New Zealand 2020
Okay, we’re back on the AAWT. Having already completed two weeks from Thredbo to Canberra, it was time to tackle the middle third from Thredbo to Hotham. After our first composition bootcamp as a musical duo, we caught a tram, then a train, then a bus and a car to Thredbo. We had allotted two weeks, and tried extra hard not to die, as our families would be twice as sad if we died before Christmas.
Mish’s dad Mick came with us for the first day. This meant that there were essentially three people with the same name and height… much confusion ensued. Our first day took us to Cascade hut where we spent our first glorious night reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on my Kindle.
Then came the second morning. Mick left in the pouring rain, while we bravely slept in until it had passed. It was a 20km day, no great ascents or descents, no bush bashing, no navigation, a little too easy if you ask me… That's why when the opportunity came for a 4km round trip through dense scrub to Tin Mine Waterfall, I was chomping at the bit.
Well folks, we never did find that waterfall, but on the plus side, I managed to lose the Kindle. Devastated. Not only about the pollution to our beautiful landscape, but we had only read the first chapter (which Harry isn’t even in). Now I know how Hugh Glass felt when he was crawling his way through America after being mauled by a bear with no food and profuse bleeding….Kindleless.
Anyway, we made it back to camp with our lives and though my pack was 200gms lighter, in reality it much heavier as the responsibility of providing our entertainment every night was now resting squarely on my shoulders. I knew the only way to atone for my mistake would be to concoct an original story far better than J.K. Rowling’s original masterpiece, as we walk up a mountain every day. Did I rise to the occasion? Yes, but more on that later.
Day three, we crossed Sam who was hiking the whole of the AAWT in the opposite direction. His brother was the one who was the avid hiker but pulled out just before they started with an injury. Sam who was originally the tag-on, decided to hike the 650kms by himself. Together we climbed… some mountain…oh I don’t know what it was called, they all blend into one after a while. (Mt Pilot, Michelle's edit)
Shortly afterwards we met Annie, who had hiked the whole AAWT, then decided to turn around and walk back again! I’d call her a nutcase, but she gave us a bottle of wine (from her own food drop), so she’s actually incredible.
We really needed ointment for some cuts and bites, and decided to hitchhike into Glen Wills. Fortunately a giant military tank picked us up and we zoomed out of the bush at an astonishing 30kms an hour. This marked the midpoint of our journey, which meant a day off!...well, almost.
We stayed with the Mayor of Glen Wills, aka Gordo, who runs the most gorgeous BnB he built himself. It’s a well known secret among AAWT hikers that 3kms from the track is a cheap night under a roof where the gracious host supplies you with beers and a roast!
But you can’t stay forever, our itchy feet put us back on the track and finally the views came a-rolling in. Mt Wills was my favourite part of the whole thing; cool hut, gorgeous views, tonnes of fun rocks and it was cold! From here on out it was just incredible alpine walking with a bit of tricky navigation and the odd snake here or there. One meany gave us a big hiss and thoroughly scared us, it took us a few minutes figuring out how to get around her/him before we realised it’d run away ages ago.
If you think this story is missing waterfalls and dingoes, you’re about to be satisfied. We saw a waterfall and a dingo! On the way to Cleve Cole Hut we’d heard about the nearby Howman falls. A waterfall provides a great opportunity for upperbody muscle building, which you can see all about here:
I’d like to tell you the adventure ends here, but alas it does not. Mother Nature was not content in taking my Kindle, she is a cruel mistress that demands regular sacrifice. This time it was my hat. It was an early Christmas present from Michelle, but then it became an early Christmas present for some mice, who wouldn’t even have looked half as good as I did in it. They ate my plastic bowl too!
Ahh well, it can be repaired. We found a hitch down from Hotham into Harrietville and it was once again time for a pub meal and wine.
Mickey or Michelle, depending who has more to say on the subject :)