Myself and my dad, Gavin, on the bus on the way out of Hobart... (hopefully better photos to come after the trek!)
Long time no speak! I have returned from Indonesia and am surrounded by thousands of words of mostly jargon, sprawled over four different devices, two note pads and some toilet paper, that I am attempting to piece together in fairly readable English for you. I’ll get there.
In the meantime, my backpack is full of winter gear and I’m off to meet my old man, Gavin, in Tasmania, where we plan to tackle the famed Overland Track from south to north. It will be frighteningly cold, through 78km of breathtaking Tasmanian wilderness, carrying all our own food, rum and gear, sleeping in little wooden huts with other brave souls. And it will be devastatingly cold.
I will be coming from a flat tropical paradise in the cool, dry season, where temperatures rarely stray below 20°C. Gavin, will be coming from Scotland, where he pretty much just climbs mountains in the rain and snow, all of the time. I’m not exaggerating. On his days off hill walking he pretty much just goes to the gym.
In his early sixties, Gavin, or Scotty as he is universally known, hill-walks four times a week, gym on Monday and Wednesday, and has shed 14 kilos over the last five months, turning him into a lean, mean hill-walking machine.
My training has mainly consisted of the gym and long-distance cycling, although this morning I loaded 25 kilos in to my backpack and carted that around the bush for a couple of hours, but Darwin is flatter than a pancake, so I ditched the track and scrambled over the charred remains of large gum trees, felled by a recent bushfire that had swept through the area. After five kilometres, I ditched my pack in my ute, jumped on my bike and cycled 20km home.
The first day of the trek will be my birthday, the 30th of June, hence the bottle of rum. Any excuse will do, this just happens to be a particularly good one. You can do the track in 5 days, but we set aside six nights and seven days to take advantage of some of the excellent side tracks and climbs. We unanimously agreed that Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain, should be on our ‘to do’ list. Yet like everything in Tasmania in winter, it is weather permitting. Conditions at the summit can deteriorate rapidly, and cannot be attempted in bad weather.
It also gives us a couple of days spare in case we hit bad weather and are delayed. It is not uncommon, and a 30-minute session on YouTube is enough to throw in an extra pair of long johns and a satellite phone.
We’ve got gaiters and gloves and gas, clothes and cutlery and cameras, blueberries and batteries and beanies, honey and hoodies and head torches. The list is seemingly endless. I can’t wait, I’ll see you on the other side, and you’ll be sure to hear all about it.