Vagabond John, who needed a 'trail name' deserved one last night. Not only did he arrive at Beavis and chopped wood and started a good camp fire, he maintained it all night. As the frogs belted out their croaking chorus at midnight John was out there wrapped in his sleeping bag feeding the fire. I almost tripped over his one thong when I went for a loo break at midnight, nonchalantly dropped near the wood pile. John incidentally keeps a comprehensive hand written diary, has a good beard on him, drinks real coffee in the morning and enjoys the odd roly... I would baptise him as John the Flame of the Bibb. And did I mention he is restoring an S Series Jaguar as a long term hobby at home in Perth.
In the morning Roz and Alan, and Rod all left around 730am and when we left at 830am John was busy tending the fire. Last night we had also discussed the 'trail alternative' he had cleared with a man called Mental Illness. As we walked up the fire trail he told us to turn right at the gate on top of the hill. After showing him my GPS he thought I knew what I was doing but in fact I thought I was on trail. Marilyn knew we were following his directions but I assumed we'd get to this gate, look left and continue on the Bib. After 50m steep up it dawned on me we were not on trail but we decided we'll go with the unresearched alternative. Thanks to the GPS it was a piece of cake and we saw what John and the legendary Mental Illness had cleared. I think we shaved 500m off today's trail at least.
Some seriously good ups and downs, lunch at Donnelly River, which we will roughly follow for the next three days, stacks of mushrooms some log bridges, single trail and fire trails, and voila we appeared at Boarding House hut about 3pm an energetic 19kms walking from Beavis. No one at the hut, we have it all to our own.
After lunch each day I have been swapping my heavy scarpa boots for my five finger Vibram bare foots. Though we use 600ml water from my pack for soup it seems the boots tied to my pack weigh a ton, and more than 600gm... The relief to my feet at lunchtime is instantaneous and satisfying. I hope the barefoots make the distance with me.
At camp we typically get into our down jackets. Not sure how people survived without them, bloody cold! Last night down to 1 degree C according to the thermometer in the hut.
Most people seem to have a Jetboil stove for water, which like the down jacket I wonder how we survived without it in the past...