Monday, 13 April 2015

Overland Track Cradle Mountain to Lake Saint Clair Day 1

“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” 

I have been wanting to walk the Overland Track for a long time and after quite a lot of preparation and build up the day had finally come.

This walk would represent a lot of firsts for me. It would be the most consecutive days I have walked. It was the longest walk I have done. I am doing it solo and I am carrying everything I need for at least 8 days including shelter, bedding, food and of course alcohol ;)

The anticipation was great as there were so many unknowns. Sure I have walked in the general area before so I was sure there would be no surprises in regards to the conditions but I still did not really know what I was in for.

My day started at 5:30am at home. I was packed ready to go, checked the weather forecast, downloaded a few last minute things to my phone and my wife and I drove up to Cradle Mountain.

The forecast looked promising.

The initial drive up to the mountains didn't.........

But soon enough the skies became blue and it was a beautiful day as we drove past Mount Roland on the way up to Cradle.

We arrived at the visitor centre right on opening time where I received my Track Pass. I was excited!

Michelle drove me down to the Ronny Creek car park where the Overland Track starts. I signed the book and off I went on quite an adventure.

So here I was more excited than I had been for years, walking into the unknown with around 19kgs on my back on a beautiful day not being able to contact the outside world for at least 6 days.

The walk starts out nice and easy on board walk and you gently rise until you find yourself at Crater Lake.

It is here at this time of year you are presented with a display of Fagus in full bloom and you continually get to see it throughout the walk if your lucky enough o be doing the walk at the right time of year.

There is a link to the species if you want more info but "It is Australia's only cold climate winter-deciduous tree, and you will find it nowhere else in the world except Tasmania"

Once you pass Crater Lake it is the infamous climb up to Marions Lookout. I have read quite a bit about this climb and I have come down it in another area, and walked up to the Central Plateau several times in the past so I didn't find it lived up any where near to its fearsome reputation!

But once up the top you are rewarded with fantastic views and on a day like this I would say world class.

I was no up on the Plateau and found the walking easy going all the way around to Kitchen Hut which is at the base of the climb up Cradle Mountain.

I decided to have a bite to eat at the hut while I waited for a large group of day hikers to get ahead of me. I then thought I couldn't pass up the opportunity to climb Cradle Mountain on such a perfect day.

So I dropped my pack in some bushes and up I went.

And up.......

It is quite a climb but once at the top you are rewarded with 360 deg views.

Oddly enough it wasn't until I got back down again that I realised I wasn't actually at the official summit! I was only a few metres away from it but I need to do it again to say I have summited Cradle, which Ill happily do if the weather is as perfect as it was this time.

I still had quite a way to go to get to my first nights destination so I didn't waste too much time up the top and I was soon on my way down the track again with the very prominent Barn Bluff in the distance.

You didn't need to carry a lot of water on the Overland track as it is plentiful in any number of streams let alone at the Huts from the water tanks.

The views just kept on coming for the rest of day.

Until later in the day I arrived at my destination which was Waterfall Valley Hut. The Park ranger greeted me and ticked my name off the list and told me where to set my tent up.

All set up down near the old hut in the camping area. I would suggest the back drop is pretty special.

Old Waterfall Valley Hut

Looking all the way up to the new hut from the camp ground.

The camp ground Loo!

And some pics of the new hut where I had tea and got to see all the people that were booked in to do the walk on the same day as me.

I went back to my tent after tea to read for a while and attempt to get a good nights sleep.

End of day 1

Here is Day 1 Youtube Video.


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