Snuva’s Southern Success


Last May, after my female slave returned from grabbing some caches for me overseas, we made a trip to the far south to do some new caches Malbena had set. We were successful until we spent overly long looking for ‘The End of the Road’, so had to skip the attempt on ‘A Hole for Ducks’. I’ve been nagging and nagging the humans to get me back here, so when the HandsomeMan mentioned that he was going south with his caving people, guess what I insisted on doing??? It all started early on a Sunday morning – EARLY!! The slaves awoke at 6am to pack my lunch, press my collar, etc. On our way south we picked up 3 more cave humans, and I expressed my enthusiasm for them joining the expedition with my lovely singing. A brief stop was made in Huonville so I could be admired by a few others, then we continued south, and south until we were at the parking area for the trails to Mystery Cave, etc.

The caving humans gathered their gear, suited up, and eventually were off; I did my best to gather all the buzzies in the forest onto my fur. When it was just the female slave and I, it was time to get down to the real business of the day!

We headed north to the parking area for the track that leads to the cache, and it was pelting down with rain. I think the female slave was hesitating, however I expressed to her (through song) how committed I was to doing this track! Needless to say she did my bidding and we were soon off. Once we were on our way the rain wasn’t much of an issue. As we were under the canopy of trees we just had large splats of water to deal with rather than constant rainfalls, so I nimbly avoided these – and the female slave caught them on the head (hilarious!). The track itself was not a problem at all in the wet; a small portion is well packed gravel, however the majority of it is duckboards. I just had to watch out a few times as the gap between boards was paw-sized on occasion (ouch!).

We arrived at our destination, and I soon found A Hole for Ducks and was finally able to log this one! The clouds broke briefly while we were there and we considered continuing on past the hole for ducks, however a look at the other clouds that were queuing up to attack us helped us decided to head back to the cacheMobile. It rained the whole way back, however while eating lunch (cheese!) the clouds broke up and we were suddenly confronted by a sunny day! Imagine that! What to do?! We decided to do the walk again! The forest was beautiful the first time, however it was even more stunning with the shafts of light highlighting the rich greens of the vegetation and the rich burgundy of the tannin-coloured stream.
Tannin coloured streamFrothy stream
However, this also meant we noticed the river a lot more. The HandsomeMan was in a cave that apparently just before the end has a stream going through; if the stream was too high, his group would have to turn around and do the whole cave again to come out the entrance. Gulp!!!

After finishing the track a second time it was still a lovely sunny day, so we decided to head for a track along the coast. As we were passing the parking area for the cave we stopped in to check that the cave people weren’t waiting for us for any reason. They weren’t at the parking area, however when we checked the log book Ken had come back?! He had signed himself back out again 20 minutes before our arrival, however as we didn’t know what would make him leave the team we decided to wait for him. This also gave me a chance to collect more buzzies.

At around 4pm Ken arrived. The wine and late bedtime he’d had the night before (and early morning start from Hobart) had caught up with him, however he was feeling much better after lunch, fresh air, and some exploring around the bush. So we headed off towards Hastings Cave to score a warm beverage. After this we took a drive down to Cockle Creek and found out that I’m not allowed! Can you imagine!

Now the cave the HandsomeMan and his friends were doing is a 2 hour bush walk to the entrance, 5 or more hours in the cave, and then a good 2 hour bush walk back to the car park. The earliest we could expect them back from the cave was 7.30pm. We were back in the parking area at around 6.30pm, and then Ken took us on a walk to a quarry, then we zigzagged up above the quarry. This is the easy part of the track the cavers would be taking on their way out. No sign of them yet, so we returned to the cacheMobile and waited. At around 8.30pm Ken decided to walk down the track as far as where it turns a bend, and at 8.38 we heard the whole party returning: 3 mud creatures and 1 clean, dry Ken. The cave had taken them 7 hours (when went in at noon and were out at 7), and they had gone through water above their waists. It would have been over my head a few times over! The mud creatures changed and everyone swapped stories, then we got back into the cacheMobile. One of the mud creatures completed the trip report, we dropped it and the key to the cave off at Hastings, and then the return journey!

Now, I should just mention that one of the mud creatures had looked familiar, and a few clues during our trip home helped me finally figure out who he is! It was strange that as we made our way back to Hobart, many houses in the middle of nowhere (such as Lune River or, gasp, Franklin) had some fairly elaborate Christmas decorations. So there was a bit of singing of the Christmas variety in the back of the cacheMobile. But not so much when some Christmas lights (of the Cheesy Pig-colleague variety) chased us in a request to see me. Some excuse was made about one of the headlamps being out (really, the lengths some people would go to just so they could say they met me! I mean really – it was a caving trip – we had TONNES of head lamps!), but we were soon on our merrily way again. When we reached civilisation, first we dropped the female cave-mud creature off (she has a kind face so I know she’ll give me food one day!), then it was time for the next one. And as he pulled his bag of gear on his back and headed off in the soft glow of lights, humming a Christmas tune no doubt, I realised why he was so familiar – Santa! The big sack, the funny hat, and the pack full of mud and caving gear that some mistake for a large tummy! I hope he realised how GOOD I am and gives me tonnes of great pressies!!

Last to be dropped off was Ken, and I had been looking forward to telling his dog about all our adventures (and how silly the mud creatures looked when they arrived back at the van), but alas he was already getting his sleep.

We arrived home sometime after 11.30pm, the female slave gave me some chicken, and off I went to sleep to dream of ducks and Santa. . .

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