TRAILBLAZING

Day 4 – Rooftop Walk: Cope Hut to Cleve Cole Hut (28km)

Friday  February 26, 2016

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A restless night sleeping in Cope Hut.  And it was not due the noise of the resident mouse headbutting the pot placed over its exit hole.   When the alarm went off at 6am I felt like I had just fallen asleep. 

The morning lethargy did not last long. As  soon as I looked out the window and saw the most glorious sunrise I was wide awake and keen to get out there before the best light disappeared.   As we dud not need to pack up a tent, it did not take us long to get going. The moon was still high in the sky.

We did not camp out as we had a school group occupying the camping area at Cope Hut. Hence we stayed in the hut for a bit of peace and quite.  As we hiked on we passed another two groups camped out near Langfords Gap. A few kilometres later there was another group coming in from a side trail. We were surrounded, must be the week for outdoor education.

The walking all morning was really easy mainly along a dirt road with views towards Falls Creek to our right and Mt Hotham in the distance. The air was cool and the sky was clear. It was at Warby Corner, just before lunchtime that we turned towards Bogong and left the Falls Creek valley views behind.

Bogong looked daunting from where we stood knowing that we had to cross a deep valley of Big River before the day was done. It filled me with dread as the climbing of Duane Spur and descent of T-speer were too recent a memory.

We did this big dipper in reverse today and it was not any easier. Seemed to take forever to get to the river and then just as long to get back up.  Today I felt like a snail inching my way up the slope while  Hammer skipped on ahead. Just a well, as we crossed paths with the biggest snake we have seen so far. A black snake about a metre and a half long sunning itself on the trail. I froze,  even though Hammer was in front of me. We stood and waited for it to notice us and move along, which it eventually did. I have never been so happy not have been a trailblazer.

A little bit shaken we continued inching our way up the trail, a little bit more alert. Slowly, like moving my limbs through treacle, it did come to an end. And two kilometres further on we were at our destination – Cleve Cole Hut on the spur of Mt Bogong.  It took us close to 10 hours to cover the 28km distance.

I found the climb down and out of Big River particularly challenging today. On reflection I think it was more mental then physical. I spent too long contemplating the skyline of Bogong and dreading the big dipper inbetween where we stood and where we were going.  Maybe a different mental approach may have lessened the difficulty of the descent and the climb for me.

As I write this the pain of the day has disappeared. I am cacooned in a warm sleeping bag,  surrounded by silence and from my room with a view, witnessing the most beautiful sunset behind the mountains. Life is truly grand.

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Sunrise from Cope Hut

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We got away early

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Sparkling sunrise

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Beautiful fog filled valley in the morning light

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Fog filled valley West of Langfords Gap

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Bogong with big dipper inbetwen

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Mountain range after another

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Skeleton gums look stark against the skyline

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Healthy snow gums, not affected by recent bushfires

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Such a sad sight

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A tree down in the forest. There were many in the approach to Big River

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Fording Big River

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Trailblazer

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Almost at the top on T-Spur

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A rest stop on the way up T-Spur

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Remains of burnt gums were everywhere

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Sunset from the tent window