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Aug. 12th, 2010

Cradle Mountain

I have neglected this journal dreadfully

I can't believe it's been over a year since I wrote for this journal!

My only excuse is that it's been a singularly eventful year ... a rather poor excuse, as many of those events are what I'm supposed to be writing about, here. The Overland being the least of them.

I'm not sure if I'll try and write some retrospective material, or just pick up from scratch.

Aug. 11th, 2009

Cradle Mountain

Scott-Kilvert Hut

While things are in winter hibernation, I'll post about some older walks: I can't believe I neglected to write about this walk ...

Scott-Kilvert Hut
Scott-Kilvert memorial hut is about 5km south from Cradle Mountain, by Lake Rodway, a glacial cirque in the shadow nestled under the soaring dolerite spires of the Little Horn and Weindorfer's Tower peaks of Cradle Mountain. The hut was built as a memorial to a teacher and student who died in 1965, when their school group got caught in a blizzard in the area.

The hut is on the eastern side of the Cradle Mountain park, which is much less visited than the western (Overland Track) side. Once we left the main track, near Ranger Hut, we didn't see anybody until we were returning the next day. Which meant that we had the whole, big, two-room hut to ourselves!

First, of course, we had to get there. From the Dove Lake car park, we followed the Dove Lake circuit on the eastern side of the lake until about 500m along, just past Glacier Rock, where the track branches; follow the track to the left, which climbs diagonally across the face of Mount Campbell, until it reaches a saddle at the north side of Hanson's Peak.

Here, there are two options - the short way, involving a steep scramble over Hanson's Peak - a bit over a 200m climb - or the longer, "easier" way, circling around the glacial lake at the base of Hanson's Peak. Which, as we discovered, isn't as easy as it looks on the map, although probably decidedly more scenic.

The track descends almost to the shore of Lake Hanson, then follows its western shore to the pretty Twisted Lakes, before crossing its outlet creek and climbing up again. The lower track is quite rough: although planking has been laid down at some stage, most of it had deteriorated quite considerably, and even in summer the track was wet and muddy, and quite overgrown in places. After climbing to the ridge, it meets the other route over the steep, bare Hanson's Peak.

Walk south along the ridge to a junction; the track on the right is the Face Track, head left towards Lake Rodway and Scott Kilvert Hut. Next to this junction is the Ranger Hut. This is an emergency only hut, but it is a good spot to stop for a rest or lunch break, under the towering peak of the Little Horn.

Past Ranger Hut, the Lake Rodway track enters some beautiful alpine countryside of Pencil Pines and tarns, with the soaring crags of Cradle Mountain behind. Tarns in the area include Artists Pool and Flynns Tarn: here you are requested to keep to the track, so as not to trample the fragile alpine vegetation. The track descends gently to Lake Rodway and Scott Kilvert Hut.

The hut itself is a sizeable A-frame, with a roomy kitchen below, equipped with a coal heater (the supply of coal and kindling is variable, depending on how recently rangers have been able to visit the hut), and a large dormitory area upstairs. Tank water is available, and a composting toilet is discreetly located 100 metres or so away.

The views around the hut are magnificent, and, judging by the Visitor's Book entries, it is visited by maybe two or three people at a time. We had the hut to ourselves that night, apart from some visiting wallabies and pademelons.

Returning the next day, we returned the way we had come, to the Ranger Hut junction, where we opted to cut across the Face Track, and thence down to Dove Lake Circuit and the carpark. Oh, Lord.

I had no idea the Face Track was so high up on the mountain! We were numb with exhaustion and terror most of the way, but by the time we reached the junction to take the short way down to Dove Lake, we had found our "mountain legs", and were really quite enjoying the view.

The climb down, using chains to make our way down almost-cliffs of bare quartzite, should have been the most terrifying of all, but we actually enjoyed it immensely, as you can see in this short video diary.

Excuse the shaky camera work: my professional camera is too heavy to carry on long walks, and it's pretty hard to hold a palmcorder steady when you're gasping and wheezing after a long climb!

Apr. 22nd, 2009

Cradle Mountain

(no subject)

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.

Thus goes the old saying, and there’s a lot of truth in it. The sky can tell us a great deal about what the weather is going to get up to. Reading the weather is a skill that few of us possess these days, but one that walkers should try to acquire. After all, when you’re on the third day of a six-day trek, the only place you’re going to get a weather report is from the sky above you.

Of course, you should always try to get the most up-to-date forecasts possible before you leave, so you have some idea what to expect. However, with Tasmania's weather, expect the unexpected. Snow in midsummer is not unknown, on the Central Plateau. Weather can change drastically, in a very short time. Knowing a bit about what warning signs to look for can be very helpful, at the least.

Wind! Clouds! Weather!Collapse )

Apr. 21st, 2009

Cradle Mountain

All hail the devil

A glimmer of hope for Tasmanian Devils:

Cedric the devil on the way to recovery

It looks as though Cedric the tasmanian devil is nearly back to normal after an operation to remove two tumours from his face.

Apr. 19th, 2009

Cradle Mountain

Valley of the singing gold

Land of the Valley of Singing Gold, that was it, once upon a time. ~ The Lord of the Rings

Nothofagus Gunnii, also known as the Tanglefoot Beech, or most commonly as "Fagus", to Tasmanians, is a small (usually 1-2m) deciduous tree endemic to Tasmania, and the only native deciduous tree in Australia.

the autumn colours of the fagus are a pilgrimage for Tasmanian walkersCollapse )

Apr. 14th, 2009

Fern Fronds

Useful Recycling

I've noticed a lot of outdoors shops selling small plastic bottles, for storing those sort of liquid supplies like cooking oil, sunscreen, maybe some sauces, etc. They're not that expensive, but it still seems like a bit of a waste to me when you're probably throwing away a perfectly good substitute.

Plastic pill and medicine bottles are fantastic for reusing for walking. They're waterproof, and the perfect size for carrying small amounts of whatever.

I just wash mine thoroughly with detergent, and soak the labels off. I usually have to use a bit of eucalyptus oil to get the labels off properly.

Here's some of the small collection that I'm using:

An old-school trick used to be to re-use plastic film canisters for keeping matches dry, but the advent of digital cameras has put paid to that one. Luckily I've still got a few that I've kept for years - it came in handy just over Easter, actually, when the box of matches got wet.

**** EDIT ****

In response to some concerns properly raised about the safety of reusing materials as food containers, I have found some relevant information.

The plastics concerned are HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which is used for anything from medicines, to detergents and milk. Material I found on the web suggested that the primary danger with reusing these plastic bottles is from not washing them properly, leading to bacterial contamination.

Leaching of potentially toxic or carcinogenic chemicals didn't seem to be a problem.

According to one report:

Additives in LDPE (low-density polyethylene) & HDPE (high-density polyethylene) are primarily antioxidants, such as Irganox or BHT2. There is little information on the toxicity (inluding endocrine disruption) of these compounds, but we could find no evidence of toxicity. There is some evidence that they are not endocrine disruptors or estrogen mimics.

"polyalkylated, hindered phenols like BHT and Irganox 1640 (Ciba-Geigy, Basel, Switzerland) are not estrogenic, while being effective antioxidants..."

Interestingly, there is some recent work developing tocopherols (Vitamin E) as antioxidants for HDPE & LDPE.

Migration into water and food substances have been measured for these antioxidants, generally at higher temperatures than experienced in normal use. At high temperatures, and especially with fatty or oily foods, there is considerable loss of antioxidants. These plastics should thus be used primarily with cold water, to reduce migration to a minimum. Washing agents and other substances used in the manufacture of the polymer may be present, but can be removed with thorough washing of the new plastic product. HDPE generally exhibits the least migration of antioxidants.

Mar. 30th, 2009

Cradle Mountain

Bushwalking and bushfires

This post is mostly culled from a thread on the bushwalk Tasmania forum. Some of the material was from me, some from others; I’ve distilled both into a single post.

In her famous poem, My country, Dorothea McKellar spoke of the Australian landscape, and “her beauty and her terror”. Anyone who’s ever confronted a bushfire will know exactly what she meant.

The extraordinary beauty of the Australian bush is what drives us to pursue this strange pursuit, bushwalking, but when it erupts in bushfire, then we truly witness her terror. To be confronted by bushfire when out walking, far from roads or communication, then the fear would be paralysing.
What should a walker do, when confronted with a raging bushfire?Collapse )
Thanks to red tag, Wet, the_camera_poser, tastrax, woka, Son of a Beach and Robbo, who all contributed to the original bushwalk Tasmania thread that inspired this post.

Mar. 19th, 2009

Cradle Mountain

Lake Ada - Talleh Lagoons

On the Labour Day long weekend, we bought the youngest his first “proper” pack, a 40l One Planet Frog & Toad – which means that he probably has the best (if smallest) pack of all of us. The good part about is that it will make a large day pack, when he grows out of it.
So, with his new pack, the boy was very keen to get out and try it.

We decided to have a look at the Lake Ada track as a day walk, and also to assess its viability as an alternative route to the Walls of Jerusalem. One that doesn’t involve climbing!

Alpine tarn on the Central Plateau
Beautiful WasteCollapse )
Cradle Mountain

Back for real this time

Okay, I know I've said it before, but this time I promise I'll start updating this shamefully neglected blog more regularly.


Dec. 24th, 2007


Weather Watch

Three days to go till the Walls.

I'm keeping a close eye on the weather. It bucketed here yesterday, but today was dry, if damn cold. There's a Bushwalker's Weather Alert for the Central Plateau at the moment (which basically means that snow is expected), but it looks like it'll improve as the week goes on.

Fingers crossed!

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