Friday, 26 June 2009

Why Can't I Just Take Up Knitting?

View from Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the background

6am and I'm suddenly failing to comprehend why I have agreed to wake up.

Actually I think it was my idea to wake up at this God forsaken hour. I can't believe alarm clocks can be set this early. We are up this early to climb Cradle Mountain, it is a 6 to 8 hour trek, but we need to be out of the National Park soon as our 24 hour pass expires at 2.33pm.

I must say that everything in Australia seems very expensive, but travelling with a 21 year old backpacker you learn to look into every possibility if enables you to save money. So yesterday we waited for a couple of hours after reaching the park to do an afternoon walk, as it would leave us enough time to climb the mountain today, even if we had to start walking with the first ray of sunshine, and get out before having to buy another pass.

Fabian will eventually turn me into a criminal...I have now learned how to run washing machines and dryers using cotton buds instead of coins, hence saving $6, enough for our breakfast. Anyway, going back to today's trek, I believed it was going to simple, like the ones I did in the Himalayas, but without the lack of oxygen. So off we went, heading out just as the first rays of sun cut through the darkness of the night. Driving carefully, so to avoid killing a jumping kangaroo, we reached the car park by Dove Lake.

Too early, not sure why I got that odd smile on
It is bitterly cold, the wind cutting through several layers of clothing, polar fleece included. And like always I can't help but wonder why am I doing this, why am I out in this cold, when I could have just stayed in bed for a few extra hours, and it was a warm bed.

Anyway, it is too late to now regret having got out of bed in the first place so better forget about it. The trek starts by Dove Lake, at around 900 meters, and follows for a while the Overland Track. I am determined to come back to Tasmania to do the Overland Track, it is 6 to 8 days walking from Cradle Mountain down to Lake St Claire, in the Tasmanian Wilderness. Having had a glimpse of it, a cheeky check, I think it must be an amazing experience to trek across the plateau, though you have to carry your own food, sleeping bag and tent. Initially the path up to the plateau is fairly straight forward, a mixture of easy trek with some rough and steep, but in general fairly do-able.

By 10.30am we reach Marion's Lookout, not sure who this Marion is but the view from there is amazing. For another little while the path gets really easy, flat over the plateau with the imposing view of the Cradle Mountain range ahead of us. As we get closer I realize that this is not going to be just a walk, it is not pure trekking. Getting to the top means jumping from rock to rock, lifting yourself, and especially not looking down.

Lots of rocks to climb

At one point during the ascent, I did look down, and my fear of heights kicked in. Feeling a bit dizzy, I decided not to look down again, and specially not to think about how to get down. I also cursed Fabian for not having registered our walk, a really stupid mistake. Due to the extremely changeable weather in this part of Tasmania, people can find themselves stuck on the summit, or half way up, and having to be rescued by embarrassing!!!

However, that wouldn't have been our case, as no one knew that we were there...Once I decided that it was time to stop being a drama queen, I kept going. Ascending was a slow process, as the summit was icey and slippery. To make matters worse, everytime we thought we got to the top, a new higher top seemed to appear just as you lifted your head over the rocks. Nonetheless we got there, to the top. It was only 1545 meters high, but it felt as hard as the Himalayas. The climbing itself was harder, but obviously there was no lack of oxygen. The view from the top, especially over to Benson Peak, is awesome.

And then you get the kick from what you have just achieved, the adrenaline rush, the best high...Our plan was to have our lunch at the top, Mother Hen (me) had prepared pasta with bacon and eggs. However, clouds seemed to be closing in and we decided to head down as soon as we got our picture taken. Time to leave...

Fabian and I at the top of Cradle Mountain, Benson Peak in the background

I am getting worried that this trip is really getting me hooked on some new hobbies that are anything but cheap, bloody scuba diving, mountain trekking...could I not just take up knitting? It would be so much cheaper....


  1. rescued by a ranger - he might have been a very sexy ranger?!!!!

  2. well if there was a cute range i would have been rescued....