Day 115 Channelling my inner Mountain Goat
Sunday 2 February From above Old Man Hut to Tarn Hut Start 7.45am to 6.40pm (2 hour, 10min lunch break) Distance 13km Total 1,882km Elevation approx 1000m up and 1700m down Weather: sunny with some light cloud cover and gusty winds on the tops of the ridges I woke up this morning channeling my inner mountain goat. I had no idea how much mountain goat was needed! It was a completely epic day climbing and scrambling up and down tracks you would not think possible. The last down off Mt Rintoul, when you look back at it, it looks an insane climb. I think Chad thought we were insane to be doing it. Little Rintoul and Mt Rintoul are both scree and rocks. With the exception of some peculiar alpine plants and strangely enough grasshoppers, it is pretty devoid of life.
I actually loved scrambling over the rocks and particularly enjoyed the scree downhill where it was deep enough that you could scree run. That is, dig your heal in and you slide a metre or two (or three or four at which point you start having heart palpitations), and repeat. A fast way of getting down a steep slope so long as you know you will actually be able to stop the slide. The wind was pretty strong at times. The first occasion we were about to cross a narrow saddle on the ridge and the wind was gusting through it so strongly we decided to drop below the ridge to avoid the risk of being blown off. There were a couple of times I took involuntary steps sideways when a gust got me, and once where I just stopped, turned my back to the wind and let it blow before carrying on. Mt Rintoul is 1731m high so you can imagine the views are uninterrupted and incredible. Again the photos tell the story better than I can.
We took a very leisurely lunch at Rintoul Hut, keeping out of the heat of the day. By about an hour from Tarn Hut I was pretty much done in, and the last 100m climb before the steady descent to the hut was harder for me than the climb up Rintoul. The mountain goat had deserted me. I loved the day, and then Chad managed to make it more perfect. He spotted me a Morepork just outside the hut. I had been threatening to venture out at night to find one. We were able to stand pretty much just below the branch it was sitting on. I'm so easy to please. A bit of mountain climbing and a native bird and I'm in my happy place.
On a side note I had a reasonably poor night's sleep last night, mostly because of the wind but also I had a number of bad dreams I woke myself up from, each of them having Chad and I being killed in some dramatic way. Bizarre and I didn't share until we were safely in the hut this evening. Maybe I was a little more concerned about today than I realised.