Within the first 10 mins I was my first Wombat of the day. It came right up to me while I was on the boardwalk. It was pretty busy out there will lots of other hikers heading out for day hikes. I was number 33 of the Overland Hikers, but everyone else had left much earlier in the morning. They limit the number of people on the hike each day to 36 people during the summer months and the busy season.
The walk today has been stunning. I keep having to remind myself to stop and look around and look backwards! It really was so beautiful. I crossed streams, passed a mini waterfall, saw moss covered trees.
I reached Kitchen Hut (5.5km from the start) which is an emergency shelter, only very small) here I swapped out my hiking boots for my trainers. And swapped my big heavy pack out for my day pack. It was time to tackle Cradle Mountain!
I bounced up the first stage feeling very light and very free. After about 25 mins I reached the blue sign signalling the direction of the summit, this is when the rocks started to get a little larger, the steps a little bit bigger. I carried on - this was still very manageable. Another 20 mins later it was another level of scrambling. 4 points of contact needed, they were big boulders, with steep drop off, and limited grips. It was challenging.
I had to sit down a few time just to collect myself and cheer myself on. I was starting to feel intimidated by the scrambling and it was taking me outside my comfort zone. I think the other big challenge was doing it solo. I was very aware of how dangerous it could be. I didn’t want to make any mistakes or get myself into a situation I wasn’t comfortable with.
When you are alone doing challenges you have to be responsible for your own safety. I persevered a little bit longer over some really hard terrain, after climbing up and over a hard section there was a dip and then another climb up. The doubts were really starting to set in for me. Should I be doing this, what if there are no more people?
What if I make an error? What if I slip? What if I have an accident….
I was starting to freak myself out.
I stopped and need some time to collect myself. At this point I decided I didn’t want to go any further, I just didn’t feel comfortable- maybe if I had another person there maybe I would have felt different, maybe if I had a spot tracker I would have felt more secure.
I didn’t make the summit and I’m ok with that. I decided I needed to make the best decision for me in those circumstances.
On the descent back down, my decision was confirmed. I got to one section and didn’t know how to continue. How had I even made it up this?
I had 5 point of contact, 2 feet, 2 hands and my bum. I was starting to slide and I didn’t have a good grip for my hands and there was no where for my feet to go. My hands started to slide down the rocks, I was slipping. I managed to do a half turn and get my tip toe on a rock and slide down on my bum. Not elegant at all. My adrenaline spiked and I could feel my legs shaking uncontrollably- I was ready to get down.
About 40 mins later I made it back to Kitchen Hut. I had freaked myself out and needed a few moment before carrying on. I had about another 3 hr walk to make the shelter tonight.
🥾As there is some maintenance work happening on one of the huts there was a 2.5km diversion/approx 1 hour walk to make it to the next hut. There was a lot of descending and a lot of steps. The hut is right next to Lake Rodway - it also has brand new toilets you can still smell the paint!!
⏰ I arrived about 7.50 pm and it was busy - lots of people cooking inside,
lots of tents set up. After saying hello to everyone it was heaven to take my my hiking boots and swap them out for my trainers. I headed up stairs and grabbed a spot on the floor.
🛏 Air mattress and pillow blown up, sleeping bag & sleeping bag liner set up. Now for some food…. I had a very basic cheese and crisp wrap!
🌑 I can’t wait to get into bed. It’s been a tough 8 hrs of walking today! Bring on hiker midnight.
Watch the vlog NOW!!!
📚 My hike is being sponsored by @ciceronepress - Cicerone has a new guide book which launched on the 15th Feb - with everything you need to know about hiking the Overland Track 😀 Head to www.cicerone.co.uk for more info.
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