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MCG – SCG Yatra, Day 23

Murray Gorge - Threadbo

This was going to be a tough day with the highest hiking in the 52-day walk. Starting the walk from a 531 meter above sea level at Tom Groggin, we would need to reach the peak of 1586 meter above the sea level at the Dead Horse Area. In simple words, it meant climbing over a kilometre before beginning the downhill walk with few smaller rises and falls ahead of arriving in Threadbo. This was Shekhar’s first day as the pilot of the support vehicle and he copped the toughest day in the entire walk.

I was going through a lot of water as the excessive sweating was draining my body. A ute with some official logos pulled up beside me. The driver asked me if I was alright. Josh told me that he travelled from Tom Groggin to Canberra because he was responsible for road maintenance. He said that as much as he would like to, he wasn’t carrying any cash to donate. He gave me a food voucher ($9.80) to purchase groceries at Woolworths. When Shekhar and I stopped for our first break, Josh on his way back from Tom Groggin recognised the van and brought us a case of bottled water. Thank you so much Josh for your kindness. I did need a lot more water on that day than I had anticipated. A big Thank You!

Before reaching the ‘Dead Horse’, hundreds of thousands of dead trees could be seen on the hills, on the slopes of valleys for kilometres. Trees in all shapes and sizes but all totally dry and dead. I am not sure if these trees were dead before the devastating bushfires of 2019 and their dryness may have contributed to the fires or they died because of the fires. It was a scene you would like to forget. After another break to take deep breaths, it was such a relief when we finally reach the ‘dead horse’. Cold and windy conditions with snow laden mountain peaks brought the wind chill temperatures to 2-3 degrees Celsius. However, the cold weather was ideal for the walk and I didn’t mind it at all.

When we reached Threadbo, Shekhar and I were both hungry and thirsty. From the hwy, the exit to Threadbo is on a downward slope and windy road that eventually becomes a straight road along the Threadbo river. While I walked down the path, Shekhar was ahead of me and it started to rain. Within a minute, it started pouring down. Shekhar didn’t know where I was and I didn’t know where Shekhar was. It was so difficult to communicate because of the rain was so noisy. Shekhar was looking for a place to park the van in a town where he had never been before and when the rain is so heavy as it was on that day, the simplest of tasks become monumental challenges. When the rain eased up, Shekhar called me up and told me that he had finally managed to park the van.

Threadbo is fairly small in size, a seasonal town that comes to life in winter. The rest of the year, hardly anything happens in Threadbo. With a low number of visitors as it was the case on that day, only one chair lift was operating to the top. A local businessman told me that just one restaurant was open at that moment. Shekhar brought me a jacket from the van because it had become quite cold after the rain. We both walked to the restaurant and ordered lunch. It was a good quality vegetarian food but at monopoly prices because there was no competition. It was perhaps human nature to exploit the situation to maximise profits if and when the opportunity presented itself. The only open restaurant in town was doing just that.

After taking our lunch, we walked on Friday Drive along the Threadbo river to the place where the van was parked. We got back on the hwy and drove towards Jindabyne looking for an authorised camping place. About 8 Kms from Threadbo, we pulled over and made an online booking to reserve an unpowered site to spend the night. There was a waterless toilet and to wash, there was Threadbo river. But we were happy that we had a safe place to stay the night. Anticipating a few cold nights ahead, we organised quilts to add to the blankets that we were using for a comfortable sleep. We had simple dinner in the van and went to sleep.

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Dear Brother,you are almost 1/2 way their.So proud of you, you are doing a great job for a great cause.I want to thank Satyajit and Rohan for being your pilot and especially Shekhar Malhotra for being their to support your father,so proud of you. Wish I could be their too, Good luck stay healthy.

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