pulling me to spend time on the water and I had to obey it. I decided to rent out a kayak and explore the Pieman River. As I pushed off the shore line in my red kayak, I immediately felt at peace. I’d always dreamed of a living in a cabin on a fresh body of water with a kayak to use in the early mornings and this was one of the closest feelings I’ve had to that thus far.
I watched as my yellow oar cut through the still, mirror-like water just like a knife through warm butter. As I paddled up the river, I could hear sounds coming from the barge ferry behind me, but as I turned the next bend, the noise began to fade. I found the silence I so urned to hear. The river to myself.
According to the front desk staff at the lodge, it would take about an hour to get to Lover’s Falls, a destination they highly recommended. They told me to look out for Savage River and the shipwreck that inhabited it’s narrow channel. I passed the entrance to the river in search of the wooden stairs they said would lead me to the falls, but after about 200m, they were nowhere in site and I decided to turn back and head down the Savage River. As I approached the mouth of the river, my heart started beating fast and I began to feel very anxious. I have a pretty unique fear that I know sounds ridiculous, but it’s real and I am really unsure how it started, but I know I’ve had it since childhood. It’s called submechanophobia. It is when someone is afraid of man-made objects submerged underwater which include shipwrecks, chains, and ropes. Sometimes submerged trees give me the hebegebees too. Crazy, ey? Ya, I know.
The gals at the lodge told me that since it was low tide, I would be able to see the mast of the sunken ship above the water. I had no idea where exactly it was located in the river, so as I paddled down the river, I tried to avoid looking down into the water beneath me in case I would come across its ghostly figure under my boat. (My heart still gets going even when I think about it now!). I started talking to God to distract my mind from thinking about what was to come. As I rounded the bend, there she was: Miss S.S. Crayton. I could see a good part of the ship out of the water and didn’t dare get any closer. Luckily, there was a small dock on the ride of the river just before the wreck where I could tie my kayak up to and do some hiking in the adjacent forest. There were a few wooden steps leading up from the dock and I pondered if they led to the falls I was searching for.
I approached a trail sign at the top of the stairs and carefully analyzed it, trying to figure out which direction to go. Feeling a bit unconfident with my sense of direction, I decided to take a bit of a risk and go left. The trail was almost non-existent and I found myself entrusting neon pink plastic ribbons tied around random branches as my guide. I had to crawl under and over trees, step in mounds of thick, sludgy mud and even maneuver slippery slopes with leads of rope provided on the hills to help keep my balance. My adrenaline began to pump again-I was by myself, no one knowing where I was. I felt vulnerable because I wasn’t confident in where I was going, yet completely free and excited about the idea of exploring this unknown path through the rainforest filled with obstacles to conquer. I kept hearing voices in my head from my mom and friends telling me that I “should never hike alone” and “don’t do anything stupid.” I was on such a discovery high that even the thought of an Aboriginal man abducting me and having me as his wife to live with him in the rainforest didn’t sound like such a bad idea.
About 45 minutes into the hike, I crossed over a creek via a fallen mossy tree and spotted another trail sign. I immediately noticed the “You Are Here” sticker and realized I was very far off from where the falls were and I was totally okay with it. Getting lost on this unknown path was the better decision by far. It’s all about the journey not the destination, right? I decided to turn around and head back along the same trail. At this point, I felt bold. While making my way back to my kayak, I spent a bit of time admiring and conversing with the yellow tailed cockatoos which made sounds similar to that of a T-Rex which fit in perfectly with the vision in my mind.
After coming out of the forest, I untied my kayak and paddled back to Corinna. I loved the feeling of being solo and conquering all those different obstacles throughout my journey. I felt feelings of peace, contentment, vulnerability, fear, adrenaline and most importantly, elated happiness knowing that I had made it out alive and overcame all of the emotional and physical challenges along the way.