It got down to a freezing minus 3 degrees overnight. It was the worse sleep Ambles had, he was so frozen cold, he stuck his feet through the arms of his jumper but still his toes were numb. He said he almost felt like setting up the tent in the wee early hours of the morning. I could feel the icy chill coming through my sleeping bag & liner. The outside table had a layer of ice on it. We slept in to well after 6am. Ambles face was covered fully with his beanie & his sleeping bag up to his chin. A sight not often seen with him as he is usually too warm in the sleeping bag.
Us & Emu were up first reluctantly getting our breakfasts. Ambles with every item of clothing on including rain jacket & rain pants😊. Me & Emu stayed in our sleeping bags looking like a couple of big worms at the table. But soon we had to brave the cold, my hands suffering the most becoming painfully cold & numb as I packed up. Kirsty hates the cold & was very unimpressed with camping in freezing conditions, she felt the cold also through their tent. Can agree with her on that! It was way too cold for me! Emu was first to leave with his turtle called ‘Squirtle’ hanging off his backpack. He looked at his watch & goes, “I was suppose to leave 6 minutes ago!” With that he was off, his ProCam attached to one of his hiking poles as he does a vlog of his hike.
Kirsty & Gijs left before us, we had a late start at 8.45am! I set off at a brisk pace to warm up, feeling the sun on my face felt bliss. My little Galicia bell chimed away merrily now feel from the confines of the backpack rain cover. We crossed Albany Hwy & left the noise behind, the first 7 kms flat & easy before the climb up our first hill – Boonerring Hill. It was sadly all burnt out by some bushfire or prescribed burn. Not leaving much green vegetation. I took off in front to do the short spur trail to the summit. Kirsty had slipped & was nursing a sore behind. The path is quite slippery in places don’t I know it! The summit was windy & cold but with 360 degree views around.
Ambles was well in front as I rejoined the track & heading down the steep descent, off the hill then a long flat part before going up the second hill – Kimberling Hill. Here I finally caught up with Ambles & I just kept plugging ahead up the hill with our food. He was not happy with me as he wanted lunch. But only 3kms to go! Unfortunately Kimberling Hill goes up, across, up, across for damn forever! You wonder just when the hell the climb up will be finished! My right knee was hurting, my toes hurting in my boots. We were here 3 years ago when a bushfire burnt all of it. The BTF put up blue ribbons to mark the track. All there was were burnt trees & small regrowths. Today was unrecognisable a different hill entirely full of green, lush trees, shrubs & wildflowers galore. In fact the plants were taking over the track! So nice to see & how quickly they recover after a bushfire. I saw few remnants of blue ribbon on the ground.
So I arrived into White Horse Hills Shelter 2.05pm. Ambles laboured in at 2.35 looking worse for wear. Kirsty & Gijs were already set up. But we all had lunch after 3pm, dinner a couple of hours later! Ambles went off with his axe cutting wood for the fire, then lost his axe & had to look for it. He said if he couldn’t find it then at least his pack would be a bit lighter. Gijs helped him locate it. Then he organised a fool proof system for keeping his toes warm tonight, was quite proud of his innovative idea. Ambles even mentioned how appreciative he was of my food preparations awwwwhhh!❤️ Emu had left us a note on his way to Mt Wells. It was just the four of us huddled around the campfire until 7pm – bedtime. It is not unusual for one to stand talking by a campfire dangling a pair of underwear to dry them out. The simple life out here! Ambles almost fell in the toilet as it has a lean to it, the door self closes loudly & he stumbled backwards almost into the toilet seat. But the campsite is lovely nestled between two hills, surrounded by woodland. Was very peaceful & we had the Shelter to ourselves. It had been a tough 16.4km hill climbing day & we were both exhausted! I was happy to crawl into my sleeping bag at 7.30pm.