Day 60 Starveall Hut to Slaty Hut

10 Dec, 5km, sunny.

I had decided on a rest day today to catch up on some rest and try to get some enthusiasm back.

Being a careful slow walker was something I couldn’t change but that meant a lot of time on my own and making technical decisions where I had little experience. Travelling in a group the shared decision making is safer.

I waited for Josh to wake who shared the hut with me last night. He also said he would have a sleep in. A weka woke me before daylight with it’s squawking just outside the hut. It was easy to roll over and go back to sleep.

Up at 7:00 and a leisurely breakfast and ablutions. There was a birds nest in the long drop and Josh said the bird was flying around as he s-at.

Josh left at 8:00 and I followed at 8:30. I felt a bit anxious when I left the hut and headed up the rock track. The views were glorious but I really wasn’t enjoying them. Fear was close to the surface due to the unknown and I had to find ways to get over and around terrain I’m not used to being in. These pictures don’t really show the size and scale of the Richmond Range.

I sat a while several times during the incredible climb to look at the mountains. It was hot, still and calm. The track markers were poles and easily seen but they went straight up the hills into never land. So daunting, my guts wanted to empty.

The track was rock or slate and lead to the summit of Mt Starveall 1511m and then followed a ridge to Slaty Peak 1544m. A sidle dropped off to Slaty Hut. Starting point was Starveall Hut at 1258m.

The rock track went straight up and over rock faces. At times the grade was about 45° climb that went in zigzags and long drop offs. It was not always a challenge one foot at a time but I knew this is Richmond Range I could face anything around the next corner and I often did. So just scale up them one foot at a time was my strategy.

I arrived at Slaty at 12:00, so it took me almost double the DOC estimated time. I cooked up a packet soup with instant potatoes. Then I ate cheese and crackers. Very relaxing in the sun and just what I needed to do. Stop and recover. A warm meal and plenty of time to digest it.

Marty left a message in the hut book saying he would see me at Old Man Hut. I set out but turned around as I remembered today was a rest day to let all the bruises heal. Legs, thighs, and arms.

So many falls in the last two days I had to rest and really needed to recover every afternoon. More protein was needed that I did not have in my food bag. So I turned back and claimed my bunk and rested.

I drank tea all afternoon, dried my boots and socks out in the sun, realising I have misplaced a pair of walking socks.

It must sound silly that I need rest time and less exertion tramping. I enjoy arriving, preparing my meal and cleaning the few items I carry. A good sleep and then do it all again. But arriving late in the afternoon and exhausted, physically and emotionally right now spoils the fun.

I’m going through a phase of why am I challenging myself rock climbing here and now?.

As I sat there near the alpine hut a couple of goats were bleeping, the flies were buzzing, the sun was shinning and I had the afternoon to rest No more walking today! Perfect!

Later in the day suddenly the clouds rolled over the valley and it turned chilly. I made a fire, chopped some fire wood and put my billy on the hot fire to cook my dinner.

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