Tuesday the 7th of April – Schofields Hut to Brayshaws Hut

This morning I’m awake at 4.30am and decide to get inside the hut and start a fire. I spend some time trying to dry my gear whilst making breakfast. It has been raining since just after midnight this morning. The other trekkers wake up slowly and quite late, soon the hut is crowded again. They are all nice people and we get along even though they are much older and probably all retired. I admire their courage, going camping and carrying everything they need. They seem to know a fair bit about camping gear and there are a lot of discussions about the weight of some of the latest products available on the market.

However one of them, let’s call him “grumpy” decides to comment on the amount of stuff I carry and advises me to let go of a few things to make my bike is lighter. This advice is not really welcome coming from a person who has no idea how the Bicentennial National Trail is like and probably no clue about bikes. I spent months working on the lightest setup, considering I have to be self reliant and I’m travelling alone for up to a week without access to re-supply. I’m upset about that comment and the way he patronised me, I would have preferred to engage in a open discussion on the topic.

Once I’m on my way the scenery is just splendid. There is a choice between the road and the official trail, I choose the trail and I’m rewarded. It keeps getting better, more beautiful and with more wildlife. About 15 brumbies observe me and run away when I approach. What an interesting encounter. I can also listen to the beautiful songs of the lyre birds who can imitate pretty much anything, they’re probably in the mating season. The coming climb is very easy and the surroundings are amazing.

Circuit Huts Trail landscape:

Wild horses at Circuit Hut Trail:

Lyre Bird singing near Oldfield:

After a while I reach Oldfields Hut. It is rather nice but it feels lonely here. Two kangaroos watch me while I swallow my lunch, they don’t seem afraid at all. I decide to push on.

Another climb is coming and I easily make it to the 1,600 mark. The last peak of my trip. From now on, there will be some undulations, but I’m done with the high country. Time to go downhill, it has started raining again but I happily keep on riding, I’m finding that my rain equipment is working rather well.

Bimberi wilderness last peak?

I have a lot of ground to cover if I want to reach a Hut. Being quite wet, I’m impatient to get to a Hut, make a fire and cook a nice warm dinner. I have no time to waste and I don’t even take the time to read the route notes properly. I know I have to push on and take very little breaks. Eventually I run out of energy despite swallowing nut bar after nut bar. These undulations should be easy, but they’re not  – they are killing me! My leg is aching too.
Some of my energy is spent trying to stay warm in the rain and I’m near exhaustion by the time I make it to a Hut. Once I arrive I have a bad surprise, there is no firewood and everything outside would be wet anyway. I quickly set up the tent, but then things go wrong. The tent had been damaged before my departure and tonight the guy rope hook snaps when I set it up. I cannot finish setting up the tent. The rain intensifies and I get back inside the hut. My tent will have to stay outside, half broken, until the next day.
I now realise how cold I am, and despite having a roof over me, I get colder and colder. This could lead to hypothermia so I proceed into changing clothes. It takes me a while to reverse the process. I find some huge boots that I borrow so that my feet are insulated from the ground and slowly get better and start to make dinner. A possum smells the food and almost jumps on my dinner table. I find myself chasing it away, snapping it with a glove. It’s a cute animal, if he wasn’t after my food, he could keep me company.
All this time the rain hasn’t stopped and the roof is leaking. It starts with one leak, then a second one, then a third until I cannot find a dry spot for my sleeping mattress and bag. This is no fun at all.
In the back of my mind I’m considering some ways to fix the tent issue. I do not have a shelter anymore once I leave this Hut. If the rain stops I can probably ride all the way to Canberra and from there I need to contact the tent retailer and beg for them to send urgently a replacement tent. In the mean time I’ll try to get it temporarily fixed. I might have to just give up on that tent, and buy another one. This is a serious piece of equipment, and I’m not willing to buy something cheap last minute.
Despite this unfortunate event, I keep thinking that I might actually be lucky. The tent could have fallen apart anywhere on this trip. Could have been 4 days away from a town and those towns don’t even have camping shops. Now I’m only 60 kms away from a Capital City. Surely I will find a solution. It might cost me time and money but it ain’t that bad. I just hope I can now get some sleep in between two drops of waters coming from the roof, and a hungry possum. Tomorrow can only get better, if only it could stop raining.

Statistics:

  • Departed: Apr 07, ’15, 07:54AM
  • Distance: 74.0 km
  • Elevation: + 1531 / – 1695 m
  • Max Grade: 17.3 %
  • Total Duration: 10:19:39
  • Moving Time: 05:43:35
  • Stopped Time: 04:36:04
  • Avg. Moving Speed: 12.9 kph

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