Thursday, 23 May 2013

Day 3: Cleve Cole Hut back to Mountain Creek Campground

I promised bad news. The spare battery I had for my camera, was a DUD. it fully charged but discharged within 2 days. So Day 3 will be light on photos. By light I mean NO photos. This post will be rather short.

Last night was an interesting sleeping experience. It was cold, but not too cold. That is good. It rained a little. That is bad. It was gusting strong wind. That is bad too. I did not not stake out the tent and the ventilation flap properly. That is REALLY bad.

Through the night, the wind came in gust. I could hear a whoossss, swoooshh, then a woooopppsshhh, going from left to right giving it a full stereo then silence, followed a whooppp, and the tent shooked and the ventilation flap, flapped. Say it out loud for the total experiance.

This is my tent looking like limp lettuce. From the front, there are 1 ventilation flaps that is needs to be staked out. I totally forgot to stake it and flapped about, causing a ruckus whenever a gust of wind landed. In all honesty, the only my friend, Limpy knows how to stake this tent properly AND she did it first time out of the brand new packaging. I am really bad at staking this tent. It is attention to details which I lack. The fact that it was just about dark when I was pitching it here did not help.The Lightheart gear Solong 6 is much easier to pitch.

*Note: the Lightheart Gear Solong 6 was only purchased after this trip. If you are confused, then my "Lost" theme is working*

I woke up mildly grumpy at about 7:30 am and popped my head out of the tent and decided to go back into the sleeping bag. After milling about for a bit, I started hearing my friends moving about. I made breakfast under the vestibule and started packing. We broke camp at about 9am and made our way to Cleve Cole hut. It was foggy, overcast and very fine misty rain was falling. It could be worse. It would be torrential downpour. We donned out waterproof gear and made off.

In any case, I found myself wishing for bog shoes one again as we were getting to Cleve Cole Hut where we filled our water and made last minute adjustments.

I got chatting with 2 guys who said that they drove to Granite Flats and hiked up here. Hmm...much shorter distance. A worth looking into when I feel like cheating.

Cut the long story short, we walked back the direction we came from on day one, and took the turn off to Eskadale spur. The view was obscured by fog and clouds, but I know I can still take some really nice photos. Alas. no battery power.

I found a stout stick to use as a walking pole to help with descent. It was a steep descent, but my pack was a bit lighter by about 2 kg from consumables. However I has another problem. My pinky toes on my right foot was hurting like hell. I have a retarded right foot. It gives me problem with shoes. Lefty is a lot more well behaved. My right pinky toe will get squished against the toe cup of the boot and it hurts. So I started favoring it. At this point, it was still bearable.

The trail from the top of Eskadale to Mitchell hut is rocky and you have to mind stepping on loose rocks. It is also rather steep. Mitchell Hut is a nice new modern looking hut with a water tank. We took a rest break to peel off. Soon we got cold and moved on. From Mitchell Hut, the trail is dirt and mud, not an easy trail to tread. I slid on my ass a few time as I was trying not to mash my little toe.

This part of the walk I liked the least. The view was lacking, the trail was slippery and my toe was hurting.
Eventually, we got to a carpark. FINALLY!!! We stopped for and had a quick meal break. The end of the journey, I concluded. WRONGLY again. It looks like a weekend of wrong conclusions for me. Anyway, it was a welcomed break. I asked and told that there was another 8km of 4WD track to Mountain Creek camp ground. I wished I never asked. We passed an entire convoy of at least 10 4wd passing us as we were walking along the track. Each time we has to seek cover in the bushes as the track was only wide enough for a 4wd. It was almost like a 4WD expo. We has BMW, Nissian, Ford, KIA, even a Porsche and Hummer H3
We carried on and came across another 3 stranglers. They asked me which way they went and I said they did not bush bashed that is for sure.

This last 8 km was a real pain to walk. It is just plain boring and it felt like it will never end. Eventually, it did. Bliss.

It was around 3.30 pm and Andrew and I were going to camp for the night and head home on Monday. Our basecamp support had some bbq chicken for us and also a hot shower. Wow. Got to love country folks. Andrew talked footy while I played with the kids for the rest of the afternoon, 12 yr old girl and a 7 yr old boy

 Despite the glaring age difference, they took to me really well. God knows why. In any case, they were great kids, well behaved, but spirited. Not quiet children who sit in a corner, or ruckus kids who run amok.
Nothing like a good people to round of a good 3 day hike.

The End.

If I had to descend to Mountain Creek Camp ground again, think I would prefer so via staircase. Getting to the bottom of Eskadale tricks you into thinking it is all over, then you get slapped with another 8km of 4wd track that was SUCH A PAIN.

This trip also taught me to pack smart and the importance of light weight gear and also to take some pack a few spoonful of cement for hikes.