Hooboy! These hills are crazy. After today, I'm thinking Southwestern Ontario is pretty darn flat.
Photos: 1) Cloud coming over Green Lake as the sun goes down, 2) View down to Green Lake (I know, it looks blue) from the top of the world, 3) Tarns we hiked along with the grasses that saved my life more than once, 4) I MADE IT!!!!
Yep, up early yet again. Are you sensing a theme yet? To give you an idea, on this trip, "sleeping in" means alarms get set for 7am. Mind you, by the end of the day, we're so worn out from dragging ourselves up and down hills that we're usually in bed by 9:30pm. A lively bunch are we :)
To start our Boreland Saddle hike to Green Lake in the Hunter Range, we were in some pretty nice forest, mostly beech trees (don't quote me on that), until we came out above the tree line. A lot of tussocks, grasses, nasty plants like spaniards and madagari to stab you when you step wrong, but scenic. Always, always scenic which makes up for the blood that spaniards draw.
After a while of hiking uphill in the sun with no shade because there aren't any trees, I found myself staring at what appeared to be a black diamond ski run (sans snow) above me. Much to my amazement, the rest of the group were in various stages of making their way up it. Seriously! Since I'm almost always at the back of the pack, I have a very good vantage point from which to state that. Eventually, I overcame my urge to run screaming back to the van, hoisted my pack a little more comfortably, and started staggering straight up to heaven, zigzagging somewhat as my pack shifted and the path veered.
To be honest, I really doubted I could make it up that section. That's how steep it was. But I did, and finally joined the rest of the group on top of Mount Burns where we had lunch at 1634m above sea level. V-I-E-W-S!!! Could see for miles and miles once I stopped hyperventilating and my legs returned to not feeling like 2-ton jelly.
After a rest, we tripped and stumbled our way down through tussocks, spaniards, and long grasses that halted my uncontrolled, inadvertent, rapid descent more than once. Through the rainforest with Green Lake visible to the left, we dragged ourselves closer and closer to Green Lake hut, run by the Department of Conservation people. Oh, I didn't think I would make it. Do I really need to climb under this tree then over that one? Walk through mud? Sure, who cares if my feet are dirty at this point. I can't really feel them anyway, and they hurt like hell when I do since we've been hiking nearly 7 hours at this point. Sandflies? Meh, they never bite me anyway.
Some went swimming when we finally reached the hut; others, like me, were too tired to remember their name and tried to make an effort at unpacking their bags to dig out their portion of communal food for dinner and breakfast. Some delicious pasta with oil, cheese, and pesto into which I nearly fell asleep, then it was time to help Louise with the dishes. Small problem here: Sandflies like her. A lot. And we were washing dishes outside. Eventually, my job became drying the dishes and keeping the sandflies off her while she washed and danced to get rid of them. We found it pretty funny, but had a bit of a crisis when we couldn't get the pesto out of the bowls that were to be used for breakfast in the morning. You learn to eat pesto-flavoured museli without batting an eye when you're hiking...
Dishes done, we spent the evening learning card tricks and doing Tim Tam slams with Milo. Oh, gooey chocolately goodness!! I miss you. We shared the hut that night with two older hikers from the UK who put up with our giggles at their farts that everyone could hear since we were sleeping in one big room.