We wander in and wonder at the beauty of our "Land Down Under".

Saturday, 29 March 2014

On the road again

It's late March and we're about to board the ferry from Devonport to Melbourne for a couple of months on the mainland. A short tour up the eastern seaboard to the south coast of NSW and then across to western Victoria and South Australia for a bit of climbing and general bumming about.

We've just had a couple of days at Cradle Mountain to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first roped climb in Tasmania - and possibly Australia, although there is some contention about this from certain quarters on the big island to the north. This climb consisted of a traverse of the skyline of Cradle Mountain by the Malcher brothers in April, 1904. Just getting to Cradle in those days was quite a saga, but these guys carried massive packs with assorted stone age climbing gear including a 60 centimetre long water level to determine relative heights of nearby peaks. Here's a picture of the skyline of Cradle I took from Marion's Lookout in September when we were just heading off on the Overland Track:

It's a pretty alluring route, don't you think? 

Tony McKenny of the Climbers Club of Tasmania thought that the traverse ought be marked in some way or other. The plan for the weekend was to get as many climbers together as possible and, weather permitting, duplicate the Malcher brothers' traverse - albeit with modern gear, have a slide show featuring some climbing in wilderness Tasmania down through the ages and tell some tall stories.

A spanner was put in the works by Huey with the weather. It was warm enough, but persistent drizzle morphing at times into light rain kept most of us off the skyline. In the end only six intrepid souls embarked on the traverse, carefully picking their way along the route. The black moss that covers the rock on Cradle is notorious when wet but all returned safe and sound, although at least two of them shredded the backsides of their wet weather trousers while getting as much friction on the rock as they could!

The rest of us - and there were about 40 people engaged in this get-together - enjoyed the network of trails that thread are found around the peak. Di and I headed off early because we wanted to do a longish hike around the mountain. Here is a map showing the route we took:

We had a pause and a snack at the Scott-Kilvert Memorial Hut at Lake Rodway, where four Germans and a Finn had spent the night. They had all come to Tasmania for the hiking and were enjoying themselves immensely despite the weather.

I hadn't got the camera out for the first three hours because there just weren't any views, but shortly after we left the hut we passed by a great little spider's web hanging beside the track and I just had to take a photo ...

... and while I was at it I thought I might as well take a happy snap of Di ...

A little further along the track we spotted a small orange mushroom - about the size of the nail on your little toe - in the middle of the track ...

My little camera doesn't really have a good enough light sensor to reproduce the colour, which was a much richer, darker orange.

Although it was drizzling and raining most of the time we were walking, the stillness did allow for some great reflections at the much-photographed Artist's Pool up on the little plateau between Little Horn and Hanson's Peak ...

A hop skip and jump up over Hanson's Peak, down to Lake Dove and past Lake Lilla got us back to Ronney's Creek in time for a late lunch.

We all reconvened at the Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre for a very entertaining slide show, then had a meal at the pub. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. And now I better finish as it's just about time for me to pack up this computer and drive down to Devonport (we're currently sitting in a car park in Latrobe) to get in the queue for the ferry. I'll post again in a week or so when we have more news of our travels. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this photo of our travelling roadshow ...

Di's sitting in the front, playing her whistle. She's been reading and dozing in the sun while I hurriedly scrambled together this post. So, time to go. Catchya later ...

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