2nd – 3rd July
By Zoë Marshall-Means
How good is solo tramping? Really feeling the serenity, time with your thoughts, the niggling feeling that you’re going the wrong way, the knowledge that they’ll never find your body here, wondering if Shaun would cry at your funeral, would they even have a funeral without a body? So good. Anyway, basically I had a reasonably recent concussion and wasn’t meant to be doing exercise, so I couldn’t do a cool tramp with my friends, so I decided to do an easy solo mission.
I do a fair bit of tramping, but it’s shit like this that really makes me question why I spend so much time doing something I’m so shit at. The walk into Cedar Flats hut is easy, it’s on track, not much elevation, should take about three hours. It should not involve bush bashing. No. But hey, I was plodding along the river, and one of those big DOC triangles that indicate where the track joins the river (i.e. where you STOP walking along the river) had fallen down, and I was on the look out for blue ducks, so I just kept on walking, until I reached a gorge. I thought to myself, it’s chill, I’ll just climb over, then I remembered this was meant to be an easy walk, and surely DOC wouldn’t intend trampers to be climbing this shit, so I checked my map. I was a good way further up the river than I was supposed to be, so cursing my stupidity I walked back to find the track. I spent a good 20 minutes circling where my map said the track should start, to no avail. I gave up, from the gorge I bush bashed straight up, in a straight line, until I found the track. Seriously the biggest waste of time I’ve ever done.
So, after making it to Cedar Flats hut in a disappointing 4 hours, I decided to continue to Yeats Ridge hut. The map showed a track up a ridge, so I walked off to do that. What I didn’t find out until I read the hut book at Yeats Ridge hut, was that this Permolat track hadn’t been maintained in years, and what the map showed as a track, was yet again, a bush bash. How good.
This was the point I started imagining my funeral. Not in a morbid way, just in a ‘it’s getting dark’ way. It was chill. It was fine. At least that good ol’ fear of death made me walk fast, beating the Remote Huts time up there. The concussion was loving that steep ridge.
My frustrating day was rewarded with the coldest night of my life. Going to bed at 6:30 and lying there shivering for three hours is NOT the vibe. And waking up to a frozen water tank, and frozen boots is also not great. But whatever, I walked up and over the tops, only fucked up once, when I realised I’d been enjoying them too much and walked way too far along, and slid all the way down to Crystal biv coz I wanted to have a look, then, on the advice of the hut books, and with just a little ptsd from Yeats Ridge, took the ridiculously steep Crystal Ridge back down to the DOC track that lead me back to Cedar Flats hut, a 7-ish hour day, good times.
Hot pools at Cedar Flats, best I’ve ever had, a warm embrace at the end of the day, honestly can’t fault them. Walked out the next day, met up with Max and Shaun after their tramp, and was walking kinda funny for about two days after my ‘easy’ tramp. All in all, no one died, so I’d call that a success.