Day 9. 18km to White Horse Hills campground.

Left at 7.10am after best night’s sleep so far. I was on my new mattress and didn’t have to blow it up every 2 hours and shared the hut with only Glen who hardly scored at all.

I was away at 7.10 before the 2 guys and presumed they would catch me on top of a mountain. I walked along a flat track for a few kms smelling the eucalyptus trees and occasionally a dead kangaroo, black tailed cockatoos kept me company on the fine morning.

I could hear trucks and large machinery working well before I saw the large cleared area to my left. I had read that the track went through a mining area so I was watching the operation trying to work out what they were mining. I stopped to take a photo of the new plantings around the perimeter, pleased that this was happening to counteract the bush that had been felled.

The further I walked the more I realised that it wasnt a mine but was the local rubbish tip. (landfill, refuse centre). That explained the dead kangaroos I had been smelling!

By 9am I was ready for a break and found a good log of the side of the track to sit on. I remembered to stomp and stamp my way to the log to scare off any snake and other critters.

I checked my app and saw that I had made a mistake and had missed a turnoff 1.5km back. I was so busy watching the site that I had missed it. So now I was a grumpy woman on a mission to get back to the track. I damn near ran back alongside that refuse tip reminding myself that I was now in charge of directions. I didn’t have Rebecca or Cameron with his smart watch that called out if we were off track. I was the little blue dot and I was supposed to be on the red track. I was only 800 metres from where I should have been as the crow flies but I am not a crow.

Watch where you are going Karen.

I caught up with Steve and Glen to find that Steve, the faster one, had made the same error as me but Glen had come along and got him back before he had gone too far. That made me feel better. I wasn’t the only one to get it wrong.

Steve took two wrong turns

We played leap frog for the rest of the morning with me being very careful at each turn. Steve took another wrong turn which made me feel even better. Am I horrible for being happy about other people making mistakes?

Anyway I arrived at White Horse Hills camp at 12.50. My aim for the day was 1pm so even with a 3km detour I did well. Four days of running behind Cameron has done some good.

Steve and Glen stopped for a drink and a toilet then headed off to do another 15 km. I had my lunch, a wash and found 1 tick on my tummy which I removed successfully. I lazed in the sun feeling pleased that the buzzing flies were not wanting to land on me. Maybe I smell so bad that the flies won’t even land on me. Nine days without a shower wearing the same clothes will do that to me.

I was about to drop off to sleep when an E2E S2N man arrived. He was on the home straight and had lots of hints for me about what was coming up. He also told me that the flies were buzzing around looking for a mate to copulation with in mid air. Very clever I thought. They will then go and lay lots of maggots so that in a couple of weeks time the place will be teaming with flies. Something to look forward to. I will now go and put my food bag in the big plastic bin.

He also took great delight in telling me that a python snake lives under one of the bunks in the next huton the top of Mt Wells. These Aussues sure like to scare us Kiwis.

There are nice raised camp spots around the hut that reminded me of my hiking in Patagonia with my friend Frances. So I rang her and had a good chat.

Tent sites
Some people put their tent up on the sleeping platform
At this stage I am just curling up in the corner.

Today’s tally. 1 tick, 1 emu, 1 kangaroo, 1 wrong turn, 1 mountain and one rubbish tip. Warm day perfect walking weather

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