Hiking through sand is a devilish thing. Your heels sink down with every step and soon your ankles are moaning from the extended and unrelenting angle of uphill motion. An hour feels like an eternity. An eternity of wondering if anyone ever thought to do this in snowshoes or skis. An eternity of appreciation for how hot white sand can become when it’s actually somewhat sheltered.
That’s the hike to the Hammerstone Sandblow.
These white dunes of sand are slowly, but steadily, encroaching on the fresh, emerald waters of Lake Wabby nearby. Although, once you reach the actual desert expanse, the hike in almost seems like solid ground. Here is where you really sink it. Luckily, the lake is within sight.
There is a steep ledge of sand to the left side as you approach the lake. It steadily loses its angle and becomes a gentle slope down to the water. Unfortunately, some can’t help themselves from racing down the steep slope and jumping into the crisp waters. Unfortunately, since sand can be notoriously unstable, as you probably would have learned along the journey in. Collapsing sand and the ease of tripping over yourself can mean a broken neck. Luckily, I never saw this, but I did hear some stories.
The water is dark, deep, and cold. The kind of cold that you can’t ease into–the only way is to go all-in. Fortunately, the heat in the air means you’ll dry quickly. Especially if you take to the dunes and the breeze that grazes the sands.
In certain places, the Hammerstone Sandblow feels like the edge of the earth. It rises high and blocks the view east to the Pacific Ocean, just beyond a narrow strip of woodland eucalyptus. It’s the kind of place that exemplifies the vision of an island of sand–that’s what Fraser Island is, after all.
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Then you look back, and realize that you’ve got another hour slog through sandy forest after you leave this lake that is gradually disappearing. Luckily, you’re still on Fraser Island, where there’s always more to see.