Friday, February 19, 2010

Echo Point

Sunrise over Mount Ida and Lake St Clair from Echo Point

Sometimes it's quality, not quantity that counts. This walk was less than 24 hours but it felt much longer, we had such a good time. Work and childcare arrangements permitted Anne and I barely 24 hours to go bush but we made the most of it!

After work one night earlier this week, we packed our gear, said goodbye to the children and headed off to Cynthia Bay at the southern end of Lake St Clair. At 8:45pm we started the trek north along the famous Overland Track. The reason behind such madness was to surprise some German Friends who were expecting us to pick them up at 3:00pm the following day after they had spent 7 days on the track. I thought they would be at Narcissus, but Anne was confident we would find them at Echo Point.

A few minute's walking brought us to Watersmeet where a very large bridge spans the confluence of the Hugel and Cuvier Rivers. That point also brought us to the end of dusk so with headlamps on, we continued north as the forest around us changed from eucalypts to the denser myrtles which would accompany us for the rest of the night. There was not a breath of wind so the lake was eerily silent. Occasional gaps in the forest canopy revealed the sky was delightfully cloud-free and a myriad of stars shone brightly.

By 11:30pm we were hoping the hut was not far away. Neither of us had walked this section of track before but I had been to the hut by ferry and knew there was a creek nearby. Therefore, the sound of running water made us quite excited. Sadly when we reached a bridge, I did not recognise the location so the hut was still somewhere further ahead. As we approached the 3 hour mark since leaving the car, we began to wonder just how much slower our progress was than the 'guide-book-time.'

A second stream ten minutes later got our hopes up but again they were dashed. Thankfully, barely a minute later, we reached a stream which looked very familiar and the hut was upon us. We tiptoed past almost a dozen tents and made our way to the far end of the beach where I set up the tent while Anne cooked a delicious midnight dinner.
After some sunrise photography in the morning, it was terrific fun to see the surprise and delight on the faces of our friends. From that point, we had a leisurely morning, chatting with the 'united nations' of Overland Track walkers in and around the Echo Point hut. At 10:20am we shouldered packs again as the four of us wandered down the lake. A Sandy beach just before Platypus Bay made a relaxing lunch spot before our friends were able to make their triumphal arrival at the Overland Track finish line soon after 2:00pm.

Our crazy day-and-a-bit away from home finished with a drive back to the north-west coast via Hobart where we had dinner at Mures to farewell our friends who will soon return home.

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