THE TWELVE DAYS OF TASSIE
We've spent the last six months planning a trip to Tassie's Western Arthurs. Maps, gear list, transport, etc all sorted. About a month out my mate Gaz rings me from a hospital in Dubai "there may have been an incident..." he says "but I should be good for the Arthurs still if I take it easy". Turns out he had been riding dirt bikes in the big dune dessert in UAE and had a massive stack which resulted in a broken collar-bone, fractured ribs, and vertebrae, etc. After that phone call, I contacted the rest of the team and we decided it just wouldn't be the same without Gaz and so the trip was abruptly postponed.
That left my dearly beloved and I with 12 days in Tassie, what to do!!? I packed my paddleboard, my backpack, and tommy my mascot and got on the plane. In an attempt to avoid the crowds for NYE we headed bush to the Walls of Jerusalem. Arriving at Wild Dog Campsite it turned out that 54 others also had the same idea so after getting some inside knowledge from another hiker we decided to push through to Dixon's Hut Campsite. There was still plenty of company here but we managed a prime flat grassy site with crystal clear stream nearby to set-up for our wilderness immersion. We hiked up through the crack to Solomon's Throne and continued across to King David's Peak where I cursed the fact that my gaiters were in my tent while my legs were getting shredded. I also knocked off Mount Jerusalem and The Temple, swam in Lake Adelaide and other pools that weren't as cold as one would expect but had swallowing mud that caused you to either sink or swim - your choice. The sapphire blue lakes had me lamenting that I hadn't made the effort to carry my paddleboard up here but I comforted myself that the Trappers Hut climb and descent would have been both torturous and hazardous with a pack front and back.
Having been upgraded to a small SUV hire car translated to relative freedom and as we drove past Lake Rowallan, I yelled "Stop"! Adam slammed on the brakes and I was almost out of the car before he realised what I had seen. All those dead trees made for the perfect paddling slalom course, so despite the ominous clouds overhead, we pumped up my board and I headed out with poor Adam stuck on shore playing photographer.
My next crazy idea was to head to Cradle Mountain and hike Barn Bluff but Mother Nature had other ideas, so I decided to get my paddleboard back out and paddle around the iconic Dove Lake. I've swum here before and there's something magical about water and mountains together. The wind howling off Cradle mountain itself seemed to be trying to thwart my efforts and I alternated between surfing and stationary paddling with a large risk of losing my balance into the ink black water. But then the wind subsided and I glided perfectly into the beach at the iconic boatshed as if I did this stuff all the time!
Our Tassie adventures became a little more civilised from here, wine tasting, putt putt golf, paddle boarding on the Tamar River and an awesome experience with the meerkats at Tasmania Zoo. We fly home tomorrow but I'm sitting here with my beer writing this satisfied that we did our 12 days in Tassie justice.
(P.s. Gaz is back home in Perth and on the mend)
As for what's next? Well, you never know what adventure is just around the corner, but for now I have a lot of hard work ahead of me as I train for Ironman Port Macquarie in May and then the mountains are calling me and I head to Europe to hopefully tick of Mont Blanc (France), Gran Paradisio (Italy) and Mount Triglav (Slovenia).
Wish me luck xxoo,
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