Today is the longest day of the hike at 17.5km. I set out early and began crossing some open moors on the now fairly standard boardwalk. Thankfully from time to time I got to walk on real ground – it makes you feel like you’re actually hiking!
Today is cold and the moors are surrounded by mountains, which gives it an awe inspiring feeling.
I love great open areas with mountains near and close. it gives you the sense of size and just how small you are. The low cloud hanging around the mountains give that mysterious and powerful feeling. With the gentle drizzle I walked on, Mt Pelion West standing out ahead of me in its rocky glory.
The moors roll on to a forest covered knoll. I picked my way through on rocky steps.
On the other side the boardwalk continued again to the
Forth Valley lookout, down a glacial valley.
The trail then heads downhill towards Frog Flats for some time crossing some areas of mud, including one extreme mud patch. Hikers here are instructed not to walk around these as it widens the patches and destroys the vegetation. Tree branches are often thrown into the mud to walk along and for the most part ensure you don’t get too muddy. The extreme patch however was just crazy. You couldn’t walk around as the mud stretched off to the sides as well. A branch lay half way across, but when I walked to the end of it my boot sunk in ankle deep. Thankfully for my boot cuffs, no mud went inside. I did eventually find a path around the mud and continued, with mud caked boots.
The trail descended and finally came to Frog flats for a few hundred metres of plains before the trees cover over again and the trail heads uphill along the muddy path. After a couple of kilometres I reached the Pelion plains under the awesome flat topped Mount Oakleigh. If it hadn’t been wet, I’d have climbed it, but alas I have to miss this one.
Pelion Hut is a large one, sleeping 60. There is a side route onto the track for non-Overland Track hiking – you can be on the track for a single night without requiring a permit. With a hut so large, I managed to get a room to myself.
Tomorrow, I’m off to Kia Ora.
The Lone Trail Wanderer