The watch alarm rang out from the corner of me bunk.
However, it was an intentional ‘Ops’ instance. There was no shuffle to extinguish the beep but a prompt move to disentangle one out of the sleeping liner and bag with a purpose.
Apparel was put in pitch darkness, easily found from having strategically placed it before the head torch was turned off the night before. No snoring again from above, their head torch down the undies was working!
As I approached the sliding door out onto the veranda of the hut, a shadow came towards me from the other side. Then a second. It was comforting to see others had the same purpose and we exchanged salutations when the glass was slid back and opened.
The fella who slept on the veranda itself was awake. I apologized for entering his bedroom. He had arrived with his ten-year-old son on dinner time last night. They had covered in one day what we had in two to arrive at Ghost Lake Hut from the Lyell car park. A fare distance for short legs.
More bodies shadowed vertical.
Eyes were scanning the horizon to the east. To watch the sunrise.
Patience is a testing waiting game.
As the rainbow spectrum began, I entered the hut to wake up BClaire to come share the experience. Tin, Jeana and Brendan followed. Practically the whole hut did.
Whispers and the clicks from camera’s shared the odd squawk from somewhere out there. Weka’s probably. They were abundant on the trail, minding their own business with an inquisitive sense of nosiness.
There was a point in the respected stillness when suddenly, voices and morning ritual business erupted. And people headed off in the direction of where night became morning, back on the trail.
Day 3 of 5 had to be the most colourful 12kms trodden as far as trail variety.
From the hut, we board walked past the biodiversity lake on our left. It looked opal green with rock snot than healthy pristine drinkable water. A short hump and then a huge zigzag down section. We were ahead of the first bikers. You knew they were sharing the trail with the echo of brakes as they had to navigate the tight corners. And some of them were tight.
We had descended quite a bit before we encountered them. And the view back to the hut was an ‘OMG’ view as you didn’t see the cliff face from the veranda. And what was below if you ventured too far in front. A straight drop!
There was a little eerie valley mist before we ascended onto the skyline ridge. Balance on a bike is paramount, more so as you finish that part to then must carry your bike vertical down 304 steps to join the trail again down the other side of the mountain. Not for novice cyclists however, an adrenalin rush for as those using pedal power for sure.
We were back under forest cover for the rest of this days walk, although, finished early again.
The bonus, a wash in the neighbouring river to clean cracks and crannies in-between blood sucking sandflies love bites, more playing of cards, and exchanging trail stories with other fellow beings sharing the hut.
Dad and son were already at the hut having a rest. They were continuing. Cripes, how could you not feel for the young one being under the type of parentage he was experiencing? 25-30 kms a day is tough on adults, let alone on a young teenager.
Who’s turn, is it?
Other cyclists doing the trail in a day arrived and left. Some red faced. Some fit as. The runners who arrived were booked in to stay at the hut also. They had run in from the Lyell car park and were tomorrow running out to the end. Two marathons in two days. Holy sh.t.
Not us though, we like slow adventuring now.
Part of the body maintenance plan at our ages.
The sun set happened without any fuss, not like the morning’s sunrise.
And thus, we would rate Ghost Lake Hut as one to return to for two-three nights stay.
A heavenly view to die for.