Tuesday, 8 December 2015
The Mt Rufus circuit is an 18.5 kilometre loop from Lake St Clair that was our last big training hike before the overland track. I did this with Julie in October last year and it was one of my favourite walks of that week - although probably also the most demanding as it is a long day with a fair bit of climbing in the first half and a seemingly endless second half!
But we had a plan. While the kids and I did this, Jon was going to take the ferry to Narcissus, then walk up the valley to the next hut and plant our very modest food drop ready for us in January. Then he was going to run the 30 or so kms back to the campground. A good training run for him, and a great training hike for the rest of us.
Once again, the weather was just about perfect - not a drop of rain in sight. This was slightly frustrating as I really wanted the kids to experience at least a little bit of the misery that is walking in the rain - we can just about guarantee we'll get some of that on our week on the overland! Oh well.
Despite the good weather, Zali had been fretting about this walk for a while, but once we got going (it's more the thought of it than actually doing it), she was fine. In fact they had no trouble at all really - including carrying their packs filled with warm gear, rain gear, water bottles and lunch.
Mt Rufus has sharp climb up to a false summit and a long ridge walk to get to the actual summit. That's it in the background below..
But it wasn't enough to break our spirits, especially with the promise of lunch and a break at the top..
and we were on top of the world..
The views were sensational all day. Unfortunately coming down from the top, Jett had a bit of a fall and banged his knee. This meant he was hobbling for the next 10k or so, down rough bits of track and steep slopes. He was really stoic and just kept going (of course there wasn't much choice) but it slowed us down a bit. After each stop it took a while for his knee to loosen up so we could get going again. Poor Jetty. He toughed it out really well and we made it back to the campsite after more than 8 hours of adventure. A few hours later Jon arrived just in time for dinner, having had made a successful food drop and getting in a good training run.
So now Zali and Jett know that they have walked longer than the longest day of the overland track, I think that's a really good mental weapon to have as they contemplate the challenge that lies ahead.