Jeepers! 28kms, 900m of climbing takes the PCT girl-gang approximately 10hrs and 3 breakdowns. My first breakdown/tantrum took place early on after a steep down hill to a streaming crossing, where I was the only gang member unable to rock hop the stream. Putting my books on on the other side proved difficult as there were biting ants everywhere. I flipped out, jumping around and had to be helped by Harry and Meg. Amidst tears we got closer and closer to the towering Jugungal and finally made it to O’Keefs Hut. What a great hut! 1930s newspaper wallpaper takes you into a bit of a time warp, great Jugungal views, tables, chairs, a life of luxury! Pity we were only passing by.
Continuing our all day hug with Jugungal we contoured its base passing beautiful valleys and climbing quite high to catch a glimpse of the Main Range just before we met Round Mountain Road. Kosciuszko looked so big, bold and shiny with its huge patches of snow clinging to many slopes. Only a day away, we felt so small and far away.
It was hot and windless walking to Grey Mare Hut, sweat was pouring from us. The longest 7kms of my life. We finally reached the hut mid afternoon and ate lunch by a stream. The hut was a 100m climb from the valley floor and we were having none of that, I was already in a very fragile emotional state and had another tantrum which was more cathartic than the first and i seemed to pick up afterwards, but not a pretty site.
After lunch we started along Valentines Track to our destination Valentines Hut. We crossed 5 streams most of which we had to take our shoes off for. Harry disturbed a large black snake after jumping a stream and we saw 3 more after that (a snake pit). After another climb we made it, slightly delirious, to the Geehi River. The river was a proper snow melt mountain river (my favourite kind) full of huge boulders and in snow melt would be a white water torrent. While crossing we met a northbound AAWT hiker, the first person we had seen in 2 days, who told us of rain and thunderstorms tonight. Slowly over the afternoon clouds had rolled in for the first time all trip and at lunch it rained for 5 minutes.
We did our final climb and descent to Valentines Hut singing songs for our morale, only to be greeted by our final obstical. Valentines Creek was about 15m wide and the concentration used to cross it broke Harry who burst into tears which developed into a panic attack on the other side. We pushed our limits, today was hard, but as harry likes to say “we are hard girls!”. In juxtaposition, Valentines Hut is super cute, red all over and even has hearts painted above the windows.