Two more big climbs today. Thankfully none of them were in snow, Roses Saddle was under a good foot of snow when we were coming over Stag Saddle so it was nice to see this clear. We were again first to leave the hut with the slowbo’s debating about the various weather possibilities as we headed out. There was a light drizzle coming down but for the most part we were okay. We got more sweaty from the climb than rain. We started out from the hut with an immediate 400m climb to Roses. It was again a pretty straightforward climb with options to sprint straight up or take the switch back route. I took the straight up route and Heather, not realizing there were switchbacks, followed me straight up as well.
From the top it was a long descent down a spur to the river. Here we had the option of hiking the flood route up and down next to the river or just following the river bed. It wasn’t very high and the rain had largely stopped by now so we went for river bed.
The river was freezing cold but never came above my socks (I’m wearing over the calf compression socks now so that has to be taken with a grain of salt). It was generally a nice walk and as we neared Macetown the 4WD track started to form on the side and we were able to move much more quickly.
Macetown is an abandoned gold mining town that used to be flourishing in the late 1800’s. It doesn’t have any population anymore but the DOC has converted it into a semi campsite (they’ve added a few portapotties). There were a few old historic buildings and a couple signs with information. We stopped for lunch here and saw a large group of day hikers on a tour pass by on their way back to Arrowtown.
We followed the 4WD track another few kms down out of Macetown and turned up towards Big Hill Saddle. This was our last climb that took us up to 1070m. On the way up we passed the tour group who stopped for a break to let us pass pretty near the bottom. Shortly after that we got a mix of hail and rain that lasted until we were at the top and then cleared up again. We had a great rainbow at the top looking out over Arrowtown.
The climb down was quite long but very nice trail. We’re in the Queenstown trail system now so these are all pretty well tramped and easy trails. We had good views on the way down and walked through some lovely patches of forest.
We popped out of the bottom right into Arrowtown and immediately hit the bakery for a pie. It’s a quaint little town with a lot of tourists but some nice looking restaurants and cafes. Even though it was a little early and we could’ve pushed a bit more we decide to head to the holiday park as there’s no freedom camping (or very restricted) in this area. It should be an easyish walk tomorrow to Queenstown still. We’re hoping to satisfy Heather’s Thai craving tonight with a decent looking place we found in town. The Gold Nugget picture below is Heather’s shout out to all the residents of Dahlonega following along.