When I woke up this morning, the weather was fine, but I knew from the weather forecast that it would not stay so. At least I got the chance to let the tent dry (more or less). Before leaving Rosebery, I went to the supermarket to buy the food I would need for the next 7 days. This added probably 3-4 extra kilogrammes on my bike, which was a bit unfortunate because this day would be one of the three days with the highest cumulated elevation gain of the whole trip. However, I was not worried because I had had some rest the day before and one month of training had made me much stronger. The serious stuff started immediately with a steep altitude gain of about 300m. Just when I reached the top, the weather became suddenly very bad and I had to negotiate the steep and difficult descent to Tullah under pouring rain, loosing all the elevation I had gained in no time. After 10 flat kilometres, the rain stopped but the road started to climb again, and it basically lasted for 45 km (with a few short flat and downhill sections) and an elevation gain of about 700m. Since I knew perfectly what was ahead of me, I rode slow and steady and everything went fine despite the heavier than usual bike, partly because most of the climb was well graded. During the climb I overtook a young couple of fellow cycle-tourers, Andrew and Alice. As it is often the case when you meet other cyclists, we stopped and talked together a few minutes. I turned out that we were planning to camp at the same place near Lake Lea, which was the last free camp spot before Cradle Mountain National Park and his expensive campground.
The three of us arrived together at the campsite and we had a really nice chat about the places where we had been with the bike, our lives, etc. Andrew and Alice have already travelled a lot around the world by bike and it was really nice for me to hear their adventures. Being originally from New-Zealand, Alice could give me precious advices for the good hikes to do there. Moreover, the weather had become sunny (but cold), which made this evening even more enjoyable.
After a very cold night, I took all my time to pack my gear the next morning, having less than 15 km to bike to reach the National Park. After a few days in a row of bad weather, mister the Sun had finally decided to show himself again, and it was meant to stay so for a couple of day! Perfect for my hike on the Overland Track! On my way to the National Park, I could get a first glimpse on Cradle Mountain and I crossed the well-named Sunshine Creek!
I decided for once to stay in a dorm room in order to keep the tent dry and have a bit more confort for the night. I spent the rest of the day preparing my backpack for the hike, picking my Overland Track Pass, doing some short hikes and making arrangement with the staff of the camping to leave my bike and panniers under their care during the hike. Thanks to a meticulous organisation of the backpack, I managed to fit everything I needed in the pack without any problem, at my own surprise.