Day 2 – Snowy River, Heartbreak Hill & Charlotte’s Pass
Day 2 was tougher – and longer – than we expected. But also the best day out of the 3.
Waking up and sticking my head out of the tent was such a great way to start the day. It was cool, and damp from the overnight rain. Looking down into the valley on one side, and Wilkinson’s Creek on the other, really made me appreciate the beauty of our location – and was a reminder of why I’d wanted to come here in the first place. It was so quiet, and I felt like we really were having a big adventure – exactly my intention.
We took our time having breakfast, and packing up camp, then headed back up the trail towards Albina Lake. After passing what we’d already done yesterday, we kept heading up and up, until we crossed the windy Mt Lee (with the second of the lakes – Club Lake) on our right.
By this time we’d started crossing people who were doing the day loop from Charlotte’s Pass. This was a popular loop, with the majority of people doing it in an anti-clockwise direction (we were going clockwise). I really enjoyed the friendliness of most people we were coming across. A quick stop, hello/where are you from/where are you heading was a fun part of the hike that I hadn’t expected. An instant rapport built from a common interest and appreciation of the beauty of what we were surrounded by.
Before long it was time for the slog up Carruthers Peak. Well – it looked like a slog – but when we were actually doing it, it didn’t seem too bad at all and was over pretty quickly. We’d decided to do the side trip to Mt Twynam, so we dropped our packs near the main trail and headed up.
The views from the top (quite different to the views so far) were well worth the extra climb – and to be honest I was more than happy to have my pack off for a while – even if it meant a climb. We took it in for a bit before heading back to the main trail.
It was then onto Blue Lake. Once again we opted to drop our packs near the main trail (I was making my way through my M&M’s pretty quickly by then, but my pack still had a bit of weight in it!). As you can see, Blue Lake is pretty amazing, and once again a chance to take in the natural beauty of the area.
After Blue Lake things got a bit tough for me. We were heading down, down for quite a while. It was hot. The sun was beating down on my neck. And I could feel the full weight of my (overstuffed) pack straining my neck as well. After the first river crossing was when I started to really struggle, but it was one foot in front of the other, heading closer to our intended destination of Charlotte’s Pass (and the first toilets in 2 days!). By the time we got to the Snowy River crossing, I found it tricky to get across the rocks. Firstly I was knackered. Secondly all I could think about was the fact that I was knackered, so I wasn’t concentrating on crossing the rocks. Till I concentrated too much….and freaked myself out a bit. The shaky legs kicked in, and I had to accept help across the final few rocks. Those who know me, know I don’t like accepting help – but I have to learn to accept that times like that it’s necessary.
After the river crossing, on the left, is the most gorgeous patch of beautiful green grass. The absolute perfect spot for chilling out, having a snack, and a bit of a sunbake. Also, for checking out the hill up to Charlotte’s Pass (and putting it off as long as possible).
We’d been told about this hill the previous day – Heartbreak Hill. Let’s not sugar coat this – this hill is a killer!! BUT good news is that it only goes for about 20 minutes. But that’s 20 minutes that’ll have you wondering why you ever thought this hike was a good idea! Also – at the top of this hill are the most glorious drop toilets you’ll ever see. At least that’s how they felt after not having seen a toilet for 2 days!
As there was no camping at Charlotte’s Pass, it was then back onto the trail to find somewhere to camp for the night. After seeing the climb to Seaman’s Hut (our intended stop), we picked a spot in the valley below. We were told the following morning that we shouldn’t have camped there (but then another parks car went past and said nothing), so we still aren’t too sure? I think you’ll agree it was a pretty special spot to camp?
We were both really tired by then – and really hungry! We were having a few issues with getting our stove started, then we stopped a lovely couple from Sydney who helped us get it going so we could have a hot dinner – even though they were on a time crunch to get to their camping spot for the night. This is another example of the great people you come across on hikes like this – and I enjoyed having a chat to the guy, while his wife was helping get the stove started.
It was sunny and warm until around 9pm, so we enjoyed sitting outside enjoying our beautiful camping spot, and drying off our clothes – and reminiscing on our great day.
Total Distance (and trail details): Muellers Peak to just past Mount Stillwell, via Charlotte’s Pass. Also side trips to Mt Twynam & Blue Lake. Approx 25km.
Highlights: The people – so great to swap stories and have a chat along the way. Our camping spot for the night – spectacular.
Lowlights: Heartbreak Hill. It sucked.