Date: Sunday, 12 May 2019
Start: 1km north of Snowy Mountains Highway
Finish: Ghost Gully Campground
Daily Kilometres: 29.4
Total AAWT Kilometres: 585.9
Weather: Cold, light fog early, then sunny all day
Lunch: Trail Mix
Dinner: Rehydrated Meal and chips, chocolate and ANZAC biscuits
Aches: My left knee, injured in a fall crossing a river yesterday, was quite sore and swollen all day, despite a double dose of anti-inflammatories.
Highlight: Getting to our last food cache and enjoying some treats with dinner.
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
I had a poor night's sleep with my injured knee swelling up and becoming inflexible and painful, and then we both had the joy, on a freezing morning, of donning wet socks and boots after last night's river fording. On these icy cold mornings we do as much packing up as we possibly can while still in our sleeping bags, and then in the tent, but there comes a time when we must get out and take down the usually wet and icy cold tent fly sheet, pull out the tent pegs and fold up the tent and groundsheet. By the time this is done, our fingers are seriously frozen, and it's always a relief to don our gloves and packs and generate some heat walking.
This was one of those mornings and we were very happy to be on the move around 7:15 in a light fog along a pretty trail that passed through alpine meadows and small snowgum forests. As the fog began to lift and the sun broke through in places it was magical, and apart from a couple of skittish small herds of brumbies, we had it all to ourselves. Despite me slowing our progress with my gimpy knee, we made reasonable time and stopped at the delightfully located Witzes Hut for breakfast. We sat on some improvised benches and enjoyed the peaceful scene and the sun while the tent fly dried hung over a small tree.
We decided to walk another 10km to the Murrumbidgee River ford before our next stop and lunch. It was warm walking, much of it across vast snowplains, but noticeably cold whenever we stopped. There were actually two fords, the first across Tantangara Creek and then about 800m later, the Murrumbidgee. Neither of us wanted to get our drying socks and boots wet again, so we changed into our camp/running shoes and crossed both in succession. The Murrumbidgee was quite deep and fast in parts, and it took us a while to find somewhere we considered safe to cross.
After being spoiled with easy firetrail walking for the morning, the afternoon involved quite a lot of cross-country travel and navigation, though most of it was through open country. We got off course a couple of times, but nothing serious, and the last part was spent following an old telephone line along a beautiful ridge in the sun, with good views to the north and south.
We reached Ghost Gully Campground, basic to say the least, at about 4:30pm, having collected our food cache from its hiding place about 200 metres away. We had the place to ourselves, apart from more brumbies, and set up camp and washed in the sun's setting rays. As soon as it did set, the temperature plummeted, and we threw everything into the tent, including our cooked dinner, and organised our rations for the last 2.5 days, while eating dinner and snacking on our treats.