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Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Overland Track - Day 1 - Lake St. Clair to Pine Valley Hut
I got up at 6:45 and packed my sleeping gear, then went around to the visitors centre to register for the walk. There was a thermometer next to the registration bench which read just 1°C – Nice!
I eventually set off about 7:30. The track went into forest, initially Eucalypt, but later Myrtle. The track was amazingly rough for Australia's premier track, with heaps of rocks and tree roots, and parts where people had formed mistake side tracks which looked like the main path.
I stepped on a wet tree root (foolishly) only about an hour and a half in, and my foot of course slipped off. I pitched forward, stumbling to my hands and knees, but was OK. As I was dusting myself off though, I realised the waist belt of my pack wasn't right, and discovered that one of the stabiliser straps had ripped out. My pack was now a fair bit more unstable and uncomfortable to wear. Just what I wanted on the first day!.
It took about 2 hours, 45 minutes to get to Echo Point, where there is a jetty and a small hut. I was very sick of the tree roots by the time I got there, and had also had a couple of very brief off track excursions, where the open forest floor had many mistake sidetracks.
Another hour and 45 minutes, and I arrived at Narcissus Hut, where I had lunch. The duckboard section just before the hut had great views of Mt Olympus. I had lunch just outside the hut, then continued on for an hour to the Pine Valley turnoff.
On the track to Pine Valley Hut, there were some good views of Mount Gould, and as I neared the hut, after 1.5 hours, there was very lush Myrtle forest again. It had been Eucalypt from Narcissus Hut to this point.
The views from the hut's helipad were very good. Some others arrived, back from day walks, and we started the coal stove, which they got glowing red hot. I had some dinner and went to bed early.
The weather had been overcast, but came out sunny in mid afternoon. It was a long day's walk, of about 26km, with a very heavy pack.