A Young Mans journey continued

29.12 -5.30 still enveloped by cloud and freezing wind blowing. 6.00 porridge on and 7.00 breakfast of porridge, eggs, etc. 9.15 left Kitchen Hut and skirted Cradle Mtn. and up onto Cirque. Good views of Barn Bluff now obtained. Weather mainly fine with occasional showers, ground very sticky. Left Clique and descended Waterfall Valley where we lost the track for a while but picked it up again when we saw snow poles heading away on neighbouring ridge. Pressed on through the slush, passing several small lakes and finally descending to Lake Windermere and the Hut 2.00pm. Lake is simply beautiful with a small type of pines on its shores. We found hut very comfortable with bunks and big open fireplaces. After a brief lunch we washed up and Barry and I went for a photographic excursion around the shores of the lake and were foolish enough to plunge in for a brief swim. On way back met Gordon Hunter and 4 friends (Gordon was a school friend who lived in the same street) – they had climbed Barn Bluff en route. For tea we had stew and pudain a l’apricot, which tasted rather good. After washing up we half cooked the porridge.

30.12. –Up at 6.00, lit fire for porridge which turned into a hard gooey mess, however a little water and stirring soon got it into shape. 8.00 bid our friends farewell and pushed on to Pelion hut. 9.00 stopped for a wash. Weather is perfect, cool wind and few clouds. Pushed on through slush and mush around pine forest and across moor to Pelion creek – saw brown snake and crayfish. Had chocolates and raisins at Pelion creek and entered a forest of dead trees which gradually changed to a type of sub-tropical rain forest . Good made up track but still often sank over our ankles in the soft clay. Weather still holding and such good views of surrounding mountains. Reached Frog Flat 12.30 and lunch of Vita Wheat, stewed apples, cheese and tea. Beautiful spot. Left 1.30and headed up around ridge and through myrtle forest – much mud and arrived Pelion hut 3.00. Barry and I set off to climb Oakleigh at 3.15 – blazed our trail up mountain. Ruddy awful going and reached top at 5.45. Mixed up on track but finally found blazed trail and came down with ease – saw a wombat. Ross cooked stew and pancakes (excellent)and I made a boiled pudding. Went to bed sleeping 3 in a bunk.

31.12 Up at 700 washed up and put on porridge. Left Pelion at 10.00 – slogged through swamp and then followed Douglass creek, gradually climbing through occasional myrtle groves and passing cascades – saw another brown snake. Track not as muddy as yesterday. Rather stiff climb up to Pelion Gap 12.30. Dumped our packs and commenced to climb Pelion East. Easy climb except for rock – reached the summit. On way down did some tobogganing in a snow drift – Barry got a wet seat. Reached packs at 2.30 and lunched by creek with dried apples, fruit and vita wheat. Pressed on through open country to Kiora creek cascades after which it was only a 45 minute walk through a myrtle forest to DuCane hut 5.20. Weather in the morning had been dull and looked like rain, but about 1100 it broke and then perfect. DuCane hut is beautifully situated in the folds of the mountains. Mosquitoes here almost big enough to lift you but did not attack. Rising behind us is Castle Craig, while in front is Cathedral Mtn.. After tea we built up the fire and talked to Gordon and his friends. 3 other people in next room.

1.1. Dull – tops of mountain covered in mist. 6.00breakfast of porridge,omelette and ham. Chopped more wood, packed and left 9.10. Followed the track which led through a myrtle and beech forest – very pleasant walking between the trees on the soft loam. After half an hour came to the turn off to Dalton and Ferguson falls on Mersey river. We slip down the almost vertical track to the river at the Dalton falls. Words are difficult to find to describe the grandeur of these falls. Not of such exceptional height but rather of great volume of flowing water. The rush of water has cut for itself a deep gorge of vertical sides. We came back to the track and headed for Ferguson falls. After 10 minutes we could see the white mass of thundering waters through the trees. Dropping about 60ft the falls then form into 2 cascades, which rejoin and then pass under a natural bridge carved out by the water. I have never seen more beautiful falls. It took us some time to climb back up to the track and we then continued through the myrtle forest, which gradually merged into eucalyptus. We ascended the gradual slope to the DuCane gap. The rain which had been falling now stopped as we descended the other side of the gap through an enchanted forest of twisted tree trunks, moss and fungus. We now commenced to follow the Narcissus River toward Lake St. Clare, again passing through eucalyptus and obtaining views of the cloud enshrowded Acropolis. We passed several little creeks, Stony creek being of particular beauty. We were struck during the walk by the ever changing scenery ranging from alpine at Kitchen hut to typical NSW bushland as we approached Lake St. Clare. Also growing in profusion Waratah, Boronia, etc. Nearing Narcissus hut we passed over a somewhat insecure suspension bridge and after a minutes …….bash arrived at Narcissus at 5.15 and commenced cooking stew, ground rice and apricots. 5.30 the launch from Cynthia Bay arrived unexpectedly and we had to rush through our cooking and eat it on the boat on the way down the lake. Stopped night in hut at Cynthia Bay – in bed by 11.00. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2.1. Woke 8.00 overcast, cooked breakfast. 10.30 5 mile walk to Derwent Bridge. Had a drink at St. Clare Hotel and then walked a few yds. down to the bridge where we lit a fire and cooked toast while waiting for a lift. As the traffic was very sparse we decided to part with 15/- and caught tourist coach at 1pm.0 It commenced raining soon after we left Lake St. Clare, but we were able to see enough of the immediate surroundings to be suitably impressed by the terrifically steep gorges and dense forest. We became aware of our nearness to Queenstown by the rapid thinning and final cessation of vegetation caused by the fumes from the copper smelting plants. The last few miles to Queenstown were through great mountains completely denuded of all vegetation. Colours of varying shades of pink and brown formed a scene of somewhat awful grandeur. From the mountains the road drops slightly to a typical wild western mining town of Gormanston. It then snakes its way down the mountain with 97 bends in 3 miles to the mining centre of Queenstown. Leaving the coach we made our way to the local sports centre and billiard rooms where we were able to have a hot shower and shave gratis. Emerging in clean clothes which we had had sent from Launceston we presented ourselves at the town police station and were given accommodation in the local Court House, once more gratis. We then went to the towns only restaurant and obtained a whacking big feed of bacon and eggs, together with plenty of toast. We then obtained cornflakes and milk for breakfast and bedded down on the floor. We rose 600 and after hasty breakfast boarded the train for Strahan a seaport 22 miles away. The Railway system is owned by the Mount Lyell Mining Co. and as there was a regatta on at Strahan half of Queenstown had the same idea. The journey was unique in several respects. Firstly the majority of the coaches were merely ore trucks with benches and an awning added. Secondly as the railway ascends a grade of 1 in 20 for a distance of 3 miles there is a rack set between the rails, mating with a pinion in the engine, enabling it to haul the train without slipping. On the way excellent views of the King River Gorge. At Strahan we left the majority of the picknickers and made our way across to the wharves, where a modern little motor ship names Eugowra was anchored. At the gangplank we met the jovial Wilson who insisted we accompany him across to the hotel, where we met the cook, also jovial, who insisted that we join them on board for lunch, which we heartily agreed to. Were served an excellent lunch, Wilson taking quite a paternal interest in us. Barry and Ross went off with Wilson while I went down with 2 of the crew , Curley and Harry, to their cabin where I spent an interesting hour and half listening to Harry talking about the sea. Eventually caught up with Barry and Ross.3.30 . A hurried tea at 4,45 on ship to join in the scramble for the cattle trucks. On the way back to Queenstown got on friendly terms with the occupants of our truck and had a really good time. Feeling a little peckish on arriving whisked around to the cafĂ© for a couple of eggs on toast, then returned to the court house. By the way the picture shows are open here on Sundays. At 9.30 one of our friends from the train came and told us that a timber lorry had passed through about 7.30 pm and gone on to Linda where the driver was staying until 5am the next morning. It was teaming rain and 5 miles to Linda over the mountain, but we immediately prepared to leave 11.15. On the way we were lucky enough to pick p the miner’s bus for the 12 o’clock shift at the top of the mountain. The bus was in complete darkness and it was indeed a strange experience looking forward from the rear of the bus and seeing the forms of the driver and the miners sharply outlined by the headlights playing on the colourful walls of pink and brown ore and then peering out into the black road as the bus swang crazily around the bends on the way to the top of the mountain. From Gormonston we set off in the driving rain in pitch blackness. Eventually found the highway which we tramped along until we saw the glow of Lindas only street light. We could not see the truck and after inspecting a large barn and a 6foot square waiting shed , decided on the waiting shed. We hung a ground sheet over the door and turned in somewhat cramped. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….4.1 4.30 we rose and saw the truck a little way down the road. The driver already had 2 passengers but were given permission to hop up on the back. As it was still raining we hauled a heavy smelly tarpaulin over the logs and us, completely cutting off the view. We continued in this confineament of flapping tarpaulin and slimy logs for the next 3 hrs. to Derwent Bridge. I had had it and as the rain had eased I wrapped myself in our tent and groundsheet, put on my balaclava and I was lord of all seated on the back of the truck with the glorious landscape slipping away behind me. There were still occasional showers, but I was well protected and had a great time. At Hamilton we stopped for lunch and from then on Barry and Ross joined me in the open. The driver dropped us about 22 miles from Hobart. We made the journey to Hobart by train with only one breakdown (engine 1891) Straight to YMCA and were promptly told by a bird looking out of the window that there was no accommodation. We went one higher to some official and obtained permission to sleep in an unfinished portion of a new wing. The floor was concrete and rather dirty but nevertheless it was shelter.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Bumper Citrus Harvest

Life on the farm

My Giant Vegetables