The southern hemisphere is the best place to see the Milky Way Galaxy and the stars in general. The cool mountain air devoid of light pollution made the bright ribbon of stars visible most of the night. I don’t have my good camera with me so no photos, sorry. They were still there when I set about boiling water for breakfast. I think it’s time I spend some money to get a really good camera. I love photography.
I wanted to make it to the small mountain village of St Arnaud today. It promised pizza, showers, laundry, a bed and a food package I sent to myself. But I had no idea how long it would take me to get there. I woke at 4.30am and it was just light enough to see when I started hiking.
The trail passed through mountain valleys that looked more like the red outback mountains of the Central Australian deserts, or desert mountains of California, complete with stunted trees and desert like grasses. The landscape was so unlike other places on this trail. I guess that’s why this part of the Richmond Ranges are called the Red Rock hills.
10am photo below
I made good time to the first hut, then sped to the second hut. The weather was warming up much like a desert and my consumption of water struggled to keep up. It wasn’t long till I entered the long wide mountain valley and had the final push to town.
The last hour or so was a road walk. By 3pm I reached St Arnaud. I had made very good time but the lunch pizza stopped being served at 2pm. I’d have to wait for the dinner pizza. That gave me enough time to shower and do laundry.
I was joined by Jazzus for my first pizza. We met in day 1 and hiked the first 4 days together. He left right after the pizza to hike 10km to the first hut. For the second pizza I was joined my Michelle whom I hiked with for several weeks, Jonas whom I went canoeing with and Micheal and Yves. Two large pizzas and two beers, yes that’s right I ate 2 large pizzas. Expensive but I was ravenously hungry.
Only 8 days ago I started hiking on the south island and already I’d covered 254km with over 10000 vertical meters (33000ft) of elevation. If I kept this pace going I’d finish the trail by the first or second week of February. I’m not sure I want to finish that early. With a full belly, all I can do now is think of sleep.