Yurrebilla wash out

Such a great, epic journey that was with fog, rain, crossing flooded creeks and freezing temps shared with Stirling and Karen and the wonderful support of Darly and Feebie. Now I know that all the kms I walked as a kid thru the Grampians carrying survival kits of food and standing track side at Adelaide International Raceway with hands so frozen by hanging on to the fence for hours on end is where my love of masochistic ultra marathon lifestyle choice eventuated - hahaha - thanks so much mum (Maureen) and dad xxx

by Karen...

Yesterday morning Jen GreenekleeStirling Greeneklee and myself set off in attempt to run three Yurrebillas back to back. We successfully ran a double last year, and have wanted to attempt a triple since then.
The weather predictions were clearly not in out favour. However in true " crazy style " we mistakenly decided the forecasts were wrong.
The first YUM went according to plan. It was bitterly cold on the trail but with just a heavy mist was manageable. We did not see even a hint of sunlight all day.
6pm in the evening saw us eating pizza at the finish line before we went back up overnight.
The odd sprinkle of rain started around then and became heavier as we did the climb out of Athelstone. By the time we reached the top of Black Hill it was vile. Very strong gusty winds buffeted us from every direction and the rain established itself. Thick fog dropped making it impossible to see more than a metre in front of us. We frequently found ourselves off the track and precariously close to the edge. Our support crew of Daryl, Feebee and Kym had all reluctantly gone home for the night as we had left several drop bags along the trail for the night.
By now it was very quickly becoming the worst night we have ever spent on the trails together. Our wet weather gear was keeping our upper body dry but feet, socks, gloves and shoes were sodden. As we ascended the Fox's dam track rain became heavier, winds even stronger and fog reduced our visibility to almost zero. The tracks had huge ponds of water on them and were just MUD. It made our progress painfully slow as we kept on sinking in the mud and losing the track in the fog.
Against all odds we made our way onto the Morialta trail. The two creeks crossings which had been slightly tricky on our first lap were now very dangerous. The heavy gushing flow of water had risen at least 6" and this made the two crossing treacherous. The usual stepping stones were now well under the flow of water.
At midnight we made it into Norton Summit. All three of us in very good spirits and keen to continue. Jonathan and Matilda were waiting for us here with hot drinks and snacks. Plus we had one of our drop bags here.
Much to their admiration and amusement we continued on. And from here the weather went up another 10 notches in revoltingness.
Horsnell's Gully was an absolute nightmare. It took us about an hour to climb out as the water was gushing down an already water denuded trail. The heavy fog and darkness added to the nightmare.
By this time I began to think we might be in some serious trouble. Physically we all felt good albeit drenched and freezing cold. With no phone contact, the nurse in me began to feel concerned about potential hypothermia for the three of us.
The descent down Pillar box onto Wine Shanty became very dangerous. The wind was howling, bucketing rain, thick fog and trees coming down. Big rivers of water were flowing down the track. By now all three of us could no longer feel our hands, legs and feet. Jen and Stirl were feeling nauseous, and Stirl's feet were starting to give him grief.
Conditions on Wine Shanty track were without doubt the worst conditions I have ever been out in. It was here I broached the subject that perhaps we should seriously consider aborting our plans and try and get ourselves to safety. I knew we would never be able to cross the creeks and survive in Morialta again. Jen and Stirl very quickly agreed.
The 5km along Wine Shanty to Cleland was miserable in the extreme. We had to pick our way along the flooded track in zero visibility. I had a stash that saw me fall over the edge. Thankfully caught by a small bush and hauled back over by Stirl.Two kangaroos came bounding down the track in the dark and very nearly collided with Jen and Me.
At one point we heard the very loud sound of a tree cracking. Stirl just yelled at us to run.
There was a huge fresh tree fall over the track which reminded us how vulnerable we were.
Finally at 4 am we made into the Cleland car park. Thankfully the loos were unlocked so we all fell into there and sat on the floor wrapped in space blankets, shivering uncontrollably.
By an absolute stroke of luck I was able to get momentary phone reception and rang Daryl for help. Stirl was cramping badly and Jen and I couldn't stop shaking. I was also starting to feel the start of getting into trouble with my asthma.
With the Cleland gates still locked we had no alternative but to go back out into the weather and walk ourselves out to the gates. We must have been quite a sight .... three drenched runners trotting up the road draped in space blankets in the rain and fog. Thankfully Daryl got to us by about 5:30am so we only had to be loo dwellers for about an hour.
Despite a night of absolute misery all three of us retained our sense of humour and supported each other. None of us lost the plot or became grouchy.
This will be an adventure that will be talked of for years to come by the three of us. Right now none of us want to see Yurrebloodybilla ever again. But never say never with us three !!
Big thanks to Daryl, Kym, Jonathan, Matilda and Feebee for supporting us

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