MONDAY 7 FEBRUARY DOVER
It was a hot day with a clear blue sky.
John went up to the office to seek advice from M, about local dentists. The nearest was in Kingston! With some help from M, John was able to arrange to see him, in Kingston, on the 15th. So we will be here longer than planned. Not to worry – it is a superb place for an extended stay.
I phoned the film processing place that we had used, regularly, in Glenorchy, and was able to arrange for a “mail service”. After the pathetically poor prints that were done in Hobart, I wanted an alternative. I was able to mail them the two completed rolls of film I had, plus the negatives from the ones that were so badly done in Hobart. The charge for their processing is the same as before, obviously, but the postage makes it an expensive way of doing things. Anyway, it is probably only a temporary measure.
Then, we were off to the Hartz Mountains National Park again – in much better weather this time! Drove the same way as last time – there IS only the one way – but saw the scenery a lot more clearly.
We ate lunch, before setting off to walk, in the walks car park. There were several vehicles in the car park – last Saturday there were none!
The mountains were much clearer, this day – all the vegetation details stood out. We saw a most unusual cloud formation, like a winged monster – or angel – over the mountain.
I logged us into the walks book there, for the Hartz Pass walk – three and a half hours was the guide to the time needed to do the return walk of some 5-6kms.
The first section of the walk was over tarn/alpine heathland swamp country, with a myriad of small streams, little tarns, and a great variety of alpine plants.
The track on the heath country was mostly boardwalked, though some of the sections of this had been there a while, and subsided into the underlying black mud that is so typical of the upland parts of Tasmania. It reminded me of the Overland Track of the 1960’s, when I first walked that, before it got so popular and acquired the modern boarded tracks of the present.
We passed the turnoff to Lake Esperance and walked by Ladies Tarn, and said we’d explore those on the way back, if we had time.
Once past Ladies Tarn, we commenced a rather steep climb up to the Hartz Pass – almost rock climbing in sections. But this did not last too long.
We stopped at the Pass for a rest, to look at the views, and decide what we did next. The view from the Pass, across Hartz Lake below us, into the South West Wilderness, was breathtaking. We could see Federation Peak and the Arthurs Range – names well known amongst the walking fraternity.
Hartz Peak was ahead of us, and not too much higher than where we were in the Pass, but there was no formed track as such, just lots of loose rock scree and boulder hopping. We decided it was too risky for John to try it.
However, we lingered in the Pass for a time and watched a young Asian couple go up it. They had passed us further back along the track, he racing off in front and turning every so often to urge her to go faster! She was carrying a water bottle, but they had no other gear at all – ill advised in this sort of country. Wondered if they knew about tiger snakes! She was a distance back by the time he reached the top of the scree section, and she appeared to take a harder, more dangerous way up this than he had done.
On the way back, we walked for a while with a father and son, who overtook us. The father was a policeman, a forensic photographer, about to retire to warmer climes in Queensland. His son worked in Melbourne. They were keen walkers and had done much trekking together – great to see. In talking with the dad about his work, it emerged that he’d had to work the accident when one of my uncles was killed, in Burnie, some years back. And then that he’d worked with one of my cousins at New Norfolk, at the time that cousin was attacked and died. Small place, Tasmania!
Walking the track back was rather hazardous, because the great views were ahead and around, and the temptation to gaze about whilst walking was strong. However, it only took a couple of stumbles on rocks in the track, and uneven boards, to slate home the message that eyes needed to be down at foot level. So the walking was very stop-start.
One intrusion into the otherwise wonderful views was the not so distant clearings made by forestry operations. A reminder of the pressures on the Tasmanian wilderness.
We detoured the short distance to the edge of Lake Esperance, with its beautiful unusual, clear, blue-green water.
Back at the car park, we chatted a while longer with our companions, whilst waiting to make sure that the Asian couple finished without mishap. He arrived not too long after us, and she was about 15 minutes behind him. He was really pleased and boasting about how quickly he’d done the walk – he’d had about 15 minutes on the summit too. I wondered how much of the scenery they really saw, and whether they could appreciate it, at all? I don’t think she had a great time, though!
On the drive back we had a nasty reminder of the main hazard of driving these forest roads. We encountered a fast-moving log truck, swinging wide around a bend. Just hope he got as big a fright as we did! He was really speeding.
Tea was chicken noodle soup, then baked beans on toast.
What a great day! What a superb walk!