Off to Tasmania for yet another adventure on the hike track.
Flying into Launceston was the best option and decided on Mountain Bike and Rock Climbing Tasmania to transport us to the Walls car park being the starting point. Once we left the sealed road and made our way along the gravel road the scenery was spectacular and with Ian being a local, his knowledge of the area was interesting, informative and gave us insight into what was ahead of us for the next few days.
On arrival at the car park others obviously had driven themselves and left their cars so we were not going to be alone on the track. Once registering our hike intentions in the log book we set off in the rain and in an upwardly direction, It’s Tasmania, of course there would be rain and climbing. Trappers Hut, a historical hut only for emergency shelter was a great spot to break and take shelter from the rain.
Whilst we enjoyed a snack a group of 8 arrived on their way to Dixon Kingdom. Being locals they were happy to share their knowledge and experience of the area.
The sign to Lake Adelaide turn off appeared which gives the option to enter the Walls in the reverse to our route or head to the Never Never without entering the Walls section. Not far down the track the dirt track turned to boardwalk saving us from plodding through mud. As we approached Wild Dog Creek we could view a few tents on the platforms mmm busier than we thought.
The gentle rains persisted off and on with the skies not giving much hope of anything else. Chatting to the other hikers we discovered we would be lone hikers heading onwards to the Never Never. Also much nervous chatter about the resident snake at Wild Dog Camp was out and about. A few blogs that we had read prior to our hike did mention this snake but for us it went unsighted!!!!!
At first light we viewed the skies and to our surprise the looming clouds had passed by but the heavy rain overnight made for a muddy track. Walking through the valley of the walls our first stop was The Pools of Bethesda. Along the track we chatted to a young guy who had ventured the climb up King David’s Throne early in the morning. He advised us to not dilly dally as the wind was rather strong making the climb challenging as the wind had the capacity to through you off balance.
Onward we surged with determination to make the climb. Unloading our packs at the base we just carried the necessary things in a day pack. The initial climb was over fallen loose rock, glacial scree, which meant serious focus as being sure footed was essential. Yes the strong wind proved to be hazardous and at times we had to crouch down to ensure we didn’t get caught up in a gust of wind; goodness knows where we would have landed. Once in the gap between the huge rock formation the wind ceased to be an issue.
With the last scramble up and as we straightened up we gazed on the most majestic view of mountains in the distance. The sun was shining and the view was clear. We stood still and were silenced by natural beauty, no photo could do justice to we what our eyes fell on.
Interrupted by cloud drifting in and a drop in temperature was our hint to begin the descent. Slowly we eventually made it down. Another group of hikers arrived and were hesitating as to whether they make the climb due to obvious inclement weather, lucky us.
Onward to Dixon Kingdom camp we strolled through a 1000 year old stand of Pencil pines, the history just oozes out of this area for hikers to appreciate.
Dixon Kingdom is another heritage listed hut that still stands boasting much history for all to enjoy reading about. On arrival no other hikers around but we knew that wouldn’t last as we had met so many others along the way.
Our mission for the afternoon was to climb Mt Jerusalem so off we headed in very mild autumn weather.
We climbed and climbed and climbed and just when we thought this has to be the last there was yet another climb. Along the way we passed small tarns creating a very pretty area that had been developed naturally. Leave nature to its own devices and its amazing what is created. The higher we climbed it was obvious we were surrounded by heavy cloud drifting in. Realising the summit views would be obscured it was about face and head back down with hope that tomorrow would Be cloud free.
Taking it easy at camp we were interrupted by some guy bounding into camp. It was Wes Moule, a well known identity around the Tasmania hiking tracks delivering food drops for hikers who choose not to carry all their food. Wes was loaded up with 40kgs of food for a group arriving the next day, 40kgs !!! This is his paid job and he thrives on it. As he says the people he gets to chat to, he is always on the hiking track somewhere and once he unloads the food its a very light pack on the return trip, this all makes for a great job.
Peeping out the tent flap early next morning only revealed a gloomy looking day.
With that we snuggled back down into our cosy warm sleeping bags for abit more shut eye. Eventually it was time to roll out of the tent and with that we sprung into action as the sky had cleared and the sun was shining. With much excitement we had breakfast, packed up camp and headed in the direction of Mt Jerusalem and to our delight we made it to the summit. Adding our stone to the collection we marvelled at the views. Believe me the views did not disappoint, simply breathtaking and hard to find an appropriate word to describe what our eyes fell upon.
Being happy and content hikers we made our way down the mountain to pick up our already loaded packs and head on towards Lake Adelaide. As we arrived back at camp the group was there to pick up their food drop that Wes had delivered and left in the hut. They where very concerned that no mice had sampled their food!!! On leaving Dixon Kingdom camp we first had to cross a field of button grass which was bouncy and often threw us off balance which meant we ended up knee high in mud, oh the dilemmas of a hiker. The first sighting of a snake! yes they are out and about. The track followed around Lake Ball which proved to have a few tricky sections balancing on uneven rocks, one misplaced foot and an unplanned swim in Lake Ball would have resulted. Certainly was a lovely walk and the weather had remained beautiful for the rest of the day.
Arriving at Lake Adelaide we set up camp right on the lake and whilst enjoying reflecting on the past few days we were joined by a father and daughter who we met at Dixon Kingdom. They had decided to do the circuit back to the carpark. As the setting sun displayed a lovely sky it was so peaceful and quiet, the bush is a very serene place to be saturated in.
We woke to a beautiful morning, Junction Lake was our destination and from our pre hike research we knew to expect a rough track with steep inclines and declines as the track meandered along the banks of Lake Adelaide.
Eventually we arrived at Lake Meston, a beautiful spot for lunch by the cool waters. This area is very popular with keen fisherman who enjoy casting a line.
Back on the track we eventually left the scrubby bush and walked through a very exposed area where there was no shade from the heat of the sun. The track lead us into the bush where Junction Lake Hut built on the banks of the Mersey River awaited our arrival, such a welcome sight. The tent was up and whilst sorting out our stuff a possum scurried down the tree and ran right through the tent stopping to sniff about our stuff. This possum appeared quite experienced in raiding camps and knew a free meal could be snagged from the unsuspecting hikers but the possum lucked out with us.
Not long after a woman in her 50s appeared. She set up in the hut for a few days to enjoy bush bashing off the beaten track. Her only concern was not being able to contact her husband who had declined to join her on this adventure so she just left him home. Anyway we took his phone number and on our return to Hobart contacted him and he was very relieved to hear his wife had been sighted.
Well the day had arrived, the day we would be crossing the Never Never along with fording the Mersey River. One big challenge in a day is enough but today there was no choice but to tackle two challenges. Once signing in the log book we headed off to discover the track down to Clark Falls, what track??? There appeared to be no actual track but rather scuffed up areas that suggested others had gone before us. We basically slid down the steep embankment to the rivers edge grabbing onto tree branches to steady our ourselves. It may have been a rough trip down but Clark falls was spectacular as the water spilt the rock.
After being bathed in beauty it was time to push on with our next adventure to negotiate along the rivers edge which was rough and at times had us climbing over and under large rocks until we reached a point of “where to now”. Only obvious option was to scramble up the steep river bank and with a loaded pack on the back it was no easy task but scramble we did and make it we did. Next challenged we were confronted with was a very overgrown track, atleast there was something underfoot that resembled a track.
The track lead us back to the rivers edge where we enjoyed another waterfall before entering the exposed fields of button grass, again bouncing along in between being thrown off balance landing on to the muddy ground. Ian came to a screaming holt as he decided it best to give way to a snake slithering by.
Just as we were recovering from the snake close encounter a group of three hikers walking in the opposite direction appeared. As we chatted one of the ladies took her gaiters off only to discover a couple of leeches attached to her legs. Honestly her legs were covered in blood and she was hysterical.
We continued on trying to sight what could be a track that would lead us to the designated fallen tree to cross over the Mersey River. We perused the map, set compass readings and checked the gps co-ordinates, yes we had it all. Well we arrived at the said tree but boy it looked like an awkward scrabble across the fallen tree and the thought of trying to balance with the pack on our backs was abit much. The positive was the river level wasn’t high and certainly not flowing fast so we walked a few metres further and came across what appeared to be a suitable place to cross and that’s just what we did. Once both safely across we stopped and let out a huge sigh of relief as we had crossed the Never Never and never got lost and we had crossed the Mersey River without being swept down stream, phew!
BUT we weren’t finished yet as now on the other side of the river there was no track at all so back to bush bashing carving our own path, the joys of hiking but we love it. In the distance we could hear the roar of what we hoped would be McCoy Falls, yet another stunning waterfall in full flow. Surprise surprise downstream of the falls a well worn obvious track appeared following the river edge. The track lead us right to the top of Hartnett Falls. All the other falls we viewed from the river bed but here at Hartnett we were at the top where the water flowed over. What a perfect spot for lunch, with boots off we dangled our feet in the cool refreshing water as it spilt over.
A slow steady rough climb up to join the Overland Track and walk out to Narcissus Hut. Totally seemed like an anti climax to what we had just been through. Next morning we took the ferry across Lake St Clair to Cynthia Bay Resort where we enjoyed a well earned meal before travelling back to Hobart on the bus.
Until next yarn, happy hiking.