Bush Walking / Hiking – Hartz Peak

One of my hobbies (passions?) besides writing & bass playing & being a husband/ dad is bush walking. Here in Tasmania we have some incredibly awesome unspoilt wilderness areas; many of which are quite accessible. I usually go alone, but before you worry – please don’t – I’m reasonably fit, capable & experienced (and prepared) for the walks I do.

Yesterday I decided to do the Hartz Peak walk. This walk is within the Hartz Mountain National Park, about 85km south-west of Hobart.The trail is reported to be between 8km and 13km; my GPS rounded it out about 11km… go figure…?

Arve River.

Arve River.

The peak is 1,250 metres high, and the trail starts at the end of the Forestry Road. The start of the trail at the 800 metre level is clearly marked near the visitors’ shelter. The walk begins with few hundred metres of gradual climbing through scrubby bushland over rocky steps before opening up into the heathland.

Part of the Devil's Backbone

Part of the Devil’s Backbone

The view from Waratah Lookout

The view from Waratah Lookout

The Trail.

The Trail.

The mountains called ‘Devils Backbone’ are prominent on the right from the very start of the walk as you leave the visitor shelter.

Views behind are of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Mt Wellington further off to the north. Hartz Peak is always ahead, off to the south. The track at this section is well constructed timber boarding, over the marshland. About a kilometre and a half in there is a side track to the west to Lake Esperance, only 100 metres away. The track takes you to the glacier-formed tarn’s edge.

Lake Esperance

Lake Esperance

Back on the main track, it continues south for another 1km over some easy ground until reaching Ladies Tarn. From here the track changes from well-constructed to quite rugged.

The trail gets steeper

The trail gets steeper

A steep (but short – a hundred or so metres) climb to the saddle below Hartz Peak. Further west is Hartz Lake and the Picton Valley (but I didn’t see much of the valley – it was a bit cloudy).

Hartz Lake

Hartz Lake

Mountains, rocks, water & stuff...

Mountains, rocks, water & stuff…

Continuing to Hartz Peak to the south, I followed cairns for 500 metres or so over a slight climb before a final steep and slippery climb over a rock scree to the summit. The top was a bit cloudy & the weather rolled in quite quickly, so I ate lunch in the small sheltered area & went back. Climbing down was a little more difficult; due to the sleet & poor visibility, but I took it slow & moved carefully.

Weather closing in.

Weather closing in.

Weather closing in!

Weather closing in!

Small shelter at the top of Hartz Peak.

Small shelter at the top of Hartz Peak.

Carefully climbed over this...

Carefully climbed over this…

Overall a quite enjoyable experience! I wished I’d been able to do it on a clear day; the views to the south and west are reportedly quite spectacular.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Pete Diggins

 

UPDATE 27 MARCH 2016

I went again.. the weather forecast was 17 degrees centigrade, partly cloudy.

Nope.

Sleet, howling gale, fog, mist, rain, about -2 degrees. No views again. Oh well, I’ll try again another day.

What a strange fortnight

Apologies in advance, but this blog post has nothing to do with books, literature, entertainment or anything even remotely amusing.

Two weeks ago we hosted a Tupperware party – the party was fun!

Tuesday 25 November I woke up and discovered our dogs had been let out of our back yard. Fairly traumatising, considering our dogs don’t socialise very much (besides being walked and also played with in our own back yard). Neither has been out of the yard off a leash. Neither is particularly ‘obedient’, but they are fun, playful and happy dogs. We have a big German Shepherd (Oscar) and a smaller Kelpie cross (Pixi – who is almost 15 years old).

Not knowing how long they’d been out was the worst. I thought I’d heard at least one of them barking half an hour before; but being half-asleep, I wasn’t 100% sure. I was petrified that I’d never see our dogs again, it was heartbreaking. I hopped in the car and drove one way while Julie tried to wake our girls with the intent of heading in the opposite direction. At the bottom of the hill at the Main Road, I noticed a fellow at a bus stop and thought about stopping to ask him if he’d seen the dogs. Before I’d had a chance, however, I also spotted a lady walking two beautiful golden retrievers. Being a dog walker, she may have paid more attention to two stray dogs, perhaps.

I pulled over, wound down the window and asked if she’d seen them. The lady smiled and said, “Is this one of yours?” Amazingly, she’d found Pixi and had popped her on a leash. I didn’t see Pixi straight away, because a) she’s entirely black, and b) she was ‘hidden’ behind two golden retrievers…!

Incredibly relieved, I got out of the car to get Pixi in. I asked the lady if she’d seen Oscar. “Is that him?” she said, pointing over my shoulder and back down the road. There he was, not 100 metres away.

I must admit at this point that I did introduce myself and asked the lady her name, but I can’t for the life of me remember it… But that morning she’d been the most wonderful person on earth, in my eyes.

To cut a long story short, we got Oscar back without too much hassle. A bit of hunting around in the undergrowth near St Virgil’s school was needed before he came back (to Julie, mind you, not to me – I think he could tell I was a little stressed).

Crisis over, we were organised enough that even got to work on time.

Later that day Phillip Hughes, the Australian batsman, was struck by a cricket ball and collapsed at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Phil later died from the injury on Thursday 27 November 2014.

Like most of the country, I thought he would one day become one of our best batsmen. But he, like many before him, was still in the embryonic stages of his international cricketing career and was once again on the verge of selection for a spot in the test team.

Being as involved in cricket as I once was, I have a few friends who were pretty close to Phil Hughes, and I feel very sad for them, personally. But when this happened I felt like I’d lost a mate. I couldn’t explain it. Thanks to Brigid Delaney from the guardian.com for the following words:

“In 1937 poet Edna St Vincent Millay wrote that ‘childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies’. Until last week, there was a sense that cricket was that kingdom too.”

Having played cricket for 30 years, I also felt that former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe also explained it from a player’s perspective in an article I found on dnaindia.com:

“Crowe said that as cricketers they reflect deeply, questioning that how did they themselves all dodged this moment. He said that he must have been hit 20 times above the shoulders, in the neck, throat and head, in over 25 years of playing the game, and shrugged it off, as they all did.
Crowe said that they all had these kinds of moments in the game that they endured somehow. He added that they were lucky.
Crowe claimed that Hughes didn’t deserve not enjoying the same luck, and questioned why did such a good kid, on track to finally nail that spot he so wanted and so deserved, become the first after so long.”

Rest in Peace.

We move on to this week. Tuesday was the 23rd anniversary of my dad’s passing. I miss him every day. Coincidentally, a lady at work returned on Tuesday after the death of her mother a week or so ago.

Wednesday one of my best friends experienced some real lows. His aunt passed away after a long battle with illness, and then the next morning he lost his dad as well. Both deaths were not unexpected; both were ill for a long time. But of course you can prepare for as long as you like, but it never softens the blow. The timing was really what floored me.

It never rains, it pours.

Thanks for reading.

Pete Diggins