SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY NATIONAL PARK
Today was very hot, and a total fire ban day.
We drove back towards Lake Pedder, thinking to go to the old town ruins at Adamsfield, once a very remote, early 20th century, osmiridium mining area, then accessible only by pack trail. But the Ranger at the entry gate said we needed a key to get there – obtainable from back at the Mt Field Base! We did not want to drive back there. The Ranger also said that where there were open gates on the tracks around here, Forestry people may come along later in the day and lock them, because of the fire ban. This seemed rather counter-intuitive to me – to lock gates and perhaps close people into areas where there may be fire!
I had a look at my map and found the Clear Hill Track, a bit further on, which went north to within a few kms of Adamsfield. When we got to it, though, it was a gated track, which I hadn’t realized. John decided to follow it anyway, as the gate was open, and chance it being closed later. Hmmm….
The unsealed track took us generally north, through the forests and in parts, close to Lake Gordon. The lake looked well down in level, because of the drought.
Unlike Lake Pedder that we saw yesterday, where what was drowned was scrub country, there is much dead timber evident in Lake Gordon. From the 1960’s, into the 70’s, there was intensive logging of the area that was due to be flooded by the damming – but, obviously, a lot of trees were left behind.
After maybe about 15kms, we came to the other end of the Adamsfield track, which had a locked gate across it, so we had no choice but to turn back the way we’d come. It was only about a 4km walk from this corner, to the old mining area, but this was not the right day to go exploring on foot in the forest!
On the track back, for the sake of exploring, John took a side track towards the lake. It ended at the lake edge, or where the edge would have been if it were not so low. At one point, the track was badly undermined by previous high water levels, so much that I considered it risky to drive over, but John made it over and then back. I stayed out of Truck on the excuse of photography!
Whilst wandering about by the edge area, and taking photos, we disturbed a very large tiger snake, which – luckily – decided to go the other way from us.
I became increasingly concerned, as we dallied in this area, and the day got hotter, that we might get locked in, but the gate was still open when we got back to it. Whew! This concern, for me, rather detracted from the enjoyment of exploring.
We saw lots of apiary sites along Clear Hill Track. The bees were very busy around some sets of hives. On some hives, there were great clusters of bees on the outside of the boxes – we were not sure why. The heat? Or were they full of honey? We could certainly smell the honey as we went past. I think this area may be a prime one for leatherwood honey gathering.
Back on the main Strathgordon road, we continued on in that direction, to find a picnic spot. Just over the bridge across the McPartlans Canal a side track took us to a parking area overlooking Lake Pedder and we ate lunch there.
Then we back tracked and went up a side track to a boat ramp on Lake Gordon. John tried to fish there, but lost his lure – then found one. It was quite an eerie area – all dead trees and desolation.
But after a short time of that, we decided to head back to the van. At the entry station, dropped off a pair of motor cycle trousers that we’d earlier found lying by the side of the road. We did wonder what the story was, there!
On the way back through Maydena, I was able to buy a Saturday Mercury newspaper. The letter that John had written, about enabling better access to the southern most point of the island, was in the paper. We wondered if it would stir up any response.
We topped up the fuel at Maydena, with $20 worth of fuel. It was 91cpl there!
We drove 189kms today.
Tea was left over chow mein and rice for John, stir fried veggies for me.
We had some spots of rain around dusk, then proper rain during the night. That should help to ease the quite serious bushfire problems in some parts of the state, we thought. It was very pleasant, hearing the rain on the roof during the night.