The Overland Diaries pt.XXII – of snow and rain

It’s been a strange start to the season, especially considering the almost arid seasons we’ve had recently. Winter pushed almost all the way up to christmas, and spring seems to be making it’s way steadily through what should be mid-summer. We had more snow through October than all of our ‘winter’ trips combined, and mid-January has seen the waterfalls at full-flow.

Strange times…

Barn Bluff Hut after overnight snow

Snow sentinels

Snow Peppermint with cloud swirl

Cradle Cirque frozen mid-afternoon

Drifts on the Windermere Plains

Kitchen Hut

The snow begins…

Frozen Scoparia

Snow on the coral ferns

Fresh tracks

Ice on the Myrtle Beech

Pencil Pine by Lake Windermere

Tableau

Guests/adventurers…

The Overland Diaries pt.XIX – modes of seeing

If you’ve been following some of my other posts you may have noticed that I’ve recently acquired a new toy, a lovely new Ricoh GR.

The reasoning behind the purchase (other than basic gear-lust) was a desire to simplify – I’ve developed my Micro Four Thirds kit to a point of maturity; the EM5 is all the camera I need and I’ve got about as good a collection of primes as one could hope for, but I had begun to feel as if the gear was getting in the way of the photos.¬†More and more I’ve gravitated towards a documentary style of shooting, but in a way I feel like the gear I’ve been using, and the myriad possibilities it presents, has been dictating the way I shoot. In response to this, I see the GR as a high-quality, no bullshit tool for simply capturing¬†what I see.

I’ve banned myself from buying anymore bodies/lenses over the next 12 months, and I’ll be shooting solely with the GR as much as I can, hopefully pushing the limits of both my creativity and GR’s capturing potential.

I’m hoping that bushwalking will be a big part of those 12 months, and here’s the first taste – a riduculously hot and sunny Overland (36degC on day 5…)

Barn Bluff

Everlastings

Flowering pandani

Alpine Sundew

Oakleigh, Pillinger and Dean Bluff

Light and shadow amongst the Alpine Ash

Anyone know what these are? Pelion Plains

Channeling Fred Smithies on the Pelion East ascent

The final climb

Eucalyptus Delegatensis reach for the light

Making our way through the Upper Mersey Valley

Star-trails over Castle Crag

The first Leatherwood blooms for the season

Rainforest

Shadows at Du Cane Hut

Early dawn from The Gatepost, after a late night climb by headtorch and open-air bivvy on the summit

The Narcissus River rests as the weather begins to change

Off-track adventures: Turrana Bluff, Mersey Crag & Clumner Bluff

The Central Plateau region is something of a stranger in Tasmania’s outdoor circles. It doesn’t have the dramatic peaks and valleys, well-marked routes and subsequent high-profiles of neighbouring Walls of Jerusalem NP or nearby Cradle Mt – Lake St Clair NP, and neither does it have the imposing wildness of the Southwest.

What it does have is a quiet loneliness, a sense of space and freedom that stems from it’s windswept, scrubby moors and almost complete lack of human presence. The small markers you do see – the ruins of an old trappers hut, and the faint bushwalker’s and fisherman’s pads – serve only to remind you how ephemeral your own presence is. You are there and then you are gone.

The following collection is from a recent short trip I undertook with another guide to have a crack at some of Tassie’s lesser known Abels: Clumner Bluff (1433m), Turrana Bluff (1440m) and Mersey Crag (1404m). Not much to say really, other than it’s a beautiful place to get off track and I probably wouldn’t recommend approaching Clumner from the Long Tarn… It took around 9.5hrs return for fit walkers, which is significantly more than the Abels-recommended route from the north-west.

Shot with the EM5. m.ZD 17mm and m.ZD 45mm.

The old bridge, now closed to traffic. This adds about an hour of easy walking to the start.

Little Fisher River

Old logging trail down in the valley

Rinadeena Falls (formerly Little Fisher Falls)

Myrtle Beech rainforest below the Falls

Turrana Bluff from Deception Plains

Boy Miles’ Deception Plains Hut (c. 1978)

Found near the hut

Looking back down the Little Fisher River Valley

Turrana Bluff

Rainclouds approaching from Mt Ossa

Scrambling for the high-point

Long Tarns campsite

Wedge-tailed Eagle pair

Looking across the northern Walls of Jerusalem towards the Overland Track

Boulders below Mersey Crag

Mersey Crag

The plateau to Clumner Bluff

Left-over snow

Classic Central Plateau landscape

The valley before Clumner, Kind Davids Peak in the distance

Lunch on top of Clumner Bluff, with an epic view of the mountains of the Overland Track – we could see from Mt Olympus in the south to Cradle Mt in the north!

The Clumner Bluff escarpment

Barn Bluff and Cradle Mt

Pole on the plateau behind Clumner Bluff – anyone know what it’s for?

Pencil Pine tarn

Dead Pencil Pine

The (very) Long Tarns – the boundary between the Central Plateau Conservation Area and the Walls of Jerusalem National Park

Returning home in fading light, Mt Jerusalem in the background

Undercut sandstone escarpment in the Little Fisher Valley

Pelion Mining Co. hut?

I was up Mt Pelion East with some guests the other day (we generally go up Mt Ossa instead, but this was out due to snow) and we noticed what looked like an old hut down in Pelion Valley. It looks to be about 1km up Snarers Hut Creek from the track towards Pelion Gap.

Now, I wasn’t aware that there remained any huts in the area, but I know that there used to be several trappers/snarers huts in the valley, and also several prospectors huts built by the Pelion Mining Co. in the late 1800’s (did the trappers simply commandeer the mining huts after prospecting was abandoned – as was the case with Old Pelion Hut down by Douglas Creek?). In particular there’s one photo in Old Pelion of a Mining Co. hut that looks like it was somewhere further up the valley towards the foothills of Mt Ossa and Paddy’s Nut. I’ve never been able to figure out where exactly it was but I’m wondering if the feature I’ve circled below could be it?

Pelion Mining Co. hut near Snarers Hut Creek?

We were here and now we’re gone.

The site of the former Cirque Hut – a bushwalkers hut somewhere on the Overland Track near Waterfall Valley. I can’t find much info on what this once was and I fear that it will be one of many Tasmanian highland huts to slowly slip away from both the landscape and our memory.

Cirque Hut – Overland Track