I woke up in the morning a bit sweaty and a bit off my sleeping mat. Before falling asleep I turned my sleeping bag into a blanket as it was too warm to sleep in otherwise. Despite waking up a bit sweaty and a bit off the mat I still slept fairly well. I wasn’t sure if Ewe was awake or not, but he was alert around the same time I was.
We got up and I made breakfast. The nasi goreng wasn’t as good in the morning as it had been at night, but that may have had something to do with how low on energy we were during the evening. There was a bit of packing before we ate and then shortly after finishing eating we got the remainder packed up.
Then we were on our way back. There was a bit of talk and we were a bit sore, but otherwise we were making really good progress. Ewe mentioned something about eating a mars bar (he brought a packet of mini mars bars along). I didn’t know what he was talking about, so he told me about how after waking him up in my hunt for my handkerchief and confirming that the handkerchief was important, he at one of the mars bars to spite me.
It did not take us long before we were back at the crossroad. We took a brief break before continuing. We were sore (I think I was feeling it a little more than Ewe) and the rest of the path on the way to Tarros Ladder was mostly uphill.
So on we went. Ewe was dealing better with the trek than I was, but despite my having difficulty heading back up the rock stairways and uphills I continued on as best as I could.
It was not long before we were back at Mount Derbet and heading down the path we should have taken the day prior and it was not long after that before (after another brief break at the transmission tower) that we were back at Tarros Ladder.
This was another break point for us and it was very much needed. We had been discussing about whether we’d take the alternate path around Tarros Ladder or climb it instead during our walk. We decided to climb instead.
I went first and put my hand on the first rod. I thought about it for a moment, said that I couldn’t climb up. We rested a bit more before we decided to follow the path around in order to get to Narrow Neck Plateau.
It was slow going.
At first the path seemed as though it was going to be straightforward, if a little steep in parts but it was not long before it became quite narrow and stuck to the base of the cliff face. The drop next to the path was quite steep. Parts of the cliff were undercut which allowed for safer movement, but otherwise it was a lot of cautious moving.
We continued on for a while. I was doing my best to stay calm but eventually I reached a point where I could not keep on going. The danger of the path was increasing and it was becoming more likely that where we were going was not the correct route. I told Ewe that I couldn’t go any further. He was a slight bit further ahead so he had a quick look at the path ahead and came back.
We decided to turn around.
We eventually got back to Tarros Ladder. We’d lost a lot of time along the path but we were still doing alright for time. Ewe wanted to check the southern side of Tarros Ladder to see if the path was there. When he came back he said that he couldn’t see one.
We had a bit of an issue on our hands. It felt like it was a good time to pack it in and give up. Our legs were sore and we didn’t have too much time to waste.
We decided to head to Megalong Valley and get Ewe’s mum to pick us up from there.
And so back to the crossroad we went. When we reached Mount Derbert we began following the path over but it was a little too much to do at that point. We backtracked a slight bit and decided instead to go down Little Cedar Gap.
The map we had showed that it connected to the crossroad and we figured that it would be an easier path as we had seen the start of it and what we saw was a fire trail.
The trail was easy for the most part. There were small sections near the start that involved getting around fallen trees and growth, but otherwise it was a mostly easygoing path that allowed some nice views of many trees and thick vegetation.
Once we left Little Cedar Gap and were on another fire trail, things became a little more difficult. The path was still easygoing but not as much as it was before as soon we encountered steep uphills. I began to struggle quite a lot and at a few points considered giving up. On the last steep uphill I stopped. There had been a few breaks during this part of the trek, but I really needed this one as I did not think I could keep on going. My legs and back were sore and I was thinking that it was possible that we were not going to make it out. Whilst it had crossed my mind, I was seriously considering the possibility of using the epirb.
A short back and forth with Ewe and a bit more rest lead to us continuing to trudge along. Thankfully a few minutes later we were back at the crossroad.
We kept on walking and I was feeling renewed. I’m pretty sure that Ewe was feeling the same way as we knew that we weren’t lost.
Of course stress began to seep in to fill the newly-minted void as we slowly made our way uphill along the fire trail that we were following.
There was also a a feeling of uncertainty about whether we’d taken the correct path or if we’d actually gone the wrong way. There was a sign at the crossroad that indicated the direction, but it’s easy to be uncertain when you’re tired and sore.
We reached a very small creek and I needed to take another brief break. Ewe expressed a fair bit of frustration at this which, whilst I understood was from a strong desire to be done with walking as soon as possible, was not appreciated. I was in a fair bit of pain at this point and needed a long break but could only afford a short one for if I were to stop and rest for long enough, I probably would have stayed.
We continued on and kept going upward along the fire trail. Eventually the path leveled out and there were some signs around, but few of them indicated where Dunphy’s Campground (in Megalong Valley and where the fire trail ended) was located. Still, we kept going and soon we found we were on the right path when we saw someone else.
We spoke briefly with them and they indicated that there was something nearby.
We were on a downhill at this point and moving a bit faster than before, perhaps out of a desire to be done with the walk.