A big day ahead of us but we were upbeat as the weather was a bit brighter and we’d be so close to getting out by the end of the day. We were just wishing for a safe easy track for a change.
We were now in red hills country and a completely different landscape than previously. Very rocky and barren. We started with a bit more boulder hopping. It was ok but slow as all came in all shapes and sizes and some were wobbly. They had a gritty grip which was handy.
The rocks were red both naturally and also from red moss but inside they were quite sparkly blues and greens.
We finally saw a couple of the goats that are abundant.
We made good time to porters creek hut for lunch.
The afternoon was very tough going following the river. There were very steep climbs and descents at each contributing stream. It was like climbing and descending Paritutu every hour or so.
We could hear thunder in neighbouring valleys which sounded ominous as it echoed continuously. We were preparing for the heavy rain all day but there was only a little on and off.
There were large grass lands near the hut and they were sodden. We were literally wading through a swamp the last km or so to get to hut. The thunderstorm must have been there judging by the amount of water and comments from day trippers in hut book.
It was a very long 9.5 hour day. But we’re very excited to be finishing tomorrow and have a couple of well deserved rest days.
After finishing in the toilet and standing up I heard a clunk. I quickly felt for my phone in its usual shorts pocket and my heart sank when it wasn’t there. I was standing there contemplating what was the best option in this bad situation: hand into the long drop to retrieve it, or manage without a phone until having the opportunity to buy a new one and the cost of that. Then I suddenly realised I still had my rain coat on and I keep the phone in the waterproof pocket when it’s raining. Pheww. Crisis averted.
Also the toilet paper crisis is now officially over as there were the remains of a roll in loo here.
Just as we were finishing our dinner and thinking about getting into bed (prob around 6pm) we had a new hut mate turn up. Very exciting!! It was surprising as we didn’t think anyone else would have been behind us through the Richmonds on account of the bad weather forecasts. It was Karen another young fit super speedy hiker. He’d been doing big days and had the bad weather over Rintouls. Always nice to compare notes with others who have just done the same.
So excited today about getting out and reconnecting with friends and family and the world. Our daughters were having some big changes in their lives as we went bush nine days ago; finishing jobs, relationships, both shifting house, one even cities. We like to be supportive parents so a bit of guilt at leaving them to it and heading off into the mountains.
We had a few steep hills to get up but that was no problem on an easy track and a few good outlooks to keep us keen.
The worst thing of the day was the unsavoury accompanying smell of swamp mud, sweat and fire smoke that permeated from me. Bring on the hot shower and laundry facilities.
The last half of the track was a 4wd track which was so nice and easy. We ended up completing the track in four hours when the guide said 4-5. We’re machines now. Even the 8km of main road walking into St Arnaud was a joy.
As soon as we arrived we bought a pie for lunch at the petrol station. Best pie ever. Although we got swarmed with sandflies and this time they did bite me. We bumped into Hamilton there who had been some way ahead but had to come back into st Arnaud as his phone had died in the thunderstorm.
Next up was checking into our accommodation and the long awaited for shower. Bliss. My legs were in a real state now. Top half of my thighs an irritation rash from my shorts, bottom half of my thighs at least 50 sand fly bites, and bottom half of my legs a mass of scratches, cuts and bruises from the run-in with the unmaintained track. Clean clothes, proper toilet, salmon and green veges for dinner and reconnecting with family and our day was complete. Very happy.
We’re giving ourselves a full two days rest here (3 nights) to let our bodies recover, then hoping the weather allows us to continue.
Day 46 ~ Walked : 18 km, ~ Start: Hunters hut ~ End: Red Hills hut, Richmonds (km 1944)
Day 47 ~ Walked : 20 km, ~ Start: Red Hills hut ~ End: St Arnaud (km 1964)