Sunday, May 08, 2016 – 22.05 km
I woke up at 10:00 PM, 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM, and rain was pouring down every time. My tent floor soaked through beneath my air mattress, but nothing else got wet. The downpour continued through breakfast and I knew that today’s walking would involve exposure in traversing Mt. Arden, so I considered whether to take a rest day or leave later and stealth camp somewhere. The next designated campsite was 22 km away and I didn’t trust my ability to cover that distance quickly on the HT (I’m scarred for life from the stream-walking yesterday). I was bored by 8:30 AM though (so quick!) and the rain had petered away to drizzle, so I packed up my wet tent and left.
Soon after the campsite, a big red arrow pointed in the wrong direction. Ignore the arrow. The trail climbed out of the forest into terrible wind that rushed up the mountainside in big gusts of rain and mist. I considered turning back – I hadn’t seen anyone on the HT since the first day, so no one would be popping up to help me stave off hypothermia if I broke an ankle – but I was warm despite being wet and the walking was mostly on road, so I continued.
After wild winds on Tasmania’s Overland Track, I bought safety pins to secure my pack cover using the bottom loops on the cover and the mesh back of my Exos. Today was the first chance I’ve had to test it, and it worked great.
As the exposed section of trail stretched on and on, I got used to the misery of walking in wet and windy weather, though I regretted missing the views. My boots were soaked through, my socks were sodden and I felt a blister forming.
Finally the trail descended out of the wind and followed markers along a hill to easy stream-walking along a pebbly streambed. It’s amazing how good cruddy weather feels after extraordinarily cruddy weather. There were puddles but the creek wasn’t running, as per usual for this area. I saw wallabies, but not the yellow-footed wallabies that are supposed to live in Buckaringa Gorge. To be honest, I’m not a fan of wallabies or kangaroos. There’s something bizarre about how they hop around, don’t @ me.
After the creek came a dirt road. Walking on the road was actually harder than the stream-walking since my boots got weighted down by mud. The rain finally stopped though and flies emerged from the ether as soon as a single beam of sunlight poked through the clouds.
I managed to dry my tent floor and set it up sans-footprint on the platform at Buckaringa North Campsite, which is located in a forest near a road. Creepy scenery, but pretty sunset.