We made it to the Main Range! It was glorious until exactly what we didn’t want to happen happened, a thunder and lightening storm rolled in with thick rain and cloud. The rain has stopped for now but visibility is about 10-20m and we are stuck in white out in our tent.
The cloud was clearing this morning at Valentines Hut promising a nice day. This promise was kept till about 4pm with high cloud in overcast sky. We powered through the first 10km to Whites River Hut, we stopped at Schlinks Pass as it was the first Optus reception we had in 9 days! Meg passed honours, yay! We chatted to family and gfs to update them of our living not lost status.
At Whites Hut the fire was still warm and inside was a cozy place to plan our Main Range attack, walking over very exposed peaks. We planned our route, land marks to look out for and what we would do if the weather turned. In a nutshell, stay together, consult the maps/think through our decisions, stick together and pitch the tent if visibility turns bad.
We walked up an old jeep track that soon petered out into the Rolling Ground, a featureless landscape with many false horizons and low hanging cloud. Another world of grass, sky and boulders, straight from a Miyazaki movie. We ate lunch on a ledge, sheltered from the wind and perfect for lounging. We could see mountains for miles and flocks of ravens diving into the wind.
After crossing many small rocky saddles we finally made it to Conset Stevens Pass, with its two valleys disappearing on either side feeding the mighty Geehi or Snowy Rivers. We started our climb of the spectacular and regal Mt. Tate, 200m above us. We passed huge snow drifts, mountainsides running with snowmelt, small scattered ponds full of mell camouflaged frogs. Our path became steep and upon reaching the top we saw that all was not well. The rest of the Main Range was under thick cloud and thunder was rumbling.
We quickly descended past the Bluff and finally got wet as we were climbing Mt Anderson. Hail fell as we crossed a huge snow field on a steep slope, probably something in finer weather I would a second guessed. We kept walking down down to Anton-Anderson Pass and in a small break in the rain pitched the tent. The fog was rolling in quick.
We have now been in the tent since 5.30pm, reading allowed to each other and cooking in the vestibule. This is a small 3 person tent and we have quite sizeable hips and seem to be preforming an amazing feat of human/pack tetras. That we are still laughing is hopefully a testament to the great time we will have on the PCT next year. We are hard girls.