Date: Tuesday, 30 April 2019
Start: Edmondson Hut
Finish: Mt Wills Hut
Daily Kilometres: 29.0
Total AAWT Kilometres: 296.4
Weather: Cold early then mild and mostly sunny
Accommodation: Mt Wills Hut
Lunch: Trail Mix
Dinner: Rehydrated Meal
Aches: Both very tired
Highlight: We reached Big River Saddle, our target for the day, just before 5pm. To get water for camping, we would have had to walk 500m downhill, which may not seem much, but that's 1km return and the next possible spot for the night, Mt Wills Hut (with tank water), was only 3.4km further on, though up a massive climb. We knew it would be dark in an hour, and that it would take us at least that long to cover the very steep first 1.8km, but after that was firetrail which should be easy enough to follow in the dark, so we set out. The first bonus was to find that the gnarly steep trail had recently been cleared, making it faster than expected. But the highlight was when we reached the hut about 6:30 to find it occupied by two hikers, Andrew and Gary, who had a fire going in the hearth and immediately cleared out one of the two hut rooms for us to occupy. We were later than we would have liked, but the day ended well.
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
We let ourselves sleep in a little, since we did not have to pack up a tent, and left the hut just before 7am. After clambering cross-country back to the AAWT, it was easy walking across the vast treeless high plains, though a little cool. However, once we passed the quaint Ropers Hut, the trail began to descend steeply through forest down the Duane Spur to the Big River. I managed to slip and fall twice, giving both knees a workout they could have done without.
After some discussion, we decided to ford Big River, hanging onto the safety chain suspended across it, in bare feet. It was bitterly cold water and the rocks were slippery, but we crossed without incident. After breakfast in the sun in a nearby clearing, we began the dreaded climb up T-Spur. Almost continuous climbing for two hours had us both very ready for lunch in the beautiful alpine meadow by a small stream at the Old Madison Hut site.
From there we headed east for 12.5km along the Long Spur through lovely snow gum forests and past many great views until we reached Big River Saddle, our target for the day. We decided to carry on to Mt Wills Hut (1757m) in the hope of better accommodation and lucked out (see above). The two resident hikers were the first people we had seen all day.
We are going to sleep in a little tomorrow, in honour of two hard days. The weather forecast is for considerable rain in the next three days, which we are not looking forward to.