“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
And so there we were, all four of us standing, at the signpost that was supposed to be our left turn and with noses pointed in the direction of Old Man Hut, begin the descent waaaaaaaay the hell down.
It wasn’t beauty staring us in the face. But bloody ugly.
On reflection, no hanging a left and continuing also looked ugly.
And it was more hesitation versus procrastination that had us second guessing the night before decision to only go as far as this hut.
Taking packs off, we plonked ourselves down and had a crisis meeting right there on the trail. Hell, might as well have some scroggin. Eating is a great escape when stress levels are shooting through the veins.
A recalibration discussion to entertain the thought of pushing onwards called for physical body condition checks. All good. Then we started doing maths as to how much we would progress going horizontal on the trail versus vertical, and then vertical again in the morning. Katie applied sunblock.
Even when the apprehension fear as to the technical aspect of the next part surfaced had the damn pro’s outweighing the damn con’s for pushing on. More scroggin was eaten. BClaire then applied sunblock.
We lifted our packs back onto our body frames and in our circle, all put the hands into the middle and raised them with a combined cheer. We can do this. Then waited patiently for the first of us to take the next step to knock the Rintoul’s off.
No one moved. Everyone laughed. Iain from IT led off. We followed.
Six hours later, BClaire & I wandered out of the bush at a clearing to arrive at Mt Rintoul Hut.
Iain and Katie perhaps ten minutes earlier after all keeping together until the last couple of hundred metres of final descent. Katie was sprawled out on the seat of a picnic table. Iain seated with bare feet only just having discarded his boots. They got up. We all hugged and praised each other with smiles of elation.
With a code of silence that we had all each done the thing we thought we could not do from the night before. Whatever the fear apprehension was had evaporated. There was no need to over think anymore. Or so we thought further down the trail.
The trail from the Old Man Hut signpost to Mt Rintoul Hut is just like trail notes and those who have gone before us blog posts described. Physically and mentally gruelling. However, so worth the blood, sweat and tears. Not that there was much blood or tears.
The topography was unimaginably remarkable. And hopefully the photos taken and shared does it the justice it deserves. The respect one must give it as it is not to be underestimated. Don’t attempt in shit weather. Buddy up where you can. Carry a PLB that can be easily accessible. And a camera so that you can snap a bunch of moments in time to reflect on time and time again.
And you will. We have.
Taking a fall in the last hundred metres birthed an injury under the left knee cap. There was no swelling or excruciating pain, but a mild intermittent dull ache when lifting the knee to step up. With the hope a well-deserved night’s sleep would send it packing. Along with Ibuprofen and Panadol medication.
Take that too. You just never know when you must rely on it.
I certainly found out.
This post’s last words are dedicated to Katie and Iain from IT – cheers you two for sticking with us this day. For lifting our spirits when needed. Assisting to navigate the technical parts. To banter well. To wait for us to catch up.
A heartfelt thanks from us two.