Another great night in another great hut. We had the hut all to ourselves all night so were able to spread the mattresses out and enjoy stretching out a bit. We didn’t get disturbed by any creatures in the night either. As we have a shorter/easier day today and were expecting the weather to be better we allowed ourselves to get a later start than usual to avoid arriving to early in the afternoon at the next hut. We slowly packed up and enjoyed a long breakfast before setting out with the sun just breaking through the clouds above us.
We started with some bouldering over a small saddle. These were pretty large boulders and we were very much jumping from rock to rock trying to balance without snapping our poles.
We reached the top and quickly realized that this was very much what the day would be. A lot of up and down over various gullies with small stream crossings that join the larger river. The notes described today as sidling, which it is, just not as flat sidling as we’d hope. It was great to finally have views and for the first time in days we weren’t soaking wet and freezing within a few minutes.
The trail continued on the martian like terrain of the Red Rocks crossing multiple saddles before we saw the hut for lunch.
We passed another NoBo right before lunch wearing boots and pants and not looking like a thru-hiker, so we didn’t trust anything he said. After lunch we continued on to the next hut which will put us in position for a hopefully short day to St. Arnaud tomorrow morning.
The hike was a lot tougher than we expected. The day was hot which we were very unused too and there were some tough descents and climbs into and out of the various valleys to cross streams. There were many times where we thought the hut would be just around the next hill but then still could not see it. Eventually we hit a marsh and could see the hut in the distance across from us. It was still 1km to go and we just slogged through the marsh not caring about getting anything wet, just trying to get to the hut.
When we did hit the hut we found it packed with tents also set up outside. Turns out a few families had come up for the night to introduce their collective 4 – 8 year old children to the wilderness. They were a very nice group and gave us two bunks in the hut since the kids would be in the tent. The kids were extremely active dashing around and throwing various toys while Heather and I just sat there and attempted to regain our thoughts after a tough day. Thankfully we’re all on the same sleep schedule and they were in bed and asleep as early as us.