Sunday, March 06, 2016
I left the Overland Track at the Pine Valley junction and walked to Pine Valley Hut, where I plan to spend two nights with a day trip to the Labyrinth. The walk was mostly flat, crossing suspension bridges through meadows and a mossy forest as silent as a crypt.
The trail was most scenic near the hut, where it ran alongside Cephissus Creek. I saw a white-lipped snake and heard what I hope was a ‘common froglet‘, since that’s the cutest name ever. On a related note, ‘common death adder‘ should not be a name. Common + death adder do not belong together.
The hut is average-sized and surrounded by normal campsites without tent platforms. The toilet was almost full and stank horribly. Two douchey locals were sitting in the hut when I arrived and having no interest in their asshattery, I pitched my tent despite expecting rain. Happily those men left and were replaced by a friendlier group of Aussies who for some reason assumed I was Swedish and asked me how to pronounce ‘Trangia’. I said ‘Trahn-gee-ah’, which was apparently wrong since there’s no ‘gee’ sound in Swedish. Fake Swede fail. One of the men recommended the Larapinta Trail. Sounds like a nice prospect for Australian winter.
A note in the hut indicated that it has mice and hikers shouldn’t leave food around. As I mentioned before, possums will steal human food (but not vegetables, according to an entry in one of the hut journals. Smart little buggers) and hikers normally store their food in the OT huts. Having once lived in a mouse-infested house though, I’m more afraid of mice than possums, though those particular mice may have become supermice from eating my vitamins. I decided to store my food in my tent in an opsak and hope for the best.
In an odd twist, one of the other hikers got lost while collecting water in the dark. When I heard him shouting, I thought that he might be a hiker from somewhere else who had gotten lost in the wilderness. It was reminiscent of that time I was sharing a hostel room with a woman who had night terrors (never again). In the end he saw the light from our headlamps and was able to make his way back to camp, so all was good. A few tense moments there though.