Diamantina Spur

Before this day, I never thought I’d be winched into a chopper

20 February 2018

The view from Bungalow Spur
The view from Bungalow Spur

For those of you who don’t like or have patience for my long reports, here is the ‘trailer’ version:

  • Started around 6.30 in Harrietville on minimal sleep
  • Went up Mt Feathertop, did a 360° video and posted on fb
  • Ran down to the creek towards the MUMMC Hut (not much water, don’t count on it)
  • Diamantina Spur was a bit overgrown, but otherwise ok
  • Turned left at the Blairs Hut sign in the Kiewa Valley—that is the right way to go
  • There is no Westons Spur sign once passed the toilet, just turn left
  • Westons is so overgrown in places – not fun, lots of scratches on my legs and arms
  • The creek after Westons is hard to reach and hardly pissing
  • Was able to actually shuffle along more poles on the High Plains—thanks again Dan Beard
  • This is where I stuffed up my nutrition—didn’t eat in time
  • Going down towards Cobungra Gap hurt (dunno why)
  • Forced a gel down at Cobungra, nearly came back—this is where I knew things are definitely not going to plan
  • Went up Swindlers in full sun (again), had to stop occasionally—my heart seemed to pop out of my chest and my head was about to explode
  • Started to dream about that beer…
  • From Derricks Hut I could not shuffle, but fast walk
  • Didn’t go up to Mt Hotham summit, but took the road, stopping two cars and asking if they had anything fizzy with them – 3 cars didn’t stop, 2 cars stopped but didn’t have anything fizzy only warm water
  • Decided to cut it short and go down Bon Accord Spur – bloody sign says 12 km, giving people a very false hope
  • Sun was setting down as I headed down the spur, ended on my bum once and tripped many others
  • Lost phone reception
  • Bon Accord is overgrown in places, lots of trees and branches fallen down and across the track

    Wild flowers on Mt Feathertop
    Wild flowers on Mt Feathertop
  • Pulled my headtorch out when it started to get dark, had to change the batteries (Led Lenser) after a few steps—glad I did that while I could still see
  • Got startled by a deer
  • Arrived to Washington Ck at 7.18, it was pitch dark
  • Couldn’t find the track on the other side, the place is so overgrown with bushes and blackberry
  • Went bushbashing, got scratched all over my arms and legs and lost my phone
  • Decided to spend the night near the creek, but was worried about Otto being worried, so after about half an hour of arguing with myself, I decided to activate the PLB, this way Otto at least knows where I am
  • Tried to spot the flashing light of my phone in the dark, unsuccessfully
  • Waited for the rescue to arrive, while trying to get some sleep on the rocks
  • First time I heard the chopper – 0:21
  • Chopper flew away, then back then away again a few times
  • Lit my head torch every time it was above
  • Second attempt to approach the scene, I was blown away by the winds, then saw someone descending on a rope…
  • Jimmy (the police officer) put the harness on me, clipped us together and got winched while a possum walked by casually
  • The chopper took me to Wangaratta airfield
  • Got handed over to Wangaratta Police and taken to the station
  • Called Otto who already knew most of it, because he was in contact with the police—PLB is a great thing!!
  • Cameron from Wangaratta Police helped me find accommodation and made sure I got there safely
  • At this point I didn’t have anything to eat or drink. Once in the room, I had a beer
  • Otto and Suzie arrived in the afternoon. Otto flew back from Sydney in the morning, Suzie picked him up at the airport and they drove straight to Wangaratta
  • Stopped for lunch and beer in Bright
  • Went to pick the car up in Harrietville, didn’t go to search for the phone (“fuck the phone!” is what Otto said)
  • Drove home

Out of the mandatory safety gear list there were two pieces I didn’t have on me during the run: the thermal long johns and the beanie/hat. Out of the gear I carried with me I’ve use every single piece except the safety matches.

Now here comes the full version. Grab some wine, beer or whatever you fancy – it’s a very long story.

As I said it in the “trailer”, I started this thing on minimal sleep. Did that not only for practical reasons, but also to get accustomed to push on tired at the Alpine Challenge miler in November. Started my watch at 6.40 as I left the car park in Harrietville. Signed into the book, checking who else is out there (thanks Tay for telling me this). I’ve noticed a bunch of 6 people signed in, going to “Bogon” – I was wondering… did they have a look at the map, at all?! In spite of the 10ish°C I didn’t need the gloves and took the Bonatti off before I started the climb.

Bungalow Spur
Bungalow Spur

While going up Bungalow Spur, I was thinking about how lucky I am to be able to do this. Get out during the week and just simply go for it. I was experimenting with food I haven’t had on a run before, like using rice wrap instead of bread and trialling the pre-packaged baby food; not packing chocolate and ginger this time. As usual, the climb seemed like it was going on forever, Otto called and said “I knew you were going to do this!! If I could win Tattslotto this sure!…anyway, just take care of yourself.” I promised I will and went on. Saw a parasailer, a red one appearing from behind the mountain. It was so sudden, I didn’t get the chance to take a shot.

I reached Federation Hut eventually. I could hear voices as I was getting closer, then saw two boys, walking to the water tank with bottles. I said hi, they reluctantly said hi back (what’s wrong with today’s youth??!! Absolutely no manners for some). I took my pack off at the hut and put on the Bonatti, it’s always windy up at Mt Feathertop. Took a few pics, then carried on tossing the idea of going down to the creek towards the MUMMC Hut. If I don’t go down today, I probably won’t get another chance for a very long time. I wanted to check it out, just in case I’ll ever needed water from there. I postponed the decision for the way back from the summit. It was a stunning day, wind wasn’t that bad going up.

On Mt Feathertop
On Mt Feathertop

Ani, my sister called as I was nearing the summit. Wanted to know how the weekend was… we had a chat, and by the time we hung up, I was up on the top. Took that 360° video, posted it on fb, then headed down. The views were amazing. I saw some clouds further and imagined going through them – how cool (literally) that would be?! I decided to go down to the creek, nearly finished a soft flask of water, would be nice to have a great tasting refill. As I was approaching the spring, hopped over some mud and finally saw the little trickle. Climbed up and filled the flask, had some of it, then refilled. It tasted great, indeed, but I think I won’t make this detour again.
As I was heading out of the muddy part, I lost my balance and stepped straight into ankle deep black mud which was hidden under the bright green grass. I swore a little, then headed up, when Otto called asking what happened, why am I off the track? Did you get lost? Told him what was happening – he didn’t like the idea but was relieved all is good. When I got to the The Cross, I decided to change the socks, it’s a long way to go and I didn’t want blisters. Taking off the Bonatti at this point was too early, wind was still chilly.

On the Razorback, I bumped into a couple, they were heading up to Mt Feathertop, then back along the ridge. We wished each other a great day and kept going. Looking back towards Mt Feathertop from Diamantina Spur was a beautiful sight – I did that a few times while I could see it. Took the Bonatti off, it started to get quite warm. I ran this ridge as much as I could, the bushes scratching my legs along the way. On one of the tops, I saw a bunch of guys – asked them where they are heading. They said “to Bogong Village” – aaaahhhh… the “Bogon bunch”!!!! – should’ve counted them, there should be 6. Told them about the Razorback Run in March, but they said they’ll be in NSW in a camp then. Wished each other a great day and I took off.

Diamantina Spur - one of the three drops
Diamantina Spur – one of the three drops

At the rock scrambling parts I took photos for George [Alexandropoulos] so he knows which are the “scary” parts of the Alpine Challenge miler. The poles here are a pain in the butt. Threw them down, then followed holding onto the rocks. When I was there last time with Tay, it seemed much easier – I was probably extra careful now because I was on my own. It was a warm day, I was really looking at the track – didn’t want to step on a snake or something… that was happening a lot today. Getting down to Kiewa Valley seemed much faster this time.

I filled the soft flask in the cold running water, then soaked the triangle bandage and cooled off my face, neck, arms. Felt good. I was hoping I find that turnoff, so I won’t need to go around as we did with Tay in December. Saw the “Blairs Hut” sign, pointing to the left in front of the trunk of a big tree. Since there were lots of pieces of big trees around, I guess the course description is somewhat confusing. Turned left at the sign and immediately recognised the track, then passed the hut after I took a few photos. Remembered the very first time I’ve been here – this is where I have met Helen [MacDonald].

Passed the toilet on the left, then turned left onto Westons Spur. There is no sign that says Westons Spur at this point. I turned left and up and started the climb. Had the plan to try something new – play some up beat music when it gets tough, so soon I had Mas Que Nada (Black Eyed Peas) coming from my right thigh pocket as I was pushing up Westons, looking out for snakes and glimpsing to the left every now and then – Mt Feathertop was still a stunning sight. I discovered some bright red berries. They were sweet and really nice, so every time I saw them, I had some. When (and if) I get my phone back I’ll post the pics.

One of the rare views from Westons
A rare view from Westons

Just as I was thinking that Westons Hut is never going to come, there I was. Quick glimpse at the sign, didn’t even bother checking out the hut now, I was looking forward to some nice cold water from the spring further up. Saw the black and blue pipe, hopped over the mud… and the spring was hardly pissing. Worked hard to get a flask full of water, had some of it, then re-filled and got going. The ants were active again didn’t want to have anything to do with them. What followed after this was even more painful than the climb itself – scratchy bushes covering the track up to my forehead in places. The sweaty skin on my arms has suffered the most.

I could hear a chopper in the Bogong Village direction and thought if someone would ask me if I wanted a lift in a helicopter, I’d say “not necessarily, but since I’ve never flew in a chopper, I’d give it a go”….

Glorious Pole 333
Glorious Pole 333

It was hot with a light breeze on the high plains. I was looking forward to see some brumbies – they’ve left their mark on the track… should be somewhere… the view was amazing from there. I managed to shuffle some more here, nearly to Pole 333. The flies appeared, but they weren’t half as bad as when we were there with Tay. At Pole 333 I stopped, took a few shots, then turned right towards Cobungra Gap, keeping up the shuffle. Otto called, told him I was going well. I concentrated so much on keeping up the shuffle, that I put off eating until I reach the top and start descending. I think this was a big mistake. I did have something on the way down but probably missed the timing. I was still vary of snakes… treading carefully especially in the grassy parts. Saw the mountain ahead, the one I’ll need to go up next. Wasn’t looking forward to that.

At Cobungra Gap I saw a couple, they were probably setting up their tent on one of those elevated camp sites.

Cobungra Gap
Cobungra Gap

Said hello, then turned right straight away as we did last time with Dan. I usually go around… dunno why. At the point where we met Douglas (the B2H checkpoint minder) I stopped to have a gel. First sip went down great, but after the next one I gagged. Pushed it down with some water anyway, then carefully ziplocked the packaging and headed down to the creek to wash my sticky hands, soak the bandage and fill up the soft flask with cold water. It felt great, especially since it started to really feel hot.

Swindlers Spur
Swindlers Spur

Going up Swindlers Spur was exactly how it always feels at Razorback 64. Had to stop a few times to recollect myself – my heart was about to pop out of my chest and my head to explode… I imagined listening to music going up here, but I couldn’t be bothered with switching it on. Might have helped though. The lack of food and only small sips of water made it hard to move faster even when up on the flattish part. So far I think this was the best I did on this course and only hit the hard wall at the 36 km mark. Usually when this happens, I start to dream about a beer – that is what keeps me going. But on this occasion I knew Harrietville is a bloody long way to go. I couldn’t even shuffle, because as soon as I picked up some speed, I felt sick, ready to throw up.

Got an email asking me to get something done… replied with “I am in the mountains, will do it as soon as I get to the car”. Then Otto called, asking how it is going and letting me know he’s going for a beer… I thought that’s exactly what I need right now.

So I started to make some plans while walking as fast as I could. I thought I’ll ask whoever is at Derricks Hut if they have anything fizzy. There was no one there, so I hoped someone parked at Loch Car park would. Well… Loch Car park was full of earth moving machinery. Had to step over some dirt to get over to the road. I decided long ago, that I’ll give Mt Hotham summit a miss this time and walk along the road trying to stop cars and ask if they had anything fizzy…

The drivers of the first two cars l hauled looked away as they drove by. They probably thought I wanted a lift and they didn’t want a dirty hiker in their prissy car. It was quite disappointing. I thought that rule of the Universe, when you do something good and someone else might do something good to you in return works… very bitter. A week ago I gave my thermal top to a hiker at Federation Hut, because he wasn’t well prepared for the hike. I would’ve stopped if someone lifts their hand for help. I even stopped for others when they were out there in the middle of nowhere on a bike and asked them if they were ok, or if they needed something.

Fourth car was a ute, towing a boat. The guy stopped (big click as the boat followed), and asked if I was ok or needed a lift. Firstly I thanked him for stopping, then I asked him if he had anything fizzy with him. He looked around in the car and said he only has warm water, I can have that if I wanted. I told him I do have warm water and I do have food, but can’t eat or drink it – need something fizzy. He was very sorry, I could tell. He really wanted to help. Thanked him again and said good bye. The next car I hauled was carrying a family. They didn’t have anything fizzy, either but the woman asked me if I was OK, or if I was diabetic. She had some lollies and offered me one. I took it, because she really wanted to do something good. Thanked her and said good bye.

There were two cars parked at Diamantina, no one in them. I stood hunched over the rail guard at Diamantina for a minute or two, figuring out what to do, then looked at the signs and thought that Harrietville via Bon Accord Track 12 km looks much more appealing than getting a lift or going along the Razorback and down Bungalow Spur (the sign said 23 km). I started walking along the Razorback, looking back every now and then at the road. I’ve noticed a ute, which might have been the one with the boat that stopped. I thought if that’s the one, the guy is extremely decent. I was sucking on the lolly, but I noticed that it was making me sick, so I spit it out.

The sun was setting as I turned onto Bon Accord. The sign said 5.5 km to Washington Ck. I started to calculate… something is off here. Pulled out the map to check the distances again and reassured myself that I have way more to go than 12 kms. The descent was as painful as I remembered it from the two previous times I’ve been here. I stepped onto rocks and branches that rolled, landing on my bum hard once. Hit my right elbow and saw stars (like in the cartoons) circling around my head. I’ve lost reception and knew I had to step on it to make it back as soon as possible to Harrietville – Otto was already worried…

I tried a Blok shot, just kept it in my mouth to trick the senses… it worked for a while, but then I felt sick again and had to spit that out, too. I felt like vomiting, but nothing came out of me, since I didn’t eat or drink anything. I wasn’t worried about dying of hunger – there is a lot of fat stored in my body (all in the wrong places) that could be used for fuel. So many trees and branches to step over or duck under… I scored many scratches on this descend. When it started to get darker, I stopped and took the head torch out of the pack. I heard something falling into the grass there, but I couldn’t see anything.

I had a feeling that the batteries might be low (didn’t check them before I left, because I was hoping to only use it for maybe a half an hour today), so after a while I turned the torch on… sure enough it died within 30 seconds. Stopped, looked for the spare batteries… I usually put them in the same spot, but this time I must have moved them when I shuffled other things. At this point I thought “now I am f…d!!” took everything out of the pack and put it on the ground, finally found the damn batteries and luckily there was enough light to change them. As I started to put the stuff back into the pack, I’ve noticed those big ants are crawling on my feet, on the gear, everywhere. Quickly shook them off, packed up and kept going.

I could hear the creek, but I thought that I’ll never reach it, when suddenly I could see a fluoro tape on the left (thank you good soul for putting it there). Turned left, passed the bridge, filled my flask and crossed the creek, heading towards where I remembered the track was… I took a few steps, but it was so overgrown. I looked around, went to the right. Again, the trail ended in scratchy bushes. Went back and a bit to the left, couldn’t see any entry there… no log, either. Came back again and climbed up on the steep, dusty track-like part, again to hit the bushes. Got scratched by the blackberry thorns so much, it really hurt. I took my phone out, thought I’d check where we joined the track with Tay – no reception. Tried in a different direction – the spider webs got stuck on my face… grrrr! Did a few more tries and none of them seemed right.

It looked like I’m not going to find the damn track, so I decided to spend the night next to the creek and will surely see better in the morning. I just need to SMS Otto and let him know. Reached for the phone again, and realised in a shock, that it’s not in the pocket!! I must have lost it when I fell one of the several times into the bush. I was really angry with myself at that point. Went back to the rocky part and switched off my head torch, hoping I could see the flashing red or blue light… nada!!! I sat down, took off my wet shoes and socks. My feet started to get cold, so I put the gloves on my toes to keep them warm. The air wasn’t cold, but I was wet from sweat and knew it won’t take long until I start cooling down and shaking…

Pulled out all my gear from the pack, put on the thermal top, the overpants, the Bonatti… then I started to feel cold again. I pulled out the safety blanket and covered myself with it, lying down on the rocks, using my pack as pillow and scanning the other side for any tiny red flash. I thought of pushing the red button on the PLB – at least they’ll know I am there. What if I just wait it out?! I am sure Otto will tell me off for not using it… so I did this for about a half an hour, I am not sure. Then I thought I’ll just do it. Pulled out the PLB from the pack, extended the antenna and pushed the red button. It started flashing. I put it on a flat rock in front of me with the antenna pointing up. It must have been 9.30ish.

I laid down, covered myself with the safety blanket and tried to get some sleep until the help comes. I thought if they see the location, there will be someone coming from Harrietville – that would’ve been simple and easy… the time was passing, I was half awake-half asleep, when I felt something at my toes… switched the head torch on and saw a rat running away, towards the water. WTF?! From there on I looked around more often. Fell asleep a bit, when I could hear the chopper. It was 0.21. I switched on my head torch and started packing frantically. Looked up, moved around a bit so they can see me better – then the chopper flew away. They did this a few times at different intervals, then it came back at some point, came really close. I thought this is it! But then it went away again.

I still didn’t give up on looking at the opposite side, scanning the bushes for any light, but whatever it was, must have been a vision. I didn’t eat anything or had any water for many hours now… and the food I had with me wasn’t appealing, either. The tomatoes became sauce when I fall on my bum further up, soaking the bread – looked yuck. I tried a sip of water every now and then, it was OK. Otto must be very worried by now, I thought; he must be thinking the worse… whereas I felt safe there, on the banks of Washington Ck, much safer than walking down Church St in Parramatta in the middle of the day.

The chopper came back, then away, then back again, now getting closer and lower. I had no idea what to do. First I tried to get out of its radius, the wind it was making was very powerful. Small rocks and chips were flying everywhere. Then it got a bit close to the tree I was standing under, chopping off small branches. I thought I’d better get out of there, a limb might fall on me and they’d have a casualty. Then it lowered itself and I saw someone descending from it. The guy landed on the slope, but quickly came up on the flatter part. I went there, fell a few times from the powerful air movement. First thing I did, was to thank him for coming. He presented himself as Jimmy and asked if I am Rozsa and if I was OK. I told him, yes I am and he started to get the harness ready for me.

Made a ball of the safety blanket and stuffed it in my pants. Packed up the poles and had them hanging off my wrist. As he was fixing the harness, a possum has walked by about half a meter from us, casually like “oh, someone’s being picked up this Wednesday, let’s have a closer look”. Pointed it out to Jimmy – he laughed. I noticed my right pinky was bleeding… where did I do this?! He asked me to kneel and hold him, then signalled to his colleague to pull us up. I imagined being scared in such a situation every time I saw this happening to others, but I felt safe, really safe. When we were up at the chopper, I thought “now what?!” the other officer – Nick – has pulled us in, I was on my knees, then Jimmy tapped the chair signalling for me to sit on it. It was a bit awkward in that small space, with all the harnesses clipped to everything, then the poles…

They’ve reorganised themselves, then gave me a headphone and microphone and asked me what happened. Told them briefly, then they said they are taking me to Wangaratta, because they need to refuel, and the local police will look after me. I thought, wouldn’t it be simpler to drop me off in Harrietville?! Anywhere?! I went with the flow, had no choice at that point. We soon arrived to Wangaratta, got out of the chopper and had a lovely conversation once they’ve taken my details. Jimmy said he’s got the same kind of PLB and it had great signal. Asked him to help me deactivate it (couldn’t read the small writing on the back), which he did.
I promised them a beer, then they wished me all the best and handed me over to Simon, the local police officer.

Simon took me to the station and told me they have a domestic, can’t look after me, someone will help me, just wait here. Cameron came and has shown me where the toilet is and asked me if I was OK. Told him I was ok, but I would love to call my husband if it’s possible. He pointed out a phone to me and asked me where my car was, how am I going to get there. Told him the car is in Harrietville and he suggested I stayed in Wangaratta at a motel until someone would come and pick me up. I called Otto, who already knew what happened and asked me if I was OK. Told him all is good, I just need to get back to Harrietville for the car and to look for my phone. I asked Cameron if a taxi to Harrietville is a possibility. He gave me the options: taxi centre number (called them, the guy said it would be $200+, so I tossed this idea, although looking back it would’ve been the cheapest option); and suggested the Rayley Motel (they had a truck accident the other week and this was the only place where they’ve answered the phone in the middle of the night).

Called the Rayley and I must have awaken a lady called Gloria, but she said as long as I have the credit card number, they can accommodate me… I thanked Cameron for his help (he asked what happened and was genuinely interested in it), another officer drove me to the motel and didn’t leave until I was inside the building. Hats off to Victoria Police!!
Once in the room, I called Otto, had a beer, a shower and went to bed. Only washed the socks, as I was sure the clothes wouldn’t dry over a few hours. Had a couple of hours sleep, woke up like clockwork at 5.59. Had two juices from the minibar, a shower, dressed up and checked out

Otto and Suzie called a few times and told me they are on their way, but there are roadworks on the freeway, so I sat on a bench in front of the hotel, watching the traffic, waiting for the black BMW to arrive.
Otto flew back from Sydney (had all his travel changed overnight, I guess his bosses weren’t delighted), Suzie picked him up at the airport and they drove straight to Wangaratta. None of them slept much (if anything at all). On the way to Bright they told me their side of the story… gosh!!! They had it so much worse then I did!!! If I knew this is going to happen I wouldn’t have pushed that stupid button. It’s a long story, lots of phone calls with Victoria Police and the emergency. Otto has surely ended up with more gray hair and was still stiff and angry-anxious-worried for another day.

We stopped for lunch at the brewery, then drove to Harrietville to pick up the car. Otto said “fuck the phone, you’ll pick it up another day” – I was totally ok with this. Then we drove home.

This whole two days were a huge experience for me and for my family. And Paul and Carole, because Otto has contacted them, too. Everyone was worried at some point.

The things that I took away from this:

Only activate the PLB in life-death-serious situation – it’s not worth shaking up this many people otherwise; although if I was bitten by a highly poisonous snake, I’d be kaput by the time help arrived
My family really loves me and cares about me
My family doesn’t know that I am not the kind of person who goes close to the edge of a cliff to have a better look
I’ll be taking the spare phone with me (as I used to before I had the PLB) if I am going alone, so remote and so far
Carrying the mandatory gear makes the difference, you never know when you get stuck
My training needs so much fine tuning, it’s not funny
I’ll be carrying a sip of beer with me (even if it’s ginger beer) on long runs/hikes

Gear

  • Lululemon top (very old) and the fast and free crop, socks (two pair very high speed)
  • Bonatti jacket, cheap pack-in-the-pocket overpants, poly thermal top, gloves
  • LED Lenser 5 with spare batteries – thought the Ay Up was overkill
  • Snake bandage and small first aid kit (swipes, Panadol, bandaid, Opsite Flexigrid dressings – ended up using two of the latter)
  • poles
  • PLB

Nutrition

  • One toasted bread with butter, Jamon and cheese with tomatoes (brought it back)
  • 3 pockets of trout paste packed into a piece of lettuce then into a square of rye flat bread with tomatoes – I think I had 1.5 the rest got smashed when I fell on my bum
  • 3 pockets of rye flat bread with vegemite – first two went down well at different times, but I could only have the half of the third one
  • 3 pockets of rye flat bread with butter and apricot jam – first one was a delight, had the half of the second one and the third one got smashed when I fell
  • Pre-packaged baby food x 2: Just Vegies Sweet Potato, Corn, Spinach and Carrot – this was a disaster, made me gag but the Smooth Sweet Potato Carrot Apple was really well received by my tummy
  • 1 Salted Caramel Apple VFuel gel, 1 Cool Mint Endura gel, Mountain Berry Blok Shots, not sure how many
  • Water about 1.5 l, 250 ml sour cherry juice, about 125 ml coffee with sugar (carried all these in soft flasks); I also had about 1 l of tap water in the bladder for emergency
The majestic Razorback

It was supposed to be the Razorback 64 km

13 February 2018

The book at the Bungalow Spur trail head
The book at the Bungalow Spur trail head

The plan was this: I sleep a few hours during the day, go to sleep early, wake up at midnight and start driving at 1 am to arrive to Harrietville at around 5.30 and start at about 6. I also planned to not go alone, it would’ve been much safer out there and especially the drive home; but things don’t always go to plan… some assholes have hacked the sites I look after and I needed to fix that first – no sleep during the day. By the time I ended up going to bed, it was after 9.30. I only saw mean hackers in my dream, woke up at 11.39. Worked a bit, spoke to Suzie and Evgeni (they were in Milan, wondering what the hell I am doing up at that hour) and finally rolled away at 1.43 am.

Getting out of town wasn’t smooth sailing with the road works on the Monash and Tulla and even further out, but once I was over that, I just had to concentrate on kangaroos. Stopped for fuel and to stretch out at the stations and was glad I packed some coffee in one of the 250 ml soft flasks – I could sip on that for a bit of “pick me up”. The moon was mesmerising, it was hard not to keep looking at it – so shiny and big! From the freeway at Glenrowan to Myrtleford, then after Bright I really had to focus. Nearly hit a rabbit and saw two roos on the side of the road.

By the time I got to Harrietville it was daylight. I pulled into the small parking at the caravan park end, toilet, had something to eat, geared up and got going. It was 6.25. The air was crisp, had my gloves on until Otto called. Took a photo of the house we’ll be staying in March on Feathertop Lane – Ani and Nelu can even come out with their coffees in their hands and cheer us all, I thought. As I was shuffling along, listening to Otto, a car passed me. The driver was eating an apple; we waved each other, then he kept driving. When I got to the trail head the same person was putting his hiking shoes on. We said hello and wished each other a nice day. I signed the book and hit the trail.

Shortly, had to stop to take my Bonatti off, it got too warm. Stuffed it into the back pack, extended the poles and kept going. I knew it’s going to be a long day, I haven’t done any training since L2H, but I was just happy to be out there – finally! I didn’t want to rush Bungalow Spur, needed energy for Westons and Swindlers, as well. One step in front of the other… ran the flats as much as I could, the overgrown bushes made it a bit harder, though. I saw a deer on the left hand side before Picture Point, by the time I got my phone out it hid in the bushes. Lots of birds, I even saw a lyrebird. Gabor loves them.

Bungalow Spur a tad overgrown
Bungalow Spur a tad overgrown

Bungalow Spur seemed to go forever. Last time I’ve been here it was in December, with Tay. We were chatting away back then, now I listened to the sound of the forest. Switchbacks, a bit of mud, rocks, leaves, roots… then I passed Tobias Gap. Kept looking back to see the mountains, the view was just amazing. Passed the old Feathertop Hut site, then the creek turnoff… then finally got to Federation Hut. Took a few photos, then looked at Mt Feathertop and the Razorback – yep, I’ll need to go along both today. The wind picked up earlier and it was getting cold, pulled out the Bonatti and put it on, then headed towards The Cross.

On my way up I was thinking, that I maybe should go and check out the creek at the MUMMC Hut, it’s “only” 500 m from the Feathertop track, but then I looked at the watch and dismissed the idea. Another time. The views were amazing as I was going up towards the summit. Couldn’t resist – had to take photos (this is where the bad hair shot happened). Passed the turnoff to the MUMMC Hut then saw the Stairway to Heaven (I just called it that), the track goes up like a beautiful staircase. At the summit I took a 360 degree video, checking out the line of Diamantina Spur.

Getting close to Mt Feathertop summit
Getting close to Mt Feathertop summit

I was getting emails in the meantime… one of the sites (I didn’t get the chance to fix it, yet) was restored, but I had a bad feeling about it. Checked it on my phone (so glad there is good reception up there) and it was badly hacked, I really needed to do something about it. As I was fiddling with the phone, pulling it out from and putting it back into my pocket I tripped and fell onto my left knee. Gosh, that hurt! Those sharp rocks are so unforgiving! I walked a bit, checking the damage, swearing away, then picked up the tempo until Otto called, then Paul.

Passed the Cross and wanted to enjoy the Razorback to Diamantina Spur. Didn’t really work out – more emails… I was tossing the idea of cutting it short – I must fix that site! Ran to the Diamantina Spur turnoff, turned around and headed back. I was both glad and disappointed.

As I was getting closer to Federation Hut, I could see someone laying out his clothes onto the veranda. I recognised the guy from the car, then thought I’ll need to find a place to put my pack down until I pack away the Bonatti. When I got there, I said hello and asked him where he is heading. He said he wants to go up Mt Feathertop, then along the Razorback and down Bon Accord Spur.

The Diamantina Spur turnoff
The Diamantina Spur turnoff

That’s feasible in a day, right?! I told him that’s 40 km and of course he can do it if he keeps moving. Asked him what happened to his clothes. He said he miscalculated the heat coming up and now he’s cold. He doesn’t have anything else warm with him and up there is quite chilly – next time he’ll have to bring a thermal, like mine (the Bonatti).

When I heard the word thermal, I thought I could give him my thermal top I was carrying for emergencies. Pulled it out from the pack, took it out from the plastic bag and gave it to him. Might be a bit tight, but is a thermal, nevertheless. He was very grateful for that. Asked him if this is his first time here, he said yes. Told him to watch for the fork before turning onto Bon Accord. He’ll need to keep right, otherwise he’ll miss the turn. He thanked me for that. I started going, but then I remembered I could show him on the map I was carrying. We said good bye, wished each other all the best and I got going.

As I was running-hopping along, I thought I should’ve given him the map, and maybe some food, too. I also should’ve told him where to get water, as there is nothing until Washington Creek… then I thought how could you leave without a map?!

I stopped to actually read this sign
I stopped to actually read this sign

I tripped quite a few times on the way down and frankly hated those moving rocks. Heard a larger animal in one of the corners, but I couldn’t see it. I was really focusing on not stepping onto a snake. It looked like “snake-world” there. Thankfully I didn’t see any. By the time I got back to Harrietville it was quite warm, 31 C. I quickly changed, washed up and set up my laptop on one of the picnic tables. It was quite a nice way to work. Had some food, a 750 ml bottle of ginger beer while people were coming and going around me.

By the time I finished what I needed to do, it was after 2 and time to head home. Soaked the towel and put it on the knee and the triangle bandage around my neck and drove home. No aircon for me.

Gear

  • Lululemon top (very old) and the fast and free crop, socks (two pair very high speed)
  • Bonatti jacket, cheap pack-in-the-pocket overpants, poly thermal top, gloves
  • LED Lenser 5 with spare batteries – thought I will only need it for about half an hour
  • Snake bandage and small first aid kit (swipes, Panadol, bandaid, Opsite Flexigrid dressings)
  • poles
  • PLB

Nutrition

  • 3 mini sandwiches of toasted bread with butter, Jamon and cheese with tomatoes (brought 2 back)
  • 1 small banana (brought it back)
  • 1 Peach VFuel gel, 1 Cool Mint Endura gel, Mountain Berry Blok Shots, not sure how many (had the VFuel)
  • Water 500 ml, 250 ml sour cherry juice, about 125 ml coffee with sugar (carried all these in soft flasks); I also had about 750 ml of tap water in the bladder for emergency. Didn’t drink all the coffee
AAWT towards Mt Hotham

AC overnight “miler loop” with Tay – more of a hike

09 December 2017

At the trail head
At the trail head

Picked up Tay [Alireza] at 1 PM. We stopped for fuel, then again in Bright for pizza and beer. By the time we arrived to the Cope Hut parking it was around quarter past 7. Geared up and started the long journey after taking a few pics at the trail head. Tay took the lead with an easy jog and I could feel that the pizza is going to take revenge if I keep this pace, so I asked her to let’s just walk.

The sunset was absolutely stunning on the High Plains and it was quite warm. Got to the SEC Hut while I told her about my 10 km detour in 2015 Alpine Challenge 60 km. I suggested to check the hut out. It was small with a heater in one of the corners and the floor had a hole in the middle. There were other things in there, as well, but these were the two items that stood out for me. We couldn’t completely open the door, it was stuck. Outside, next to the door, there was a box with a note in it. We took a few pics then turned towards Pole 333. This is so much different to doing it in pitch dark!! It was only three weeks ago I was painfully hopping over and into puddles, tripping in rocks on this track. Those blisters are still there, only not hurting that bad [yet].

At Pole 333
At Pole 333

I was looking forward to seeing brumbies – and saw one. Took a picture, but very hard to make the horse out on it – it was too far away. At Pole 333 we took a few more pics, put the lights on and turned left towards Cobungra Gap. It was getting darker and the view of the pole line with the sun setting behind was just amazing. We could see lights to the left and figured it must be some people at Youngs Hut. Had to take one layer off, it was too warm.

Once we were heading down and leaving the High Plains behind, the scenery and the trail changed. Not only because we were limited to what the Ay Ups projected in front of us, but the grass, the little bugs, flowers – everything was different. There were these cockroaches that were probably mating – it was a funny sight for some very long kms. Tay rolled her ankle a little, but said she thinks she’ll be OK. We swapped places, I went first – this way she could better calculate her steps and I could see the trail for myself as I would if I was doing it alone during Alpine Challenge miler. All of the sudden, I saw a pair of red shiny dots in the dark. It was a deer! We must have scared poor animal with our head lights. It took off in a hurry. At this point, the sign at Pole 333 about deer management made sense… even though none of us agreed with it.

On the AAWT
Sunset on the AAWT – was better in reality

When we got to Cobungra Gap, Tay said she could hear voices… we listened, then turned left towards the camp site, chatting away, when we heard some noises. Realised there was a tent there, so we started whispering. Why wake up the hikers? Then further down, towards the river there were more tents. The grass was wet, by this time my shoes were pretty soaked, even without stepping into water. After we crossed the bridge, I filled my soft flasks with the cool Cobungra River water, then we passed Dibbins Hut and headed up Swindlers Spur.

Swindlers Spur!!! It was hard going up, but not as hard as in the heat at Razorback. I was making a point of eating something about each half an hour and so far I was succeeding at it. The clouds were gone and the sky lit up with its shiny stars and a piece of the moon. We could also see the lights of Hotham Heights and some more on our far right. It was an interesting game guessing where they are coming from.

We got to Derricks Hut, where we could also see tents and worried we’d woke their citizens up. There was loud snoring coming from one of them and we gave checking out the water tap a miss and kept going. We’ve been chatting for most of the time, sharing stories and experiences. A long hike/run like this is one of the best ways to get to know someone. Also, very therapeutic.

The sign on Machinery Spur
The sign on Machinery Spur

At the Machinery Spur turnoff we didn’t read the signs correctly and headed into the opposite direction. I mean, it was strange going towards Blairs Hut and Dibbins Hut, but that was the only sign that mentioned Machinery Spur. I haven’t done this bit in the dark, yet and I am 100% in daylight would’ve picked the right way (as I did 3 times before). So there we were, heading down the wrong way, passing Mt Loch when I said something’s not right, the track should be different. Can’t recall that much grass on it and we should have seen the chair lift by now. Checked the Avenza map and sure as hell we were going the wrong way! Turned around and hiked back to the intersection. Said hi to Mt Loch summit again.

This is the sign we missed

I had a closer look at the sign(s). Behind the one that actually says “Machinery Spur” – there is another pole with more signs, with the one on the top “Loch Car Park 2.7 km”. This little detour cost us about 4 km and 55 mins. Once back on the track we headed towards Loch Car Park, passing the chair lifts and Race Start Hut. By the time we got to the car park, the visible half of the moon was so big and shiny, I couldn’t help myself and took a few shots – they are not good for publishing, though. There were lots of cars parked there, probably the people sleeping in those tents at Derricks Hut… We had the mandarin I’ve carried with me – it was really good, but standing still we got cold quickly, so we left towards the Mt Hotham track.

At the Mt Hotham summit
At the Mt Hotham summit

I thought the hike up to Mt Hotham would be a pain in the butt without the little orange/pink flags Paul lines the track for us in races, but going up to the top is quite easy to follow, then we had to check the pdf map a couple of times. At the summit, we took a few selfies – which is funny in the dark, because the flash really blinds you, while you do all the funny, concentrating faces – then we headed down towards Diamantina Hut, agreeing that whatever kms appear on the signs is a big lie. The distances are always longer than what is written there.

At Diamantina Hut, we noticed another tent, just behind the building. I’ve never seen what it is like inside, even though I passed this hut several times, so we checked it out. It’s a relatively big open space inside with a heater in the middle. Tay noticed backpacks in there, then we checked out the plaque erected for Eric Johnson Gravbröt and headed down to the road. There were lots of cars parked there, hopefully we didn’t wake up anyone sleeping in them. The Razorback Trail head is kinda hidden, but we knew which way to go. This was the first time I approached the Bon Accord Spur from this side and wasn’t prepared for those little uphills before the turnoff. I thought we’d never get there!!

I was both looking forward and dreading Bon Accord Spur. I’ve done it in daylight and found it not much fun, as I was constantly vary of snakes. There was no such danger at night, but anything round I stepped on sent me a few cms down the track and gave me a bit of a shock – just like when tripping, same feeling. I was happy I was carrying poles, gave me a bit of an insurance. The millions of bugs our head lamps attracted have started to drive us nuts. Tay decided to stay a bit further back to avoid them a little. Not sure how this went, but she was stepping very carefully. We didn’t talk much on this portion, I felt tired and sleepy and was probably walking like a drunk – thanks for the poles, I kept the balance somehow.

Crossing Washington Creek
Crossing Washington Creek

At around 4 I’ve noticed the sky started to lighten a bit, mentioned this to Tay. Washington Creek should be close, we could hear the water flowing for a while, even though it seemed we were so much higher… When we got to the creek, I filled my soft flasks, we put our head torches away, then looked for a spot to cross the creek at. Tay did the scouting, really. We looked at the least dangerous part, as the water was flowing rapidly in front of us and wondered “what would Celesta do?!” I’ve noticed how beautiful the stones were – lovely colours!! Then Tay just went for it, carefully stepping through the fast flowing water, balancing with the poles on both sides. As soon as she was getting out of the water I realised, I should’ve taken at least a shot of that.
I went next, with Tay cheering and taking pictures. The water was cold, but it felt really good. I could imagine those pesky blisters…

Looking forward to that coffee
Looking forward to that coffee

Once we were out we started climbing with Tay recalling her sweeper time at Razorback this year. We passed a hole on the left and wondered what that could be… a mine?! Good place to hide a body! Grrrrr!!! Funnily, there were no rails on pretty dangerous corners on this portion, but there were further up. The sun was rising and I was feeling really tired. We agreed to check out if there is any coffee spot open in Harrietville.

So glad we did, because after the coffee (and a Capi juice for me) at Morries (?) we were like refurbished. Otto called to see how we were going – he’s been tracking us all night.

Quick toilet stop, we took the wet and muddy overpants and the extra layer off and headed towards the Bungalow Spur trail head, discussing Pokemon and FIFA 2018 games and saying hello to the early riser citizens of Harrietville. Beautiful sunny morning, promising a hot day ahead (which we weren’t looking so much forward to – especially on the climbs). Getting closer to the trail head, we noticed how many cars were parked there – this must mean a lot of people at the top. Tay has signed us into the book and we started the climb, happily chatting away in the fresh morning air.

Tay on Bungalow Spur
Tay on Bungalow Spur

We saw a man coming down, he must have just went for a little stroll, didn’t have any equipment with him. We said hello and went on, without meeting a soul for a few kms. Then the school groups started coming down, with some very well mannered boys saying hello and stepping out of our way. We exchanged a few words with them and thanked them. Then more and more hikers were descending, the majority very nice. We had to climb over a few fallen trees. Everyone we told what we were doing seemed very impressed. Most of them thought we are only going up to Mt Feathertop.

As we were getting closer, it was getting warmer and we were really happy every time a little breeze hit our face for a few moments. An elderly man said “only about a half an hour” – I said to Tay “no way! We should be there much earlier” – turned out he was right! We passed the Old Federation Hut ruins, then saw the sign with the water spring. Thought this is a good time to check this out. Tay opted for a rest while I headed down to the spring. The water was flowing (after the rains earlier, it made sense) rapidly and it was nice and cool. I’ve filled in both flasks, thought I’d give one to Tay, as Kiewa Valley wasn’t (didn’t seem) that far away and wetted my triangle bandage. She said she’s got plenty of water, so I encouraged her to at least cool herself down with it, which she did, pouring some into her cap.

At Federation Hut
At Federation Hut

The flies started to be nasty as we passed Federation Hut. A family of four was there, clearly struggling with them. We told them where we are heading to Cope Hut, where we were coming from. Every time I tell people about these things, I always think that one day someone will get inspired and go for it, too. We agreed earlier, that we won’t go up to the summit (we’ve made that detour – it was enough), and that seemed like a very wise decision, especially from that point looking up to the summit.

We took a few pics at the hut, then a few more with the Razorback – majestic view!! At the Cross, there was a couple in the shade of the tree. The guy was sitting down on the grass and told us he is recharging. Tay was wondering how far the Diamantina turnoff is… I’ve pointed it out ahead. It seemed very far and it was getting warmer… it seemed Tay was very excited about getting down on Diamantina Spur and into the West Kiewa Valley. I couldn’t recall Diamantina being this rolling and with that many uphills, but being tired probably had something to do with it. The flies and the ants on top of the heat made it very difficult and so much harder than it already was. The ants would rush up your feet and bite you if you stepped onto their nest (fair enough, who can blame poor bastards?!) so it was a real quest keeping them off AND waving the aggressive flies away.

The majestic Razorback
The majestic Razorback

We saw some people on the next hill top, Tay asked if that’s still Diamantina. Yes, it was and Westons was somewhere far far away on the other side of the valley. I could smell aftershave on the way up that hill. When we got to those people, the woman was doing something with her pack and the guy was wearing a hat with the net in front of his face. He had knee-high gaters, as well. He asked me if I had a hat. I told him I don’t (I only had a beanie, which wasn’t practical to wear right then). Then he went on to ask whether we’ve done this before. I told him, yes, this is not the first time. Nice of him – concerned citizen. We told him where we are going and from where – then he understood.

Tay was really looking forward to Kiewa Valley, carefully stepping on the uneven surface. We’ve bumped into a school group. Mostly girls with huge packs. Went pass them as they told us that is dangerous down there and there are the teachers helping others. We had to wait a little while the girls were helped down the steep rocks by the teachers. They (the teachers) were very nice, keeping the troops happy and together, helping them along the way. The male teacher was so funny – he offered his hand to Tay and asked her if he could have a dance. He held my poles so I could use my hands for a grip on the rocks.

Just turned onto Westons
Just turned onto Westons

From there, it was a struggle going down; we could hear the water, yet it seemed so far away. Tay kept asking “can you see the water?!” – and I thought I could, but then it proved I wasn’t. I looped back a few times, didn’t want to get too far away from Tay, but I couldn’t stand in one spot either, because the ants would be straight on my legs and feet. The first sight of the dirt road was a huge relief. I clearly remembered from previous years doing Razorback, that Blairs Hut was on the right hand side and if one missed the turn at the big tree, could just keep going until the Westons turnoff.

We’ve filled the flasks, took our shoes off at the river, stood a bit in the water, wetted my triangle bandage, then looked at our feet being cooked. The huge blister on my left big toe has popped and now had that skin just there. Wasn’t a pretty sight. There was some logging happening in the area, things seemed different. Blairs Hut was on the left. Things like this drive me nuts!! We checked the map – just in case – and thought we might have had to cross towards Blairs, but then I said we should just keep going on this road and turn left further down. There was a sign not far away that pointed towards Westons (2 kms – yeah, right!!!). We turned left, then there was another turnoff towards Blairs to the left. We kept straight on the hike on the dirt road.

The flies were killing us
The flies were killing us

We hiked slowly, me speeding up when the ants attacked, calling them names and wearing the triangle bandage over my head, covering my face to keep the stupid flies out of my eyes, nose and mouth. This, of course meant I couldn’t see too well, so I stepped on things I would’ve avoided otherwise. The springs we passed were a great refresher, then finally we got to Westons Hut, hiding to the right. Tay couldn’t be bothered checking it out. I went behind it to double check if it was any water tap, but there wasn’t. I knew there must be a spring or a pipe somewhere further up.

The heat, the flies and the ants!!! On top of the fatigue and blisters!! I had the advantage of doing Alpine Challenge a few weeks earlier, but Tay hasn’t done any hard core training since Tor des Geants, when she damaged her quads and had to recover from that. This was her first outing since September. At least we weren’t running, we took it slower. We both had blisters, but I’ve already gone through at AC what Tay was putting up with now. I really felt for her.

I was hoping that as soon as we get out of the tree line and onto the High Plains, the ants would go away. Yeah, there were more rare up there because of the grass. I decided to step into every puddle from there, until I sank into a black mud… I have to be more selective about which puddle I step into, otherwise it’ll take forever to clean my toe nails! Tay seemed a bit relieved that we are getting closer to Pole 333. Pointed her out which way we are going and told her from that point, there are about another 50 m to the pole. At least this hike was a bit more lenient. Otto messaged me, asking how long do we have to go. Replied to him we are close to Pole 333, but the message didn’t send as there was no reception.

When I plotted this route, Strava wouldn’t let me go along Westons, but forced a straight line for about the last two kms. I calculated the times based on my worst performances, thinking if I was doing this as part of the miler, I would be pretty buggered and probably not going fast. I picked Cope Hut parking because that was along the road – Otto mentioned (later) why didn’t we go from Pretty Valley Pondage, it would’ve been much closer. He was right, but I’ve never driven to Pretty Valley Pondage and I know that’s not as straight forward as it seems. Anyway, based on my calculations, we should’ve finished in about 16 hrs. When I told this to Otto, he said bullshit – more like 22 hrs!!! And he was – again – right!! We ended up doing it in 23:02:30 with 22:39:43 moving time.

Back to Otto’s message… “yeah… 16 hours, right?!”

At Pole 333
At Pole 333

We stopped for a minute at Pole 333, like it was a monument. I guess in the eyes of many people it actually is! Just like Decision Rock at the Prom. Took a few pics then headed towards Cope Hut. The sign said 8 km, which we were really shocked about – thought it would be maybe 4???!!! In that stage and state I am not surprised. There was something white on the horizon and Tay asked if that was the SEC Hut. I assured her it was, when in fact it was a tree!!! How much worse it could get?! The sun was burning us, I have been covering my shoulders for a while, since the skin has peeled after Alpine Challenge and I didn’t want it to get burned again. 33°C!!! And those flies!!!

The pole line (that Tay was very happy about at the beginning, because they were like insurance we are going in the right direction) now seemed like an endless path – it was going on forever. Tay said maybe she should have brought some band aids with her, that might help with the blisters… me – head slap!!! I’ve got bandages!! Why didn’t I think of that earlier?! Pulled out the Primapores (they stick better than the Bandaids), while Tay sat down on the ground and took her shoes off. She stuck them on, then we were on the way. We kept putting one foot in front of the other and eventually saw the red roof. What a joy!!

That was torture
That was torture

Another 3.5 km on an easy terrain and we are back at the car. Tay was anxious because she couldn’t see the road, then she couldn’t see the car… then she saw a cyclist (on the road), which was a relief. The pole line seemed to go forever!! Checked the map how far we could be from finishing… we were about half way between the SEC Hut and the parking. Tay tried shuffling – it seemed more painful on the blisters, than just walking, so we were back to walking.

When we finally got to the trail head, we took a few pictures while the flies were driving us nuts, then went to the car and changed. Tay had some chips (gosh, these feel good at a time like this!) and Coke (enhanced with coffee) and I had a few sips of the Razorback Wheat beer. We talked about beer A LOT along these 78.58 kms. We decided to go straight (not turn towards Bright), have pizza in the Swiss bakery and get some beer from the local Sweetwater Brewery.

The finish
The finish

When we pulled over in Tawonga South just after the bakery, getting out of the car was a bit of a struggle, but we both managed the short walk into the shop. The shop owner was smiling from a mile!! Had to tell him why this is happening – he was still smiling. Then he took our order – Tay had a veggie burger and I had a Margherita pizza. To save time and energy, I had a ginger beer instead of a Sweetwater – I still needed to drive home… I couldn’t eat the whole pizza, took away the last two pieces. Put them next to the other piece from Bright and thought how good this will taste tomorrow morning…

Spoke to Otto a few times, he was really worried about me driving after that night. I kept telling him I’ll be OK – I got this. We did a toilet stop at Myrtleford, then a fuel stop closer to Melbourne. Tay was naggered, as much as she tried to stay awake and keep talking to me, she fell asleep. Otto insisted we talk every hour. Poor guy, was up all night following us on the map and now surely tired, falling asleep but worried about how I make it home. When we were getting closer to the city, there came the roadworks!! Dropped Tay off, then headed home, facing some more roadworks along the way.

Got home at 1:40. I’ve let Otto know, so he can finally go to sleep, too, then had the remaining beer (it was pisswarm), the three slices of pizza, while unpacking, and stuffing a load into the washing machine. Had to hand wash the pack and the jacket, leaving the shoes and the socks to soak (they will really stink by the time I’ll get home next Friday!!). Had a shower, set the alarm to 4:00 and went to sleep. The 1:45 hrs felt like 5 mins when the alarm went off at 4. Packed, washed my hair and took off to the airport… loooong day ahead!!

All up, so glad we did this – saw the course in the dark, been on my feet for another 24+ hrs and got the opportunity to know another lovely human!

Food

Two quarter toasted sandwiches with butter, cheese and salami accompanied by grape tomatoes
Lots of Mountain Berry Blok shots
1 piece of dark chocolate – I carried more, but didn’t feel like eating it, especially after they melted
Rice with peanut butter rolled in nori sheet – about 6-8 pieces
Rice with smoked trout and Philly (with baby cucumbers and capers) rolled into nori sheet – about 4-6 pieces
Rice with peanut butter and home made strawberry jam – about 4 pieces
1 mandarine – we shared
250 ml of sour cherry juice – finished it by the time we reached Mt Hotham
Water – not sure how much, but I tried to stay hydrated. 250 ml of tap- and the rest creek water

Gear

Usual Alpine running safety gear
Lululemon crop, top and socks
Salomon lined jacket, carried the Bonatti in the pack
Salomon Sense Pro 2
PLB