Sponsors: Macpac.au, Strive food (Tassie), Safelaces, Moxigear, Hothands
The Trek: 64km over 7 days, 20kg pack, hut to hut through the rain, wind and snow.
We were told by the staff at the Cradle Mountain Visitors centre that there is currently 2-metre-high snow though it has lowered somewhat from the rain it is still a difficult day or two of hiking. Experienced hikers have turned back in the first 24 hours and there have been others stuck in huts for multiple days due to the blizzards. We figured we would do we best efforts, and that we would go anyway.
We arrived, it was raining we did the obligatory starting point photos and off we went. After a few hours of hiking uphill we started seeing snow covered board walks which eventually became completely hidden in snow forcing the group to rely on the pole markers. The poles are 2 metres tall, in some areas the snow was so deep that you would only see about 20 centre metres of the pole stick up, whereas, some of the foot prints from hikers previous were knee to thigh deep.
We arrived at Kitchen hut, the first hut of the trail, we had a couple of hours to get to Waterfall hut destination which we justified that we could make at the slow pace of 1km per hour in knee deep snow with 20kg packs on with no snow shoes.
However, about an hour and half into the hike, the clouds start to darken. We could hear thunder and the wind started to pick up. Only to realise we all wouldn’t make it to the hut before the storm hits us. The group walk for another 30 minutes finding a flat open area to set tents up and as we drop our packs to set up tents the sky opens over us. The thunder rumbles overhead and the wind makes it a monumental effort to set the tent stakes in the snow without the tent blowing away from us.
The wind and rain batters the tent the rest of the night, I’m quite concerned it will tear the tent pegs and cover but the tent stays. Some of the ladies settled, got warm and cooked meals while others just tried to sleep it out, anxious of the following day.