Day 61 Slaty Hut to Old Mans Hut

11 Dec, 10km, rain

Rain is forecasted for today but I have to read the weather for what it is. Overnight it was drizzling but I am above the skyline now so should expect rain and quick weather shifts.

Yesterday I was a bit nervous in first setting out but having time to get back into my own rhythm has settled me. This morning I had time to clean my teeth and with my breakfast had a cup of tea. No rush, this hasn’t happened much and only now as I have to manage decision making, tiredness and safe steps.

The challenges were plenty today in ridge walking and sidlings. Rock climbing up banks and around crevices were exciting yet scary in the alpine conditions.

However the rain kept me moving. Alpine flowers were abundant, tiny mostly but some pink and others white. Yellow larger flowers grew in bunches on a stalk. To photograph them would take time I did not have and would have distracted me.

The marker poles were not always visible. I lost them several times on top of Old Man summit. I could see I had left the ridge and had to scramble back up through green alpine growth and unstable rock slides like the goats do, on all fours. It felt like I was in my own horror movie to get back on track over very unstable ground.

Because of the rain I had to keep moving to keep warm, no place to rest out of the weather or have a break.

At another place the track ended at a rock face and 3m up was an orange arrow pointing straight up. I had to climb the rock face. Once I took a closer look there was a route up. No ropes just hold on and keep moving. Several other rock faces created similar challenges.

I arrived at a turn off to the hut at midday it had been raining most of the day and I was wet and starting to get cold so decided to descend to the side trail that lead to Old Man’s Hut.

I arrived and got a fire going when Tess and Lou, mother and daughter arrived. They were wet too so together we dried all our gear and chatted. And they brought my socks left behind at Starveall Hut.

The rain got into my pack and wet my sleeping bag and items on the edge. Later we worked out the condensation caused the sleeping gear to be wet not the carrying in the packs.

A challenging day and really glad more people to discuss options with.

A Reflection:

A week later on 19/12 a man was rescued on this track to Old Man’s Hut. He fell and returned to the hut, pushed his locator beacon for rescue.

I thought of activating my PLB many times when I lost belief I could complete this consistent challenge. People who walked in groups found the Richmond Range tough, no different than I.

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