Wednesday, May 15, 2019

190514 - Almost there, on a perfect day

DateTuesday, 14 May 2019
Start:  Oldfields Hut
Finish:  Honeysuckle Creek Campground
Daily Kilometres:  34.2
Total AAWT Kilometres:  644.2
Weather:  Cold early, then cool to mild and sunny
Accommodation:  Picnic Shelter
  Breakfast:  Muesli
  Lunch:  Trail Mix
  Dinner:  Rehydrated Meal
Aches:  I'm still limping along with a swollen and occasionally painful left knee.
Highlight:  Hard to pick, with beautiful scenery and perfect weather all day.
Lowlight:  As I write this, a very bold possum is persistently sniffing around our gear looking for food.
PicturesClick here
Map and PositionClick here for Google Map

We got away around 6:40am, knowing we had a reasonably long day with three significant climbs.  It was again very cold, with a heavy frost, frozen puddles and isolated snow patches from the fall a few days ago.  We first climbed up to Murray Gap through beautiful forest and past frosty grassy flats, and crossed into the Australian Capital Territory and the Bimberi Wilderness Area.  It was a lovely morning and we soaked up the serenity of this seldom-visited bush.  We kept commenting to each other on how beautiful it was and how lucky we were to be seeing it.

From Murray Gap, the trail descended down to the Cotter valley where we enjoyed breakfast leaning up against a locked hut in the morning sun.  It had warmed up, and for the first time in over a week, we stripped to shorts and T-shirts, anticipating a strenuous climb up and over Cotter Gap.  It was hard work, but again offset by enchanting forest scenery, intermingled with large grey boulders.

The forest became noticeably drier as we made the long descent into the Orroral Valley.  After a break for lunch, having made good progress for the morning, we set out on our last 10km of the day.  We began by crossing the grassy flats of the valley floor with kangaroos visible here and there, and then began the last, and hardest, climb of the day up to Orroral Ridge on a firetrail.  It seemed to go on forever, but eventually we reached the top and then had an easy 4km to our destination, the Honeysuckle Creek Campground, managed by Namadgi National Park.

It's vehicle-accessible, and we soon saw our first person for three days, as someone drove around the campground while we set oursleves up in the Campground Picnic Shelter.  They soon left, and we again had the whole place to ourselves, though we can hear the squealing of tyres and roar of vehicle engines not too far away.  We have decided to sleep in the shelter, though it provides limited protection, to save having to pack up a wet and frozen tent tomorrow morning.  Hopefully, we won't have any nocturnal visitors.  Tomorrow is our last day, and we have just under 16km to hike to reach the Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre and the end of our journey.  We're excited to finish, but also recognise how fortunate we have been to enjoy this experience together.

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