Sunday, November 06, 2016 – 20 km
Visibility was only 10-15 metres when I woke up this morning, but the fog was dissipating by the time I left the hut around 8:00 AM. I had two route options: the higher official route, or the alternate route (about 1 km from the main trail) on which the hut is located. Figuring that the higher route would be more scenic, I slogged up the hill. The landscape was pretty in the fog, like a scene from a storybook.
The trail entered a pine forest. The scent was nostalgic from hiking in Canada, but walking down a road with pines on one side and a sprawl of native vegetation on the other was strange. Some of the pine forest looked natural, but the trees in other parts were clearly planted in straight lines and looked bizarre when viewed from certain directions. And then I wondered whether any of the forest genuinely looked natural, or whether I was just viewing it from the wrong perspective.
The elevation profile on the map shows this leg as being substantially longer than the distance listed on the Friends’ website. So which is correct? Neither, of course! A landowner withdrew access to Freeman’s Hut and the trail has been re-routed. The beautiful re-route follows the Wirra Wirra Ridge. I saw a calf on the way up; it was nice to see a cow-thing gamboling peacefully with no fear of humans.
I wasn’t happy when I arrived at Centennial Drive Campground and realized that I had missed going over Mt. Crawford since the signage had directed me down Mount Road. I know that the campground was closed at some point due to logging operations, so maybe the signage on the road is from that time. The campground itself was huge but vacant. My pleasure at seeing fire pits turned to disappointment when I found signage stating that wood fires aren’t allowed after November 1st. Just a few days too late.