The last 7 days have been amazing. We left Perth on the 27th and flew to Melbourne. On our flight each passenger had an individual iPod that was loaded with movie choices. I watched a very interesting movie about the Aboriginal People called “Putaparri and the Rainmakers” who lived in the Fitzroy Valley and their struggle to obtain rights to their land. It was very moving.
We stayed at the Quamby Estates in Launceston. Rose and I ate in their restaurant and shared a delicious dinner of scallops and duck.
In the morning we walked over to a building they call the barn to meet our guides for our Cradle Mountain hike on the Overland Track.
What a pleasant surprise to meet our fellow hikers. There were 7 of us (John and Sue from Queensland; Judy from Toowoomba (also in Queensland); and Sue and Robert from Scotland). It was such a pleasant surprise to discover that all of us were over 60 years old. I was not going to have to keep up with much younger people. We also had 3 guides (Bert – the lead; Declan – the assistant; and Rosie who was training). Our second wonderful surprise was that it was mostly sunny outside for our 1st day.
It took a while to go over our gear, get jackets, and pack up the backpacks they were lending to us. It was a pretty hectic time figuring out which of the things I had planned to put into their pack and which to leave behind. Then we drove to the beginning of the trail
They took a group photo of us are we were off on the track.
Our first day was Bert saw a Tiger Snake as we crossed the first bridge. I am lucky to have taken the photo just as it was getting away.
I am siting here trying to begin writing about a 6-day adventure and realized that it is impossible to sort through the almost 500 photos I took (even though my camera kept failing), remember the exact location of each photo, or tell all in chronological order. So I am just going to post many, many of them. The scenery was so amazing. I will also try to write a few of my memories and impressions of this adventure.
On the first day we had beautiful weather and I was able to wear Macabi skirt. I love how comfortable it is and how convenient it is to have those giant pockets.
The sites were so beautiful. It is really difficult to choose which photos to upload.
I loved climbing up to Marion’s Lookout. We had to hold onto metal bars and pull ourselves up the steep stones that were very uneven.
Part way up the trail I turned around so Bert could take a photo of me.
I was just joyous when I reached the top. It was so much fun to climb those stone steps – or should I say pulling myself up each one. Judy and I took photos of each other.
This person was going back down where we had pulled ourselves up.
We continued on our wonderful journey. I had to step off the trail to go near this old snow.
We stopped for lunch.
This is one of the views of Brown Bluff.
This is a view of Cradle Mountain. We didn’t have time to climb to the top. I am not sure I would have made it if we had.
We stopped at this hut for a toilet break. There weren’t many of these.
This was the view from inside the toilet.
We woke up the 2nd morning with frost on the deck of the hut and all over the plants…
but it was still a wonderful weather day.
Sometimes we waited on the helicopter pad before we began.
Robert and Sue were usually the first ones to arrive at a designated waiting point. Since the weather was still great, they decided to take a rest.
We all caught up with them and looked at the view of Lake Holmes.
Bert and Declan led us down the trail to Lake Will.
I must have passed at least 50 little tiny skinks. Most of them scurried off of the path before I got a photo.
The photos make them look big, but they are really tiny.
I continued to photograph beautiful sites throughout the day.
On the third day it started to rain. We were given the following motto and told to make sure we followed it. “Roots are your enemy; puddles are your friends.” Bert and Declan explained that the roots would be very slippery. He said that if we got to the hut with dry feet, they would make sure we were rolled in a puddle. Bert explained that last year a woman slipped on a root and had to be evacuated. It took several days to get her out. The group had to be split-up and it spoiled part of the trip for everybody.
We had to dress with warmer clothes. They told us to put our gaiters under our rain pants and enjoy the puddles. I put away my Maccabi skirt and followed their instructions. We were prepared for the rain.
I had to put Hiker’s Wool into my boots each day before we began. One morning Rosie fixed Judy’s foot.
This may be a good point to write about the variety of trails conditions on this trip. Sometimes we were walking on wooden planks. The maintenance and upkeep of this trek is fabulous. If it weren’t for the many, many planks, we would have been walking through swamp an incredible amount of the time. In addition to the wooden walkways, many other parts of the trails we encountered varied including gravel paths, rocks to climb; scree; wooden walkways; climbing over roots; and/or sloshing through water and mud.
Just an aside note: I chose not to take photos of Wombat poop, but did you know that it is square? We often saw it on the wooden planks because they like to poop in the highest places they can find.
The wooden planks also had many places where we either had to step up or down. One time I was looking up to hear what the people ahead of me were saying and I totally did not see that there was a step-up. I tripped and fell right onto my head. Declan was there in a minute to check on me. The other people were worried that I had broken my classes. But, luckily I was just fine. It wasn’t until the whole trip was over that I realized that I had actually scraped my forehead a bit.
I hope these photos give you an idea about the trails throughout the 6 day hike.
I loved the long shadows on the sunny day.
On our 3rd morning we woke up to a real treat. It had snowed though the night.
Judy and I were ready to hike.
Seeing snow on the Pandanis is a strange sight. They look like palms but are not related to palms.
I was trying to keep up with Robert and Sue. Robert slipped on one of the boards that was not covered with wire. He sprained his wrist. You have to be very careful even on the boards.
I just couldn’t resist eating the fresh snow.
One of the things I loved was listening to the birds.
I think it was on the 3rd day when John and I were walking together and there were many places where we had to step both up and down on many rocks. Some of the steps were pretty steep. Here is John negotiating one of the steps.
Just a bit after we passed this spot, I slipped on a rock and fell into some other rocks. I wasn’t really hurt, but my rain pants were torn across my knee. John offered to help me get up. He started to pull me up and I slipped back down as he went falling in the other direction. He said he was okay and we both burst out laughing. I was glad that John was there to witness that I hadn’t stepped on a root. I can’t even remember how that rock sent me flying. It turns out that John actually scrapped both his elbow and his hip when he fell. I should have said, “No thank you,” and instead asked him to take a photo of me on the ground instead. What a missed opportunity for a photo.
I loved the tree trunks we were passing…
…and the views continued to be spectacular.
Perhaps this is a good time to tell about our huts. Each of them was very comfortable.
This one is Barn Bluff Hut which where we stayed on the first night.
One of our wonderful guides would get to the hut early and startup the stoves (one in the warming room and one in the living space). The rooms each slept 2 people. By the second day Rose and I realized that because there were only 7 of us, each of us could have our own room.
We would put all of our wet things into the warming room and find treats, coffee and tea waiting for us in the living space.
Hot showers were available but you had to press a button to start the hot water. Then the hot water would last for 5 minutes. Did you know that 5 minutes is a long time for a shower?
Rose and I would try to do our stretches. My legs would start talking to me and try to tell me that even though my head thinks I am still young, they were older than I considered myself to be.
We sure had a good time relaxing every evening and sharing with each other. This hut was different from the others. It is Kimora Hut and it had a picture window.
I just remembered my bird photos. The next two photos are of Currowongs. They are very smart and can actually open up a back pack and find all of the food that people left in them. So we took all of our food with us when we did side trips.
This on is a Wattle. We saw it outside the picture window at Kimora Hut.
In addition to preparing every breakfast and setting out lunch choices for us to pack for the day; Bert, Declan, and Rosie prepared fabulous dinners for us every day.
We had a choice of white or red wine with each dinner. This is one of our desserts.
Declan or Bert would give us a briefing each night as we had our dessert. When the guides told us how far we were going to be walking each day, they told us the estimated time it would take us to walk and not the how many km. we would have to go.
Bert, Declan, and Rosie were so much fun. They were playful with us and with each other, friendly; caring, informative, and always helpful. I can’t find enough words to praise them. We had a blast and many laughs with them on the trail and every evening.
Here are Rosie and Declan doing their competitive push-ups and sit-ups.
Bert would entertain us with stories and Declan would quietly play the guitar.
We took time for several resting stops each day. They would prepare coffee and tea and often passed out chocolate. Sometimes we would stop in an open area….
…. But sometimes we were lucky enough to be in a hut.
Here are John and I in one of the resting huts.
This hut is called old hut called the Du Cane Hut or Patty’s Hut
In 1910 a pioneer, bushwhacker, trapper, and prospector named Patty Hartnett built a now historic hut as his headquarters. He felled a huge King Billy Pine, which supplied the timber to build the southern portion in the 1930s. It was colloquially known as “Windsor Castle.” There are many stories about Paddy and his wife.
We appreciated having the hut to warm up a bit.
Declan took Sue, Judy and I to a river where we saw 280 million year old sea creature fossils in stones.
We had a great time there.
On our last day we were encouraged to walk separately through a 1000 Year Old Myrtle, Sassafras, and Leatherwood Rain Forest. I had already spent quite a bit of time walking on my own. I loved the peace and quiet of listening to the sound of the wind, the birds, the trees rubbing against each other, and just feeling the joy of being there.
When we stopped for a break to go to Dalton Falls and Fergusson Falls on the 5th day, not everybody had arrived yet, so Robert and I walked down to the first falls and took a couple of photos.
Then we walked back up to get the others. We found out that we actually had to cross the stream by the first fall to get to Dolton Falls. I didn’t get my photo taken at this time.
There was a sign warning us about the trail.
We made it to Dolton falls.
We had to cross back over the creek with the water running off the first waterfall I saw on the way back and Rosie went back across the falls to get my camera and take photos.
Robert even emailed a couple of photos that he took to me.
I was having such a fantastic time. There have been moments when my legs were so tired that I questioned my sanity in doing this hike. Crossing waterfalls just rejuvenated me and I knew I belonged on this trip.
We walk to Ferguson Falls and had to cross over many roots.
We took photos at Ferguson Falls.
Judy had been encouraging me to taste a bit of Vegemite. Vegimite is a thick black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.She encouraged me to spread just a small bit of it onto a piece of bread. It was salty, but not too bad tasting. Of course, the amount I took was very, very small.
It was our last day and Declan told us to make sure we didn’t miss this tree with all of the burls on it.
It would have been hard to miss.
I had to take one last photo of the Yellow Gum tree.
Just before our last rest stop for tea we crossed a suspension bridge. Rosie waited foe me to take these photos.
Bert made our last pot of hot water for tea and coffee
We boarded the ferry to cross Lake St. Claire. It is the deepest lake in Tasmania and also the highest lake that a ferry crosses.
Then we had to take a bus ride back to Quamby Estates where we had our last celebration.
This was certainly an exceptionally wonderful trip. Rose and I are in Hobart now and we hope our shoes dry out soon. We don’t have the wonderful warming room to help.
Although I was sometimes very, very exhausted, I had a spectacular time and had the opportunity to meet new and interesting people. I hope to stay in contact with all of them.