This beautiful "ghost gum" is in front of Mt Jagungal.
[Photo credit: Mika Kontiainen at his finest.]
Mt Jagungal is one of my favourite mountains in Australia. I love the whole Mt Jagungal Wilderness Area - well the parts that I have explored, and I have explore that area about five times.
Funnily enough, I haven't yet summited Mt Jagungal. But there is always something to strive for next time.
Anyway the intended loop a couple of weeks ago was clockwise from Round Mountain Hut through the fire trails for some 38 km. I had intended to summit Mt Jagangul during that time but for ...
A thunderstorm, hail and rain.
When I woke up on Saturday morning after seven times waking through the night, I was - let us say - a little nervous on the 36.5km loop I needed to complete. It was a warm and clear night with a waning moon. I woke up in anticipation at 5:30am, ready to leave by 7am. The day itself was only cumulous clouds on the western and north-western horizon and a light breeze was blowing.
By 11am sudden thunder and clouds, brought on by strong winds, unleashed hail as I rushed into O'Keefes Hut - was was so fortunately only about 200m away from me. Thank you to Kosciusko Huts Association for O'Keefes Hut.
I took the opportunity to eat lunch at the hut and dry out my clothes while the hail subsided.
I realised there was no point sticking around. I still had about 20km to walk and as long as I didn't go high up, my clothes and provisions could protect me from a lightening storm. Thus, on that day, summiting Mt Jagungal alluded me again.
So I set off in light drizzle that in 30 min once again became rain and then lighter hail and rain for the next one and a half hours. Clothes were drenched but once again I thought, I've got good gear and as long as I keep moving, hydrated and fed, I could get through this.
And that's what it was like for 4.5 hours. One foot in front of the hour, constant pace through water, more water and cloud. Sometimes I sang to the birds. Sometimes I sang out loud to no one. Mostly I was thinking of small goals I could aim for - six in total - to keep me motivated walking at a good pace.
At 4:40pm and 36.5km later I got to my car.
And the gear? A great shout out to Australian manufacturers here. To MONT for a beautifully designed Supersonic jacket. with the hood most functionally keeping out windy rain and hail from what matters and the cut excellent when having a full pack on and the hydronaute doing what it needs to do. To WILDERNESS THREADWORKS for my UL Luxmore Lite 48L custom made backpack. It is a great piece of kit and it survived a rainy day. Yay! And to the US ZPACKS for the Plexamid tent. It is remarkably sturdy for 480g and quite easy to put up and pack away.
It was a good day. It was like NZ, and I was happy my body and spirit coped. Maybe I can do this TA thing ...