It’s the start of day 4 and we both had a good night sleep in our cabin at Reflections Holiday Park on Burrinjuck Dam; it’s amazing the difference a mattress and a hot shower makes. This morning I need to get up early to head up to the office to post on social media only to discover I have good signal in the cabin so I am very pleased about that as it’s a cool morning. This morning the birds have been replaced on our porch by kangaroos wanting to be fed. The kangaroos are fat and lazy, and I even saw one eating laying down with about as minimal effort as possible. It is no wonder they’re so plump.
This morning we meet Dean the park manager at 8.00am for an interview for the podcast and then he will drive his boat and us across the lake to the start of our walk for the day. The boat ride is nice and smooth and takes us around 10 minutes to our drop off point at Cathedral Rocks. Dean tells us that the dam level is around 32% and that at full water the Cathedral Rock is under water by about 5 metres. Dean also tells us there is another group of hikers following behind us which must be the group I was aware of prior to starting.
The start of the walk sets the scene for the day as we gradually make our way uphill away from the dam. We only see about five cars for the entire day and most of those are on the outskirts of Wee Jasper. Very pleasant walking at this stage. We also pass through our first private property and there are trail markers everywhere to make sure we stay on track.
We stop for lunch on the crest of the hill and enjoy spectacular views over the rural valley. After lunch we press on to the Fitzpatrick Track Head. We arrive there just before 2.00pm and while this is an exceptional campground that has showers as well as a potable water tap we decide to press on after topping up our water. The army has a training course on and at the time we get there they are all out bush doing rock climbing and abseiling but we talk to the designated chef who is minding the camp and is kind enough to give a piece of fresh fruit each. Even with this large group the campground is big enough to hold everyone comfortably.
We top up our water bladders as well as one of our 2 litre spares just in case we don’t find water. This section is 11.3 km until the next campsite and water source, and is rated hard which is an understatement. To start with the trail is a bit confused just as you leave the campground but we follow what we think is the obvious route and find the trail proper not that far away. The track is almost all up will with a gradient of about of 1:10 or worse for much of it. I’m carry just on 21-22 kg of pack weight which includes my share of 8 days food and 5 litres of water and given how unfit I am at the moment I’m feeling it.
In addition to being a steep section, the track is narrow with steep drop offs in some areas. In heavy rains this section of the trail would be treacherous and would require slow and deliberate foot placement. At around 4:15pm we reach a flat area below the saddle having done just over 5 km of very very hard track and decide to call it quits as we are both well and truly stuffed. We camp on an area that has very obviously been used before as it’s been cleared of sticks and rocks. There may be other sites but I doubt that they would be better. We set up camp, have dinner and are asleep just before 7.00pm which is a late night for us.
It’s the start of day 4 and we both had a good night sleep in our cabin at Reflections Holiday Park on Burrinjuck Dam; it’s amazing the difference a mattress and a hot shower makes. This morning I need to get up early to head up to the office to post on social media only […]