Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lake St Clair

Morning mist retreating from Lake St Clair
After enjoying the Mt Ossa catch up with my Overland Track friends I decided to zip in to Narcissus to greet them.  An early start had me driving past the Liffey Valley lookout at sunrise.  After seeing The Hunter recently I took a few minutes out to go Thylacine hunting.  Sure enough, as I suspected the Thylacine prints 'discovered' by Willem Dafoe's were still there.  I thought I knew that spot!

Soon after 8am I set out along the Lake aiming to catch the group so I could join them for the ferry ride down the lake.  After walking various bits of the Overland Track several times I had never walked the bit from Narcissus to Echo Point.

Actually, that reminds me of the only previous time I had walked to Echo Point a couple of years ago.  A lovely German couple stayed with my family before walking the Overland Track.  They had planned their walk to the 'nth' degree and we agreed to pick them up from Cynthia Bay on their last day.

A day before our friends were due to finish my wife had a crazy idea which she shared over the phone Friday afternoon while I was still at work.  Much to my delight, with in-laws looking after our children, straight after work we headed south.  At 9pm we started walking by torch light along the lake.

At quarter past midnight we tip-toed onto the Echo Point beach right past our friends' tent, quietly cooked ourselves a midnight feast and settled in.  In the morning our friends were among the first to wake.  What a cool surprise it was when these hikers from the other side of the planet were greeted by a friendly welcome.  Breakky on the jetty was a social affair as we were introduced to several overseas walkers our friends had met along the track.
Echo Point Beach

Anyway, back to last year's walk.  I now know the track up the lake has a nasty sting in the tail when walking south to north.  Not far north of Echo Point there's a view over to Narcissus Bay where the jetty seems a hop step and a jump away over a button grass flat.  Just when I felt home and hosed the track turned away towards Byron Gap where it meets the Cuvier Valley Track in lovely open myrtle forest.

The trip down the lake was fun and as I wayed goodbye to my friends I decided a fun way to finish the trip would be to return home via the West Coast.  I stopped at Mt Arrowsmith and Donahys Hill before flagged down by an interstate family asking how far it was to Hobart as they were low on fuel.  Oh dear!
Frenchmans Cap from Donahys Hill

I offered to turn around and follow them back to Derwent Bridge in case they needed a lift to fetch a fuel can.  They made it just before closing.  After bidding farewell to them I ditched the West Coast plans and instead decided to visit the geographic centre of Tassie.  I have a mate into all things geospatial so I took some happy snaps of the monument for him.

Thankfully this crazy day trip had a happy ending.  It almost ended up ugly though.  I discovered my own fuel problem.  At Bronte Lagoon I had 100km to reach the nearest 24-hour fuel at Deloraine.  The trusty trip computer said I had 90km left in the tank!  The Marlborough and Highland Lakes Roads are not exacly the smoothest most fuel-efficient routes around.

There was a lot of coasting down hills and, at Pine Lake with 35km to go and 20km in the tank, I took even more drastic action.  After a test on a slight slope I discovered it was still possible to brake and steer with the engine completely off.  I had been nervous steering might lock or something.  The S-bends going down the front of the Great Western Tiers were quite an adventure while almost standing on the brake pedal and reefing on the steering wheel without the usual power assist.  I made it!

Check out my photos at Facebook:
Echo Point Beach Camp
Lake St Clair & the Centre of Tas

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