Today I was in for a treat, but I didn’t know it yet. I’d met a pair of hikers on the trail the day before and they’d given me a number of side trip suggestions. For today, they’d recommended a side trip to Crucible lake. I first came across two Japanese ladies who were fanning out large and wide and seemed very glad to see me. I thought perhaps they were lost but it turned out that they were trying to avoid getting their feet wet. I knew there was a river crossing coming up so I just put my feet straight in. I tried to convince them to do the same, but they sat down to remove their shoes and I trudged off chuckling silently in my head about how silly that was.
When I hit the river crossing a couple were enjoying their breakfast and I said hi. This resulted in the guy offering to piggy back me across the river. I should have accepted! Little did I know it, but we would meet again that night.
It was a good, steep climb up to crucible lake. Not knowing exactly what I was walking towards I was beginning to wonder where the lake was as I was almost at the mountain wall. Then I saw the moraine and trudged up it to be rewarded with this sight and the whole valley to myself!
Turns out it’s a popular day trip for tourists to be flown (!) into Siberia hut, head up to crucible lake and then either fly back again or catch a jet boat back from Kerin Forks. Thankfully I got an early start and hardly saw anyone.
I grabbed my belongings from Siberia Hut before lunch and headed for Kerin Forks Hut further along the track. This involved my deepest river crossing of the trip and is not for the faint hearted it seems (I thought it was one of the least scariest I’d done!). I’d done my research before leaving home so when I arrived near the confluence I set out studying the area and found the place to cross at that I was looking for.
The trick was to find the deep section and get in at the start of it and make sure you’re out before the small rapids start. Oh and make sure your pack is as waterproof as you can get it. I barely had my toes on the river floor as I crossed, so there was no way I could have carried my pack across above my head (not that I’m strong enough for that even without the water!)
I met a lovely German family and hung out with them for the remainder of the afternoon. We were entertained by a german pair who showed up closer to dusk. They were attempting to cross the river but clearly didn’t know how. They were trying to cross directly behind a large boulder and just before the rapids! I went down and shouted out some instructions. When I told them the water level would be chest deep on them they went pale and decided to get out and stay on the other side of the bank.
Later on the couple from the riverside that morning turned up. He piggy backed his girlfriend through the river! And then they gave me all their spare food since they were exiting the next day. Woo, I could do another side trip now! (They gave me a giant bag of noodles and a large bag of instant mash, which may not sound appetising to you but I can assure you that 4 weeks into my hiking trip this was gold. I think I ate double portions the next day!)