Austin was our walk leader today (sadly Sophie was absent on a warm Pacific island at the time), and he was pretty chuffed at the numbers who were prepared to brave the conditions. The sturdy walkers today were Austin, George, Di, Robert, Warren, Gary, Lyn, Wayne and Gerwyn. With rain holding off, we met in the carpark at Geeveston at 10.30am, piled into three cars with 4WD capability (just in case!) and headed west towards Mt Hartz.
Hartz Road was in reasonable condition, 4WD was not required. Getting ourselves ready in Hartz Shelter, the walkers hut, took a little while - there were many layers to put on!
Once we'd set off, at about 11.15am, conditions were clear (although low lying cloud meant visibility off the mountain wasn't spectacular) and we made good progress. There was no snow, but it had clearly been raining a bit!
The track was in good condition but some patches were slightly under water. The wind was scudding across, but it was beautiful in its ruggedness and you certainly knew you were alive.
Suddenly we noticed that Gary was missing - he'd decided to do his own thing, walking to Lake Osborne instead. We reached Lake Esperance quite quickly. It was beautiful, but the wind ripping across the water towards us didn't make for a relaxing stop.
We pushed on to Ladies Tarn, where conditions were no better. Beautiful, pristine, but windswept. Mt Hartz was hidden in clouds.
As going any further along the Mt Hartz track would have meant climbing up Hartz Pass, moving from the montane plateau to an even more windswept situation (and still no views!), we turned around and headed back to the hut. Revisiting Hartz Peak would have to wait for another day.
|A map of Europe|
Here we had our picnic lunch and Gary materialised again. We decided we had time to visit Lake Osborne as well, so off we went. This was a different walk, a gentle uphill climb, sheltered from the weather in fairly dense and varied montane rainforest. Pathside signs described the glacial history of the region.
Around the lake the King Billy pines were stunted due to their exposed lifestyle. It would be a lovely spot to linger, on a warmer day!
We were back in the carpark at about 2.15pm, well exercised. Gary invited us to visit the Waratah Shelter, the first picnic hut that you pass on the way up. This was a revelation. He had prepared the fireplace there with kindling and lit a roaring fire for us. Wowsers, it was lovely to sit around the warm fire. The hut also had free gas barbeques, which looked very efficient. And a composting loo with a view. After warming our toes for a while, we passed our fire on to a family we had met on the trail who were now enjoying the barbeque, and we headed towards home.
A lovely day out with good friends, in beautiful wild Tasmania, what could be better? I'm reminded that one of the first walks of our Walk-a-Month group was to Mt Hartz - five years ago, in summer and the views were fantastic.