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Published: February 25th 2013
On 17th February 2013 my Mum, Becky and I began a trek from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair in the mountains of Tasmania.
Mum completed the trek in memory of her mum, my gran, who died on 17th January 2013 after many years battling with dementia. Any money raised will be donated to Alzheimer's Society in recognition of the excellent support they offer to people who suffer from this terrible illness and their carers. She would really appreciate any support you could offer to this outstanding organisation: http://www.justgiving.com/margaret-meg-fishburn
This is my mum, Meg's blog of events. Enjoy reading! Click on the photos to view them all. Day 1 – Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley hut (10km)
The shuttle bus dropped us off at Ronny Creek to start the long trek up the side of Cradle Mountain – this is reputedly the toughest day of the trek and I can well believe it! Weak legs were forgotten however; when we reached Marion’s Lookout and took in the spectacular views of Dove Lake, Lake Lilla and Crater Lake. Slightly daunted by the sight of the distant mountain ranges but rejuvenated by our ham wrap (allowing ourselves fresh meat
on the first day!). On and up we went. After a little more climbing we traversed moorland until we started our descent into Waterfall Valley and arrived at camp. Though we had brought the tent we decided to use the huts as much as possible and were glad we did – we met some wonderful people throughout the trip who were there if you needed help and didn’t care what you looked like or how badly you smelt. An increasingly important quality as the trip progressed, though by the end we all smelt as bad as each other! Day 2 – Waterfall Valley hut to Windermere hut (10.75km)
Yesterday was reputedly the toughest day of the trip – today the easiest. As it was the shortest stretch we decided to take a sidewalk to Lake Will – what a lovely surprise. This crystal clear mountain lake had it’s own beautiful white sandy beach, So good we languished there a whole hour!A short walk, during which Becky spotted our first snake, took us to our camp hut at Windermere. Here we were able to bathe away our aches in the lake – no soap or shampoo allowed though! Being
my third visit to Oz without seeing a wombat I’d given up hope of ever spotting one so was quite excited by the amount of fresh wombat poo we kept coming across. We went for an evening walk and following the trail of some exceptionally fresh poo came across – a real live wombat! Day 3 – Windermere to New Pelion hut (18.75)
30 degrees yesterday, 18 today! Today’s walk is the longest so it was quite a relief to have a cooler walk, the downside being that we couldn’t see the mountains for fog. However this was compensated by the journey through the aromatic pine forests. Frog Flats we found was a mecca for leeches – two of them hitched a ride under my armpit and had to be dispatched quickly! Camp tonight was at Pelion hut under MountOakleigh. Here we did a sidewalk to the old Pelion hut where we saw bigger snakes. A cautionary tale: two fellow hikers left their packs unattended, thinking they were secure. They returned to find that currawongs (large crows) had raided their packs and eaten their food. The camp was plagued by raiders also: one foolhardy and very fat possum
tried to storm the hut in full view of half a dozen hikers . Rations always being tight he was chased but lurked close by all night, waiting for his chance! Day 4 – New Pelion to Kia Ora hut (11km)
We left Pelion in hot glorious sunshine and climbed steeply through rainforest until we reached Pelion Gap. Here Paul and Becky detoured to climb Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain, while decided to go up Pelion East. This was a bit of a scramble but we were rewarded with spectacular views over the mountain ranges of the Lake St.Clair National Park. On the descent there was a reminder that all is not sweetness in the wild – a small snake in the process of devouring a lizard of almost equal size. That’s survival. Meeting up again, the three of us started the descent into the Pinestone Valley to the Kia Ora hut where we found a beautifully icy stream in which to ease our aching muscles. Day 5 – Kia Ora to Narcissus hut (22km)
After a late start we were off, food stocks reducing, rubbish bag growing. Our trek today was mostly through pine forest;
we stopped to look at the historic Du Cane hut. On the walls were pictures of early trekkers carrying the carcasses of wombats, Tasmanian tigers, kangaroo. Tasmanian tigers have been hunted to extinction. Continuing through the forest, with a short detour to Hartnett Falls, we crossed the suspension bridge and were soon glad to see Lake St.Clair and Narcissus hut. After a splash in the lake we spoke to one of the rangers who told us that there was a resident platypus inhabiting the lake. He also warned us that a tiger snake had slithered past him earlier. At dusk we cautiously made our way down to the jetty; thankfully no snakes but our patience was rewarded by the sight of a platypus tumbling and playing in the water. Day 6 – Narcissus to Cynthia Bay (17km)
Last day - 17km to go, a cuppa soup, 2 muesli bars and some raisins each. Looking forward to a beer, shower and a good meal. Today’s track followed the lakeside, predominantly through forest but then opening out onto charming sandy coves. Our early start meant that we came across several indignant wallabies, who had been enjoying some peaceful breakfast grazing.
Forest ended in parkland as we approached the visitor centre and the end of our journey.
What have I missed? Flushing toilets, showers, mattresses, chips! What didn’t I miss? Traffic noise, mobile phones, having to look and act in the accepted way. Thank you
To all of you who have supported me in this venture. Special thanks to Paul and Becky for their excellent support (and for carrying three quarters of the weight). Also to Allan, Rachael and Rob for their home support.
Most of all, thanks to all of you who have donated to this hard working charity, your generosity has been overwhelming. On my return from Australia I will update you with details of the amount we have raised. The Just giving website remains open until May; my address remains the same if anyone would like to make a donation (cheques made payable to Alzheimer’s Society please).
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