The Overland Track Part Two – Mount Ossa, The Top of Tassie

So I had to Google Mount Ossa and what it actually looks like later when I had gotten home because it was so overcast and cloudy that I could barely see most of it on the day we decided to climb it….. I didn’t know where the summit was, I had no idea where I was going. All I knew, was that I WAS GOING……

Mount Ossa on a clear day. Source http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Mount_Ossa_Tasmania.jpg

Day Four

Day four started with me spending half an hour strapping my feet with bandaids and sports tape to try and protect them, a feat which I later discovered was futile. It was a two hour journey from the Pelion Hut up to the Pelion Gap. From here you can do two side trips. You can chose the path to the left which leads you up to the top of the stick pile on the hill that is Mount Pelion East, or you can choose to be bad ass and take the path on the right which leads to the summit of the tallest peak in Tasmania, Mount Ossa, standing at 1617m…. despite not being able to see it.

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Mount Ossa somewhere in there…. obscured by quite a lot of low level cloud

So in the grand tradition of ‘don’t think, just do’, we took the path to the right. Firstly though, we had to cover our packs. Warning signs had been placed on the trails warning of the cunning currawongs, these glorious black birds that have evolved to learn how to undo zips on bags and go through all of your stuff. I put my pack cover over the top of my bag, put my bag down and started on my way.

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Cheeky Bird Warning

Not being able to see what it is that you are climbing exactly makes things a little ambiguous. At first I thought we were going up Mount Doris. But then I realized that it was not high enough and going to be too easy, so around the side of Mount Doris we went and there we were, at the foot of Mount Ossa, ready to go.

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Round The Side Of Mount Doris

About half way up, we started to encounter the snow and the low level cloud to the point where it became difficult to see anything more than the footprints in the snow in front of you, more snow and some rocks sticking out of it. The wind started roaring and it became difficult to climb. At one point I thought to myself, “I can’t do this. It is too dangerous. It is too windy. I can’t get up this channel that the wind is just beating down in”. Some of the girls we had been staying with in the hut came around the corner at the top and told us that the wind is not bad on the other side and all we had to do was to make it to the top of the narrow and windy alley. So we persisted. Slowly. Carefully. And eventually rounded the top of the wind tunnel into the haven of the wind-free other side of the mountain.

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On the face heading towards the central channel. The infamous wind tunnel….

From here it was another half an hour of walking. As the days had progressed we had laughed about ‘going deep’, a term that we used every time somebody stepped into a puddle so deep that the muddy water seeped over the top of your boot and down into your shoes. This half an hour of walking took the term ‘going deep’ to a completely new level. At times the footing was so unstable you would find yourself ass deep in snow with your feet stuck and you would literally have to climb your way out.

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“Going Deep”

At some point, the footprints in the snow stopped. And after consultation with the GPS, we realized that we were indeed at the top. 1617m, and the top of Tasmania. The boys took part in customary underpants photos and we started our way back down the hill.

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At The Summit of Mount Ossa, 1617m

Given the downward momentum and that it was pretty hairy trying to walk down for fear of ‘going deep’ it was easier for the most part to slide down the snow on your butt trying to avoid rocks. It was actually really fun and in some places you could work up a bit of speed. We rounded the bend into the giant wind tunnel again, managed to get down safely and continued back down the hill.

An hour later, the rest of the world appeared out of the bottom of the clouds and the surreal feeling of being in the snow in a white out disappeared. It was back to business as usual, back to the packs, and back on the trail to get to the next hut, the Kia Ora hut.

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The world reappearing from the under the bottom of a cloud

Only one thing was problematic….. those cheeky Currawongs! They had managed to evolve further to chewing through elastic to remove my pack cover, open my top zip, disperse my phone, wallet, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and anything else they could get their grubby beaks on all over the platform. Despite not being the only one who had their pack broken into for the day (it happened to about five people), I would never hear the end of it. “Forget being smarter than a fifth grader, because you aren’t smarter than a bird”.

Stay tuned for the final installment of the Overland Track……

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The Overland Track Part One…. And So The Adventure Begins

6 days. 4 boys that call themselves the “Trail Smashing Mega Blokes” and a girl. Approximately 90km. Four waterfalls. One mountain summit. Voted one of the top ten walks in the world. Welcome to the Overland Track, deep in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness!

The Start Of The Overland Track At Ronny Creek

It had been on the bucket list for years and this time I decided that while spending some time at home I was going to do it! So I put out the call for others to come along on Facebook and found some friends from high school I hadn’t seen in years who were keen. That is it! We’re going! It’s on!

Day One

And so I set off in the 4WD through the amazing Central Highlands from Launceston to Lake St. Clair to meet up with the others coming up from Hobart. After meeting we drove the winding roads up through to the small mining town of Queenstown for lunch before continuing on to Cradle Mountain National Park.

Queenstown Main Street
Queenstown Main Street

Post checking into our accommodation and organizing all of our packs and who was carrying what, came the last supper. Dinner consisted of a giant BBQ plate of meat, a luxury food not afforded to us for the next 6 days followed by the most ridiculous game of ‘spoons’ you have ever seen (spoons literally flying around the kitchen) and the last nights’ sleep in a real bed.

Day Two

I started the morning off with a Redbull poured into a glass and handed to me while I was still in bed. It was freezing and motivation at that point to get out of bed was low. Add the caffeine kickstart and we are up and at ’em!

We started at the Ronny Creek Car Park at 7:30am. Spirits were high, there was excitement in the air. We hiked through the grasslands up into the rain forest and then up around to the stunning views over Crater Lake. The packs were heavy and foreign on the backs but not too bad at that stage.  We persisted climbing up the side of a steep hill, hauling ourselves up with the chains supports to Marion’s Lookout with the incredible view of Dove Lake and the amazing Cradle Mountain, renowned for it’s cradle-like shape in the middle.

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain

The steepest ascent and toughest part of the day was done. From here was a flat stroll through low level grasslands with some of the most breathtaking valley views I have ever seen in my life. To the left you hiked along the side of Cradle Mountain and to the right, there were the valleys and the amazing Barn Bluff, a mountain of jagged and sheer rock sticking up out of a curved hill like a pile of sticks.

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Barn Bluff

We followed the trail down until we reached the Waterfall Valley Hut. This is technically the end of the first leg of the Overland Track and we were here by noon and decided we would stay on for lunch. We were joined by a crew of three from France who had just summitted the Barn Bluff and we sat and ate together. At one point, we saw a random guy who was wearing nothing but a singlet, a tiny pair of shorts and a headband running around outside being all Rambo. For the rest of the trip, he became known as the ghost of the Overland Track from the 80’s. Nobody saw him again after that. Nobody knew where he went.

Given how early it was, we continued to proceed on the next leg of the Overland Track to Windermere Hut. It was a struggle and a hard push towards the end. The feet were starting to hurt. The pack was wearing through on the back. But 8km later we made it. It was around an 18km day of hiking, and putting the pack down had never felt better. With some herb and cheese gnocchi for dinner smashed down, it was early to bed with the thirteen of us in the hut and a pretty restless sleep.

Day Three

The longest single leg of the Overland Track from the Windermere Hut to the Pelion Hut was today. The weather unlike the day before was average with little to no visibility. So it was a long, hard and incredibly muddy slog, through the Pine Forest Moor, through the Frog Flats and down to the Pelion Hut. At one point I started freaking out that I was not going to make it there before it got dark considering that my feet had gotten so sore that they were slowing me down quite a lot. We eventually arrived though and I had never been happier.

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Through the Pine Forest Moor

The views from the balcony overlooking the mountains from Pelion Hut were incredibly calming and beautiful. I chose to sit out here and pop the many blisters I had acquired that day in an attempt to dry them out for the next day. There were around thirty people staying at the hut including quite a few families which surprised me given that it is quite perilous hiking the Overland Track in winter. The boys and I sat, ate an amazing dehydrated Laksa for dinner and I taught them how to play Yaniv, a game we became well acquainted with during the trip. Sleep was easier on the second night, but still fairly restless.

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Views out from the Pelion Hut

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Overland Track……

The World – Virgin Blog Entry

I am not sure how or when exactly it started, but my inherent fascination with the world, the people in it and their differences has always given me itchy feet. So much so that I made it my life long goal to visit every continent on the globe and as many countries in this life as I could. A huge feat, one that even I still can’t fathom 30 countries later. Add to this my excitable nature and my constant need to be doing something different all of the time and I find myself in all kinds of hilarious situations and troubles.

Every child in this world embraced dreams and dared to dream large. As people age they tend to start living in a state fear that inhibits them from reaching true happiness and fulfilling their own potential. The fear of instability and of what other people think about them begins to dictate their choices. After letting this resonate with me for many years and struggling with going against the social norms, I decided to embrace the wise words once spoken by Nelson Mandela. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.

So everyday, I challenge myself. Push myself to the limits. Try something new. Experience difference. LIVE. Because if we are static in this life, we will never grow. I personally don’t want to see my life out with regrets. I want to remember the roller coaster and say ‘well, geez that was a whole lot of fun and a hell of a ride! I did everything I could have in this short time that we are granted here on this earth. I didn’t waste any of it’.

And so here begins your journey with me. Laugh with me, cry with me, struggle with me, as I take on whatever challenge comes my way, no matter how ridiculous it might seem at the time. It is bound to be a riot! I didn’t get the nickname “Stories Dano” for nothing!

With much love, fun and adventure to come! I look forward to the ride with you all!

 

Danni 🙂 xxxx

A woman's lifelong aversion to the word 'No'….