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There and Back Again

Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair, Tasmania 6 day walk 21 - 26 December 2013

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 31 December 2013 | Views [730]

Plodding onwards

‘I have been walking for 4 hours carrying a 12 kg pack, sloshing through mud; my back and feet ache. I am clambering over slippery roots and rocks and I am told there is another hour’s walk to the hut. It is Christmas in Australia and there are traces of snow on the high peaks. Despite the cold drizzle I have shed my Gortex raincoat in favour of shorts and T shirt. I plod slowly onwards.’ – Peter

 

Would I reach the hut?

‘After the first day I was wondering how much it would cost to bring in a helicopter to get me out. The 10kg pack, sharp, difficult ascent took its toll. I was so tired I could hardly eat. My thighs, calves and back ached all night. But by morning I was ok to do my morning yoga and hungry enough to eat breakfast. For the next 5 days it did get easier, although I sometimes still wondered if I would reach the hut. The lure of great food, wine and just relaxing always got me there.’ – Susan

 

Unforgettable images

It is a 6 day walk offering incredible diversity that includes peaceful lakes and thundering waterfalls, glacial carved valleys and mossy rain forests leading onto vast button grass moorlands. Highlights and unforgettable images/experiences include the small crimson Tasmanian Waratah flowers; delicate, vibrant green cushion plants; lightning followed by thunder booming across the valley; deep enchanted Tolkien like forests with lichen covered trees; the vibrant Scoparia flowers in the "Japanese Garden” on the side of Mt Doris; the towering Eucalypts and Celery top trees; the humble King Billy pine; drinking icy pure water straight from the streams; the magical, meditative walk through a sassafras rainforest.

 

A united nations group

Our 'united nations' group keep a look out for each other - Peter and Susan maintaining a steady pace right at the back, Juergen and Margot a little way in front, then Yoshi and Barry and, setting a strong pace up front, are Hajo, Alex, Justin  and Emma. Our resourceful guides, Rob and Tom, are either mopping up at the back (patching blisters or adjusting our packs) or forging ahead to do the meal preparations in the next hut. Many animated discussions along the way.

 

A swim in the river?

Was it the wine, the calm evening, the joking around the table and the fact that a swim would be nice that led 8 of us and the 2 guides to head off down the hill? Who knows? But there we were with huge gum boots on, leaping over button grass, sinking into hidden water holes and falling into a small creek, laughing our heads off, looking for the river. After about 200 metres, I'd had enough, it was getting dark and we still had to get back up the hill. Guide Tom offered to take Juergen and I back to the hut. But he thought he would take us on an easier route. Turned out to be longer, bush bashing through scrub and huge mounds of button grass. After Tom climbed a few trees to find his way, we finally made it back to the hut. The others arrived only a few minutes later, exhausted and frustrated at not finding the river. We slept well that night.

 

Surroundings, a metaphor for life.

Walking the Overland track with its constantly changing landscape, dramatic views, varied vegetation is not only inspiring but  becomes a meditation in itself. The tiny colourful flowers, bubbling brooks, a soft breeze caressing your cheek, wispy clouds, beckoning bird calls, a vast craggy mountain ahead absorb your thoughts and then suddenly, a "suck you down" mud hole, "trip you up" tree roots, crazily angled "ankle twisting" stones and rocks demand your full attention. Somewhat like life really, just as you relax into the smooth run, along comes an event which shocks you out of your complacency. All you can do is keep going, living the experience. 

Links:

http://www.cradlehuts.com.au/

http://www.cradlehuts.com.au/travel-reviews-news/

http://www.tasmanianexpeditions.com.au/index.php?section=trips&id=282

Tags: cradle huts, cradle mountain, lake st clair, overland, tasmania

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