Hacket Hut to Old Man Hut – 19kms
I set off on my own at 7am this morning. We said our goodbyes for now and wished each other safe travels. It is a shame we can’t continue on together, after months and months of planning and 8 days walking together but again we all know it was the right decision.
I started by following the Hacket River and had to cross it several times on the way before a massive and steep 900m elevation climb to Starveal Hut which is just above the tree line. I got up there pretty well and only took 3 hours. I drank three litres of water on the way up and I was soaked with sweat from head to toe. I realised I have excess food now and was hungry so I had a cheese and peanut butter wrap at the hut. A couple of other hikers Hayden and Natasha left Hacket Hut at 5am and they were still at Starveal having a rest when I arrived. They were surprised how quickly I had caught up to them. I filled my water bottles before heading up for the next climb to the top of Mt Starveal and then Slaty Peak. The views really opened up then and it was absolutely amazing. The best day of hiking I have ever done by far. Also one of the hardest.
I was going to stay at Slaty Hut but was there by 1pm so decided to push on to Old Man Hut. It was another five hours but I was feeling up to it and didn’t want to sit at Slaty for the rest of the day doing nothing. Also, there is a bit of wind and rain forecast for tomorrow afternoon so I want to get to Old Man so tomorrow I can get over Mt Rintoul before it comes through. Mt Rintoul is the highest point on the trail through Richmond Ranges at 1731m above sea level. I have had to change my schedule around because of it but have gained a day.
It was mostly easy undulating ridgeline from Slaty but towards the end there were several rock faces to scramble over or around. I was getting really exhausted by this point and desperate to finish the day.
Tomorrow will be much like today with another massive climb from the hut to top of Rintoul and then another to Purple Top. I’m expecting around 9 hours. Today was 11.