So, before setting off from Healesville and heading north, a lot of effort went into getting my legs ready. This included daily strengthening exercises, regular hikes, building up to full pack weight and terrain variation, and a weekly session with Healesville’s Rapid Recovery Sports Injury Massage Clinic. I certainly wanted to get my trail legs a lot sooner for my northbound BNT attempt - plenty of people had warned me how tough the Victorian section is.
It’s now day 24, Getting on Track BNT Take 2, and I’m gradually weaning myself from rest days every second day. Do I have my trail legs yet? Bloody good question! I have no idea, but I hope so, because I am loving every minute of life on the Trail.
With that said, here’s what I’ve been up to since Mt Terrible.
Mt Terrible to Knockwood, more ups and downs in the rain and the mist. The sun came out to say hello after lunch and I was rewarded with some glorious views coming down Moonlight Spur Track.
After taking off some layers, I noticed how bad I smelt. Two creek crossings were great to soak my tired legs, but not enough to improve my aroma. Upon arrival at the camp spot I quickly set up and got my supplies from where I'd stashed them in a tree hollow. I decided to use the food supply bucket to have a good wash and was totally naked and soaped up when a 4WD came into camp. I smiled and waved but he backed away and took off.
Climbing Lazarini Spur was a good opportunity to build my trail legs, as was the climb up and over Mt Skene and down to Rumpfs Flat. Low cloud obscured what would have been spectacular views, but the mist was kind of cool anyway.
I was a little worried about Rumpfs Flat. The guidebook warned it is a popular spot for campers, especially on public holidays and it only dawned on me that it was the Melbourne Cup long week-end when I was walking down Middle Creek Track. I was also worried about my resupply bucket. This one was a big one - 8 days worth, and I’d hidden it down a wombat hole.
As I arrived at Rumpfs Flat, sure enough, it was busy but I had a delightful rest day. After a good sleep in, the campers I’d rudely interrupted the day before when traipsing through to collect my food supplies asked if I wanted a coffee. Caffeine? My eyes nearly popped out of my head with excitement. Steve & Martha and Simon & Raylene (with their two kids Allyson and Caitlin) shared their campfire and hospitality for the day. Each had identical campers, very well set up, and clearly enjoyed getting out and making good use of them. The campers both had brilliant solar panels (with great deep cycle batteries) so when they offered to charge my devices, I gladly accepted, along with the couple of beers and cheese and crackers; what a great afternoon. Steve and Simon busied themselves collecting firewood and preparing their spa. Yep, a Spa! Water from the creek pumped to a copper gizmo in the fire that was fed all afternoon, with the hot water then filling the spa. Nice!! These guys know how to camp in style!
The next few days hiking took me through the valleys of the McAlister and Caledonia Rivers. I enjoyed the dozens of river crossings - glad that I had added river crossing shoes to my pack for this BNT attempt - and was rewarded with spectacular views with the very steep spur climbs.
Howitt High Plains was a real highlight; from the climb up that seemed to never end and the gorgeous views, through to the hike down the Dry River Track to Wonnangatta. I know, all going well, there are still several thousand kilometres to go, but the Howitt High Plains and the Wonnangatta Valley will be pretty hard to top.
I decided to camp near Guys Hut, a great little spot on the Conglomerate Creek. I had just pitched my tent when a 4WD arrived, with a young bloke leaping out asking if anyone was using the hut. I think he was pretty excited when I said I didn’t think so, “Well I’m claiming it then” he replied. Riley, Selina and Liam unpacked what looked like enough booze to sink a battleship and settled in for the night. They all seemed like a great bunch and let me share the hut so I could cook my dinner out of the rain. Whilst cooking I was spoiled with a beer and a couple of kebabs - yum, something I didn’t need to rehydrate!
At 47 years young, Chris Anthony, who is married with 3 wonderful kids, tried his hand at being an adventurer for the 12 months tackling the BNT.