That photo was actually taken the day before, as we walked part of the Overland Track from the Visitor’s Center to our cabin that afternoon. We ended up taking a path from our cabin that met up with the Overland Track the first day, so we would have missed the photo op.
1st Day’s Hike: start from Ronny Creek (where the photo was taken) and end at the hut at Waterfall Valley (10.7km)
The first day was the hardest and the day we took absolutely no photos while we were hiking. The day started out gray and rainy. It ended gray and rainy. We had a steep ascent up to Marion’s Lookout, which is where we should have been able to see Dove Lake below. We were in the clouds and couldn’t see anything. This was the steepest section of the entire Overland Track. They had a wire rope to use to get up this section. I don’t remember it being overly difficult, I just wanted to get it done! From there, we hiked to Kitchen Hut, which was an emergency shelter, which everyone used to get out of the elements that day. We stopped in there for a really quick bite to eat, a granola bar and banana. We tried to warm up but we were wet and cold. I couldn’t even get my gloves back on because my hands & the gloves were so wet and clammy. Christian had to help me with my gloves. From there, we walked along boardwalk past the point where you could take a side trip and climb Cradle Mountain. It was pointless and dangerous to do any side trips that day. The rain and clouds prevented any views and the wind was so strong, due to the exposure that there were a couple times where if we didn’t have our poles to balance us, we would have blown right over. I definitely stopped to cry at one point, telling Christian that I was cold and wet. Luckily, we didn’t have too much further to go. We descended down to the Waterfall Valley Hut.
The hut sleeps 24, but that evening we had 26 or 27 people stuffed into the bunks. Everyone was cold and wet and wasn’t in the mood to set-up their tents. They had an enclosed porch area where everyone deposited their packs and wet gear. Nothing really dried out there. I am happy that my boots were not really that wet, thanks to the gaiters and rain pants. Unfortunately, my jacket and the clothes I wore underneath (fleece & long sleeve shirt) were wet. I later learned that I didn’t have a proper rain jacket, but more of a soft shell. That helped with the wind but not with the rain!
We arrived at the hut around 1 or 2pm and changed into dry clothes and got in our sleeping bags to warm up. I think the biggest thing we regretted not bringing was our down jackets. We underestimated how chilly it got in the evening and having a heavy jacket, especially that first evening would have been nice.
We tried to hang up some of our clothes on the rafters above our bunk.
We had an early dinner and most everyone in the hut was in bed around 7:30-8pm. We went to bed with the hope that the next day could only get better!