February 20th 1984

posted in: The way back | 0

We left this morning for Poring Hot Springs, + I’m mildly ashamed (tho’ not at all repentant) to confess we pulled a fast one on the Park authorities.  We’d only booked for one night when we’d seen the HQ in KK, so we still had to pay for 3 nights, plus rental of sleeping bags, blankets, etc.  We decided, rather than either honestly pay up  or adopt as swift a bunk as we could manage, to adopt a middle course: Val would take the crockery we had borrowed back, + see what they had to say.  If challenged, she could always claim she thought I’d already paid.  As it turned out, they didn’t cotton, and we didn’t pay, giving us a spurious justification.

Hitched to Ranau, but the car that picked us up turned out to be a share taxi – it’s difficult to tell when one gets in whether it’s one of those or just a private car.  But it only cost $5, so no complaints.  We were offered a taxi ride out to the Springs for $40 – naturally we declined, + began to walk.  It was 14 miles, + if necessary we would walk the lot, but happily we were given a ride most of the way, leaving us about four and a half miles short, a more manageable distance.

First of all, we had to cross a small river flowing across the road.  It wasn’t deep – ordinary cars can ford it quite easily – but it still meant getting my boots wet – Val took hers off.  It was only when we got to the other side that we saw, just a few yards upstream, a rope bridge – it had been pretty well-concealed form the other side.  Either that, or we were plain stupid.  The walk was really quite pleasant, even tho’ there were some pretty killing uphill stretches, + we were carrying our full packs.  We’ve lightened them up quite a bit recently, particularly since I persuaded Val we should send home our stove – we haven’t really needed to use it since PNG – + that has meant being able to cut out carrying dried foods, tea, coffee, etc.  We carried a lot of food up to Poring actually, but that strictly on a short-term basis, + fairly unusual now actually, where the opportunities to cook for ourselves are very limited.

We were pleased to arrive at the Park, + impressed with what we saw – it was laid out attractively, everything was green, clean + tidy, + the accommodation was excellent – a brand new hostel.  We were also delighted to discover that, together with Joan, we were the only visitors.  Val + I went straightaway to the hot springs themselves.  They were laid out in a series of open-air bathtubs of various sizes, from individual ones to those big enough to take quite a few people, + each had both hot + cold taps, just like an ordinary bath back home, except that these come direct from the hillside.  It meant one could choose how hot one wanted one’s bath – the hot water was certainly too fierce to take undiluted.  We lay + wallowed – Joan joined us after a time – but best of all was when the rain came down.  Up to ur necks in gently steaming water, yet with our brows cooled by the rain lashing down – good for getting the aches out of our muscles.  There is no electricity in the park – all the fittings are there, but they claim something is wrong with the generator.  (Actually, we think the thing wrong with it is that they don’t want to waste fuel by providing it for 3 visitors.)  But they provided a pressure lamp, which was better really, more atmospheric, until it went out for some reason – those lamps are another thing I don’t understand but should.  So we resorted to candles for a time to read by.

Successful in various ways: cheaper to stay than we had expected, courtesy of our low cunning; reasonablr success with transport, both by taxi and hitching; a pleasant place to stay.

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