A week on the AAWT with Dave

Day 1, Mount Loch Carpark to Dibbins Hut via Derrek Hut
After placing our food drops this morning, we were positioned at Hotham and ready to go. Unfortunately nowhere was able to give us our planned meal until at least 5.30. We waited patiently drinking pints and watching the rain clouds come our way! Not good. As soon as we had eaten, it came pelting down. We waited 30 minutes in the vague hope it would stop. It didn’t, we also had a spanner thrown into out works, the car park was closed, so we had an extra 500m to walk in this filthy weather.

Pints and Views at “The General”

We were determined so at 6.25pm, packs loaded, off we went into the wet yonder. There was no stopping, we got to Derrek hut with the thought of stopping and picking up in the morning, but a hut full of year 9 kids was not enticing so out we went again and thankfully the rain was easing by now. Got to Dibbins Hut a little after 9 and thankfully despite a group of year 10 kids, the hut was empty and we made the call to sleep inside and try and get our stuff dry. A not so nice day 1 on the trail.

Snow still sitting on the ground.

Total Distance 6.78km(forgot to restart after leaving Derrek Hut, should be about 8.5km)
Elevation Gain 131m

Day 2, Dibbins Hut to Cope Hut via Mount Jim
An early start but not for walking, all our clothes and shoes were still soaked through, so it was decided to attempt to light the fire in the hut. Well, not an easy task with every scrap of wood surrounding the cabin very wet! We got there in the end after maybe an hour! The cabin soon warmed up and our stuff started to dry off a bit. Excellent news. 1.5 hours later we were packed up, mostly dry and back on the track.

Today started with a 300m ascent from Dibbins Hut to The Bassalt Temple. Not an easy start, we then proceeded along the track narrowly avoiding being swooped by a protective magpie. It wasn’t long until we left the tree line and instantly spotted a couple of brumbies hanging out in the treed area nearby. We then marched on towards Cope Saddle hut with a small side trip to Mount Jim. It was turning out to be a glorious day so we stopped near the top of Jim for Lunch and a coffee. Time was starting to get away from us, so a quick stop at cope saddle followed by a march to our camp for tonight, up behind Cope Hut. The evening got cold very quickly, so after dinner, we both had an early night.

Total Distance: 16.95km
Elevation Gain 607m

Day 3, Cope Hut to Ropers Hut via Edmonsons Hut
An early start with 18k+ ahead of us. Packed up fairly quickly, quick coffee  and we were gone. Due to tank at the Hut being run dry, we stopped 2km along the way to gather and purify enough water for the day.

☕

Today was polar opposite to day one with stunning blue skies all day. We bumped into a group of bushwalkers from Mount Waverley Bushwalking Club out on a day walk, followed by a much smaller group of friends doing a few days out. Later in the day we saw a mountain biker just out to enjoy the scenery.

For lunch we took a 2km side-trip stopping at Edmondsons Hut a beautiful secluded spot and was nice to have some time without our packs on.

🛖

After lunch, we pushed the last 6km to get to the hut for a restful afternoon.

Total Distance: 20.2km
Elevation Gain 314m

Day 4, Ropers Hut to picnic table on The Long Spur Via Howmans Falls.
This was a mighty big day. First thing we said hi to a hiker who was headed down the hill to help a school group across Big River. How big and fast we would soon find out. About an hour later we bumped into the group on the way up to Ropers and shortly after we saw what lye ahead.

The Big River crossing was perceived as the most technical part of our hike and not one to take lightly. We had been warned that the chain to help cross had been broken, so we brought some chord to tie across.  One problem, one of us had to cross first to tie it off. I was the guinea pig. I was also the one who thought stupidly that he could cross in bare feet. I managed it, in the process losing one of Dave’s hiking poles, but oh the pain, bare blistered feet against sharp, so.etimes slippery rocks was not a good recipe. In the end I got across (recommend wearing shoes or bringing river shoes – well worth the extra weight.),tied the end of the rope to a rock and tossed it to Dave who made a quick recovery and we soon had a line across the river where the chain should be. I strongly advised Dave to wear his shoes across and he was over the river in less than 5 minutes, even posing for an action photo. 

So the easy bit done, now we had to reclaim the elevation we had lost getting to the river, around 900m gain needed to get to tonight’s campsite on the Long Spur. We stopped finally after many hours climbing at Madison Hut site to recover and make a small side trip to Howmans Falls. We then continued on down the long spur to find the random picnic table we had been promised. The end to a very tiring 15+km day.

Total Distance 15.56km
Elevation Gain 950m

Day 5, The Long Spur to Mount Wills Hut.
This was not to enjoyable a day, it had basically rained from 7pm last night and was still raining. The moment we brushed against the shrubs we were saturated through, so we basically just pushed hard all the way to the hut, getting the fire going so we could dry all our things out….again!

It did end up being and enjoyable afternoon, the rain even stopped for a bit.

Total Distance 14.48km
Elevation Gain 831m

Day 6, Mount Wills Hut to random patch of dirt on 8 mile loop track via Gill Creek
Today was hell on a stick(except for the first 2 hours ) started with a gentle walk through mostly good track to the Omeo Highway and our 2nd food drop(I know, too many food drops).

🙃

As soon as we sorted that out, the light rain started and pretty much didn’t stop until after we had setup our tents 20km later. The trail from the Omeo highway was awful. So many fallen trees and a re-route that seems to have pointed us in the path of even more fallen trees. Over, under, over, under, it was relentless, all the way down to Gill Creek where we enjoyed the leech infested hell-hole for lunch after sliding down the last section that had to be greater than a 45 degree angle. Ouch, ended up on my backside on more than 1 occasion. After lunch, we forded the creek, clambering up another steep bank up to the track. Here was ok for a short time, but then just became an “up fest”, no such thing as flat here. It was here we bumped into some south bounders who warned us about Morass Creek being waist height and flowing fast. Sounds like we needed to make a difficult decision. Many hours later we had made it to the highest point of the day. Upon reaching the summit(Dave had been waiting patiently for 30 minutes) we started to discuss logistics of a bailout at Taylors Crossing. Could we make it there tonight? It turns out nope, I was too broken for that, and with the campsite listing on Far-out (Guthook) not existing, we got to the 20km mark of the day before looking for somewhere along the side of 8 mile loop track to camp for the night. Not a nice spot but it got us out of the weather and somewhere to rest. Dinner for me was muesli bars and some electrolyte drink, Dave was a little more sensible with some cold soaked pasta. (Yum apparently, but isn’t anything yum when you really are hungry?)

😋

 

Total Distance 20.57km
Elevation Gain 835m

Day 7 Random patch of dirt on 8 mile loop track to Kennedy Hut
This was quite an enjoyable, although quite a short day. Yes, it rained all day, but we both knew we were not far from the Hut. We had made the decision to leave the trail early as we had had enough of being constantly soaking wet and were also unsure of our ability to cross morass Creek. A pickup had been arranged for the following day at Taylors Crossing.

Total Distance 7.82km
Elevation Gain 113m

Day 8 Kennedy Hut to Taylors Crossing (Evac point)
With just a couple of Km to our finish at Taylors Crossing, we slowly packed up, then made our way down the trail to the Bridge. This Adventure is to be continued……

Total Distance 2.43km
Elevation Gain 44m 

We will be back before too long to finish this and indeed the whole trail in sections.

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