Thursday, September 09, 2010

Basil Steers Hut No. 3

From my old blog 4th October 2006...

Basil Steers' 1974 February Plains hut
Back in April I went for a trip to February Plains.  On that trip I found a classic, yet very run down, example of a trappers hut.  (8/11/08 - I now know this ruin was Basil Steers' No 2 hut after reading Simon Cubit's "High Country Heritage.")  As mentioned in that post, I have heard there are other huts on the plains but I didn't know how to find them.

In June I went back to the plains armed with information about how to find Basil Steers' most recent hut.  It was built in 1974 just before the craft of trapping skins in winter was outlawed in Tasmania.

On this trip I took my mountain bike to save some time on the approach.  The instructions I had were a little vague but sure enough I found the tell tale signs of chain sawed logs in the bush where a path had been cleared to take a horse drawn sled to the hut.  This was fine until I reached the open plains where there were no more sawn logs and no obvious sign of a track.

Photos I had seen of the hut showed it was in trees so I wandered around the edge of the plains in an anti-clockwise direction.  I should have gone clockwise because I was almost back to where I started when I caught a glimpse of the hut through the trees.

This hut is being very well looked after and has been completely closed in.  It is so luxurious that there is lino and carpet on the floor.  The bunks would sleep 8 walkers in comfort.  I'll certainly bring the family back for a trip another time.

On the way home, I stopped by Gads Falls beside Lake Parangana.  The top of the falls can be glimpsed from the road and are way up on the mountainside.  I looked forward to getting a closer look.

The marked trail leads through a narrow valley below the falls clad in dark rainforest.  After a short walk, I arrived at the first set of falls.  These were quite pretty but I knew I was still well below the falls you could see from the road so I kept climbing.

I don't think the 'official' track continues past the first set of falls but I was clearly following a well worn path that soon rewarded me with a second fall.
I still felt as if I was a long way below the top falls so I continued upward.  It appeared I was no longer following a well worn track.  The sides of the valley were now dominated by slippery banks of shale scree.  With a fair amount of difficulty, I made it to a 3rd set of falls.

Even worse scree made the next part of the climb extremely difficult and I still had not glimpsed the top falls since leaving the car.  Above the scree I reached a section of cliffs reaching into the valley from the south.  From a precarious vantage point on these cliffs, I could see a 4th and 5th set of falls where the valley kinks to the north a little.

To my great frustration, the shape of the valley was now preventing me from seing the ridgeline above.  The falls I could see from the road were still out of site!!!  From here, I had a choice between some serious rock climbing or a big descent to tackle the valley from an entirely different approach.  At this point, common sense overruled my 'waterfall bagging' ambitions and I carefuly made my way back down to the car.

As I drove along the road, I didn't dare glimpse back at the waterfall gracing the skyline.  I'm sure it would have been taunting me.  A closer look will have to wait for another day!

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