Date: Saturday, 11 May 2019
Start: Mackay's Hut
Finish: 1km north of Snowy Mountains Highway
Daily Kilometres: 40.0
Total AAWT Kilometres: 556.5
Weather: Cold to cool and sunny
Lunch: Trail Mix
Dinner: Rehydrated Meal
Aches: Both very tired
Highlight: The late afternoon walking along the Tabletop Trail where we had great views across alpine meadows to nearby mountains lit by the setting sun.
Lowlight: After 39km of hiking, by which time the sun had set and it was getting very cold, we had to ford the Eucumbene River. It was too deep to avoid getting boots and socks wet, so we just waded across. About half-way, I lost my footing on the slippery rocks, and fell in. Not totally, but enough to get myself very wet and cut my knee. By the time I managed to stand up and reach the shore, I was saturated and cold. Julie quickly replenished our water supplies, as we had intended to do, and then with me shivering violently, we climbed a hill to find a camping spot and set up the tent as quickly as possible. I crawled in, changed into dry clothes and got into my sleeping bag where I stayed for about 30 minutes until I stopped shivering.
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
We knew we had a big day ahead of us if we were to get back on schedule after two easier days to make sure we had hut accommodation in the poor weather. It had snowed a couple of inches overnight, and we set out hiking at 6:40am across a snowy landscape in very cold conditions. However, the skies were relatively cloud-free and there was the promise of a dry and sunny day.
Our route took us northwards on firetrails all day, much of it along the crest of the Great Dividing Range, and we were treated to many fine views in between sections of snowgum forest, with everything frosted with a layer of snow. Julie was cracking the whip, pace-wise, and we made good time along the relatively easy trails. About the only time Julie travels slower than me is on the long uphills, and there were few of those today. The rest of the time she was setting a good pace and I was trying to keep up.
As the day passed, it got warmer and the snow gradually melted, and for the first time in days, we were hiking in shorts again, though still wearing our jackets. After the bad weather of the past few days, we were really enjoying the sun and appreciating the beautiful scenery as we cruised along. Around 3:30pm and 30km, we decided to try for another 10km, which would take us across the Snowy Mountains Highway (not allowed to camp 2km either side of the highway) at the ghost mining town of Kiandra and get us close to back on schedule. All went well apart from my fall into the Eucumbene River (see above), and the fact that tomorrow morning, which no doubt will be freezing, we'll both set out with wet socks and boots.
We reach our last food cache tomorrow night and are looking forward to some treats.