Date: Monday, 13 May 2019
Start: Ghost Gully Campground
Finish: Oldfields Hut
Daily Kilometres: 24.1
Total AAWT Kilometres: 610.0
Weather: Very cold early, then cool and sunny
Accommodation: Oldfields Hut
Lunch: Trail Mix
Dinner: Rehydrated Meal
Aches: My left knee still swollen and sore, especially down hills. Julie felt unwell all day, but soldiered on.
Highlight: Crossing the vast alpine flats on a clear sunny day, dotted with small herds of brumbies and mobs of kangaroos, and a sense that we had it all to ourselves.
Lowlight: Undoubtedly, getting up and packing up on a freezing cold morning when everything was covered with a heavy frost. It was brutal.
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
We knew it was going to be a very cold night when the temperature plummeted at sunset last night. We both ended up wearing many layers of clothing to bed, and didn't want to get out of our sleeping bags when the alarm sounded at 6:00am. It was very unpleasant packing up (see above), and took 30 minutes longer than usual as frozen fingers fumbled with clips, straps, pegs, etc.
We set off along the trail at 7:40am, our feet crunching on the thick frost as we avoided large frozen puddles. The first rays of the sun hit us shortly afterwards and were very welcome, though we wore extra clothes until our breakfast stop at 10:00am. Even then, the frost was thick in the shadows and was still visible in places in the early afternoon. We spread out our tent fly, still covered in frost, over a tree to dry (somewhat) while we relaxed and ate in the warming sun.
The scenery had again been beautiful, especially on such a clear sunny day, as the trail meandered between patches of snowgum forests and vast grassland flats in shallow valleys. We hiked another 10km to lunch through similar country, startling herds of brumbies and mobs of kangaroos along the way. At lunch we spread out everything to dry, including sleeping bags, which were damp from condensation last night. We were not in a big hurry, since we had decided to stop at Oldfield Hut, just 4km further on, so again spent time enjoying the sun while I also tried to send a few emails using the sporadic mobile phone coverage.
We reached the very pretty Oldfield Hut at 3:30pm, after a long climb from the flats, happy with the idea that we would have a longer day tomorrow, but not have to start out by packing up a frozen tent. Another frost is forecast. On arrival at the hut, we spent 20 minutes fruitlessly trying to locate water in scatchy spiky scrub in a nearby valley, before giving up and returning to the hut to notice there was a rainwater tank around the side! Duh!
We washed and had an early dinner by a woodfire Julie got going in the hut's fireplace. The old hut has plenty of draughty cracks, and we'll be sleeping on the rough wood slat floor, so I suspect it will be another very cold night. We're looking forward to some creature comforts in just a day and a half more, when we finish our hike.