The Never Never (day 5)

Galerie 2011-04-28 Never Never anzeigen.

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10km, 150m ascend, 250 descend, 6-8 hours, grade: hard

This was the big day, the most remote we had ever walked. We were excited. And started walking again right at sunrise. The moor grass all covered in frost, brushing over our skin between gaiters and shorts. What a beautiful morning! It didn’t take us long to get to the top of Clarke Falls. The decent was a different walk altogether. This is very, very steep, wet and with hardly anything to hold onto. A fall here could well be fatal. We did make it to the bottom but it was not easy. Clarke Falls does look impressive though.

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Sunrise at Junction Lake

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A beautiful morning indeed

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The edge of the wilderness

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Clarke Falls

What came next was a combination of strange descriptions by John Chapman, missing features in our TASmap and, yes, inexperience. In hindsight we could have avoided the next 4 hours of extremely hard bush bashing. But let me start somewhere not too far from Clarke Falls at something which looked all too much like a waterfall. We knew we had to cross the Mersey River before McCoy Falls. We couldn’t find anything in John’s book about another waterfall and even our TASmap didn’t show any sign of a waterfall between Clarke Falls and McCoy Falls. Yes, we were wondering if we had already reached McCoy Falls… We weight up our options and it seemed better to cross too early than too late. Unnecessary to say it wasn’t McCoy Falls at all. Since it’s not named I shall call it Danny Falls after my beloved girlfriend.

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In the picture: no waterfall

Come on, everywhere else in Australia this would be a waterfall, with a car park and a scenic lookout sign. Here it’s just the river.
Now we walked on the “wrong” side of the river. And boy was this hard going. It felt like we were the first people to walk over this ground, through those swamps and dense undergrowth. The leeches must have thought the same because they charged at us with such speed we had a hard time picking them all off. We didn’t count any more, but anything between 30 and 50 which we picked off our shoes and gaiters  in the next 6 hours. When we finally reached the real McCoy Falls walking became so much easier. We could just follow a trampled trail, dodging some trees and bypassing mud holes. We gave Hartnett Falls a glance, irritated by the number of people. We had not seen anyone in the last three days…

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Only photo taken between "Danny Falls" and McCoy Falls

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McCoy Falls

Walking to Windy Ridge Hut was easy even though we had expected something like a “Great Walk” in New Zealand. Lets say, Tasmanian tracks, even the most popular one, are much rougher then a “Great Walk”. As always when we’re exhausted we were not hungry any more and only ate a soup and some cookies for dinner. Windy Ridge Hut was a welcome change to the cold and wet tent.

Resources:
You’re responsible for your own safety. Those resources are for illustration purpose and don’t replace a map, experience and common sense.

•    Book: Cradle Mountain Lake St Claire and Walls of Jerusalem National Parks (Chapman & Siseman)
•    TASMAP: 4235 Du Cane (1:25000)
•    WWW: Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania: Cradle Mountain - Lake St Claire
•    KMZ: Google Earth export

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Saturday, September 10th, 2011 Bushwalking Tasmania, Hiking

5 Comments to The Never Never (day 5)

  • Greg says:

    I hate to admit this, but I enjoyed reading that someone else suffered crossing the Never Never! The reason why? My son and I crossed it in winter having started out too late in the day and finding ourselves finishing by bush bashing in complete darkness. I think it’s still the worst day I’ve ever had hiking! At least I know now that it wasn’t just me thinking that it was hard walking :)

    Lovely pictures you have. We abandoned the cameras a little as the daylight vanished and panic set in!

  • Flo says:

    Oh boy, the Never Never is not the place for night walks. It’s easy to underestimate how long those 4km will take. I’m happy you and your son made it through without anyone getting hurt (right?).
    My problem is: I’m coming back for more every time. ;)

  • Greg says:

    You’ve got in one. I looked at the map and notes and saw the distance, “Five kms. That won’t be too bad”. Wrong! We left Lake Meston Hut at 10 am in June, so I can’t say we organised that too well :)

    It was horrible, but part of me wants to go back and look at it again in summer. That’s the thing about hiking I think. Even the worst days are better than any day spent at work! Oh yeah, in hindsight the pain at the time doesn’t seem too bad :)

  • Marty says:

    Awesome :) I’m setting out with a mate to do this in August (weather and snow permitting). Very interested to hear about the track conditions and navigation around the Never Never, since we’ll also have short daylight.

    I also have a big smile about your comparison with NZ Great Walks standard. I absolutely love Tasmania because it’s NOT a graded walking track the entire way - I highly recommend the South Coast track also, if you enjoy feeling that you’re somewhere remote. (I just did that in late April / early May, contrary to normal direction, and we saw only 4 people on the entire track)

  • Flo says:

    Thanks for your comment Marty! You’ll have fun. Just don’t head in there after noon in winter as it might take a while to get out again.
    The South Coast is on our list for a while already. Last summer we canceled because of the bushfire danger. It’s very much locked in for Feb 2014 now.

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    Half a meter of fog creeps over the footy oval on this chilly morning while the first rays of sunlight tickle the clouds behind gum trees and the magpies croak their once so alien song.
     
    • Cloud and Visibility OK
    • Temperature: 9°C
    • Wind Chill: 6°C
    • Wind: W at 13 km/h
    • Clouds: Cloud and Visibility OK
    • Humidity: 81.5%
    • Scattered Clouds
    • Temperature: 21°C
    • Wind: W at 20 km/h
    • Clouds: Scattered Clouds
    • Humidity: 60.2%