Life Lessons on the Overland Track | Those Revealing Adventures
The overland, track. The world-renowned. Australian, multi-day, hiking trail. Traversing, cradle mountain to lake sinclair, national, park. Within the tasmanian, wilderness, world, heritage, area. Running for 65, to 80 kilometers. It winds through a. Calf landscape. Decorated. With, tannin stained, lakes. Soaring, peaks, and, plunging, gorges. Featured along this well-maintained. Walking track. Are stuck alpine plains. And, silent, green rainforests. That are simply. Breathtaking. Look up online, for a list of the world's. Best hiking tracks. And you are likely to find, the overland, track. In many of these search, results. Right up there with, the grand canyon. Everest, basecamp. And the inca trail. Nisha, and i, sully. Will join the more than, 9 000 people, from 50, countries. Who walk the track every year. It's a walk of discovery. About ourselves. And the land we walk. On. Some, even go so far, as to say. It's a walk, that will change, one's, life. One walk, many journeys. That's the tagline, of the overland, track on its official, guidebook. For nisha and me. We have chosen the, absolute. Straightforward. Route. From the start point to the end. A leisurely, hike of eight days. Spending the nights at the public, huts, along the way. Here's a quick rundown, of our hike. Start, at ronnie creek car park. Head for waterfall, valley, camp overnight, there. That's a hike of, 11, kilometers. Next day, proceed, to lake windermere. Camp there. That's a distance of eight kilometers. Then, a 17, kilometer, hike to new palliant hut. That's the longest. Stretch, between two huts, along the track. Next. Walk nine kilometers. To the kiora, hut, spend, the night there. From keaura, it's a hike to windy, ridge. That's more than 10 kilometers. Camp at the resting, station there known as the burt nichols, hut. Then, to narcissus. Another nine kilometers. That's where the jetty, is, if you want to take a ferry across lake sinclair, to the end point. You need to book and pay for your seats, in advance for this. We chose not to. Because, we're going to continue, from narcissus, hut, to echo point hut, a short walk of just, over six kilometers. It's a small hut. Hopefully. Not too many hikers at that time. Well there is a campground, at the lake shore. Stay there overnight. And, finally. The last 12 kilometers. All the way, to cynthia, bay. With the terminus. Just up the track outside the lake saint-claire, visitor center. So. Hiking the overland, track, in eight days. No detours. No side trips. Stick to stopping overnight, at the designated, spots. We can do. This. Okay. Slight change of plan. Remember the waterfall, valley hut. You know the, first hut we're supposed to be stopping at. Well we won't be. It's closed, for renovation. We knew that before coming here but, we thought, we'd wing it.
Go There anyway, see how things are. And just make a spontaneous, decision. To. I don't know keep going to the next hat. Maybe. Nope. After reviewing, the situation. Based on tips and info from the people we meet. We conclude. That that is not a feasible, option. Not for multi-day, hike newbies, like us anyway. So. What's the alternative. Do a detour. A complete, mini track really. With one path in, and the same path out. To a nearby, resting spot. The scott, culvert. Hut. What we gather though. It will not be a cake walk. Green and buried i suppose. Why do i get the feeling. This won't be the only time we'll be going off script. We check in at the spanking new cradle mountain visitor, center building, across the road from our lodge. To confirm, our booking. Being the only ones to register at the time. Nisha and i are given a personalized. Pre-hike. Briefing, by the officer. Unlike at the old building. They now have a dedicated, room for this. Here we get lots of pointers, on how to do this right. And, these are pointers, of the authoritative. Kind. A quick mandatory, rundown, of the required, items. And getting the park passes, make it official. Nisha, and i are hikers, on the overland. Track. I lost count of the number of people, telling us how lucky we are to have such beautiful, weather to do the hike. Apparently. The week before, our arrival. Had been rather wet. I do a quick check of the weather forecast. Mainly, fine days ahead. Awesome. Evening, comes. And we tinker with our camping, gadgets, to do a bit of camp cooking simulation. For dinner. And then. Back in our room, her final, equipment, check. And reorganizing. Of our backpacks. Yes, preparation, is key. Still. Expect to play things by ear from time to time. But the idea is, to leave as little to chance, as possible. Right. Now, time for a good night's. Sleep. Beautiful. As forecasted. The morning that greets us, after a hearty breakfast. Is sunny, and absolutely. Gorgeous. We take the first shuttle bus to the track start point at chronic creek car park. Beating, everyone, else. Any of the other, overland, trek hikers, even awake yet. Just kidding. After the formality, of registering, our details. Off we go. Submarine, you can see the sun in the sky. Beautiful. Day. The first part of the overland, track, is shared with day hikers. To various, spots, near cradle, mountain. With paths, in various, directions. So you tend to get a little bit of a carnival, atmosphere. At times. We savor, our first. True taste of lugging, our, backpack, at full weight. Climbing up the steep slope through marion's, lookout. The highest point on the overland, track. The view from up here is simply. Incredible. Take a picture in any direction. And you capture, a stunning. Landscape. Oh yeah that, little diversion. The thing about the scott culvert hut, is that, it's, so out of the way. There's not much written, info, about it. Not considered, an official, side trip no details, of the track to the hut. Are found even in the main reference, books. We got some valuable, tips though. From the transport, service driver who dropped us at the lodge yesterday. And, also. Through, interactions, with other hikers, and lodgers. We got to know the hike to scott culvert. May well be the most, demanding, stretch, we will experience. Here. What is this. Trial by fire for us. So early in the track. Oh well. You've got to do what you got to do. The challenging, terrain, of this shall we say descent, into oblivion. Slows us down somewhat. If you are nimble on your feet, with your knees and ankles, free of any problems. And your backpack. Not so heavy. Then maybe, it would not seem as bad.
Such Is not the case with us. Or more specifically. Me. Unsurprisingly. Everybody, else, got to the hut, before we did. Red cross. First to leave. Last, to arrive. The ranger on duty, tells us, compared, to during the wet weekend. Referring, to lake broadway, nearby. And i quote. To us, this is dry. Unquote. Be that as it may. As far as i'm concerned. There is still, one, big, reset, button. I'm having, a half dip. Some quick water therapy of sorts. The sun's going down fast. Looks like we'll just have munchies. For dinner. Tonight. Quick reality, check. Although, logistically. Speaking, i would say we are pretty well equipped. We have to admit to ourselves. That in the physical, fitness department. We are, a bit lacking. The fact is. We didn't do much training carrying a full backpack. Walking on tough terrain. In the lead-up to this hike. We could have. We should have done more. Here we are. Training. Before we head up. On the other lane track next. Week. Plus. A little bit of wonkiness, on my right knee, is slowly making its presence, known. I knew it was going to come sooner or later. I'm feeling a slight sore throat developing, too. Though i don't think that's going to be a factor to our hike speed. We'll see how this plays out. All things considered. In comparison, to the hike in, i reckon i have two things, to my advantage, going out. The return trip effect. That is the, feeling. That the return trip on the same path, is shorter. And. The almost, universally, accepted claim that it is easier to go uphill. Than downhill. Especially, on steep slopes and mountains. With this in mind. I managed to focus, easily, towards reaching the next goal. I realized, that's basically, the mind game i'll be playing, throughout the course of the, overland, track. Capitalize, on the things going for you however, seemingly, insignificant. And further. Break up the long-term, goals into piecemeal, short-term, goals. By focusing, on those, short-term, goals one at a time. The long-term, goals will be reached, naturally. I tell myself. Don't, even get too bogged down, by the path beyond. 10 meters, ahead. Literally. Take it one step at a time. Well, it's working. We take a breather, at the top. Where this, side trip trail, ascent, ends. Let us soak in the picturesque. View. On a clear day like this. To take this amazing. Visual, gift for granted. Is nothing, short of criminal, i think. Nisha discovers, the signal up here. And makes a quick call home. Just to say, everything is fine, and we'll call again. Maybe. In a week's. Time. Onward, we go. I'm feeling a slight increase, in the unsteadiness. Of my, right knee. And i have to be extra careful in executing, my steps. Especially, on tricky slopes. Easy, does it. Question. What do you do if you liked too far behind, your hiking partner. And your mind starts messing with you into thinking. Into believing. Into feeling sure. You took a wrong turn. Wait, where's my map and compass. And my guidebook, and stuff, i'm sure i can determine my exact but. Oh. There is nisha. I know for sure i didn't see any marker for the last few hundred meters.
And I'm becoming, increasingly, convinced, that if i keep walking along this path. That will make it worse for me. So. If it happens to you, what do you do. If you are sully and. You have a sore throat. You do. This. Like i always say, better to air on the side of. Paranoia. My sos, to the world goes on for about five minutes. To be honest, i don't know what to expect, of my signal for help. A ranger suddenly, popping out from the bushes. Nisha, walking briskly, from the track in front. To see if i'm hurt. Or, have i meant it too far off, for anyone, to hear my whistle blowing. Thankfully. Before i can lose myself into thoughts of a worst, case scenario. I am saved by the arrival, of a fellow bush walker who camped, with us. At scott culvert. Ready to rock and roll. We. Are back on track. Well. Not that we left it. Upon being reunited, with nisha. I asked her if she heard my sos, call. Yes she did she says. But she thought it was the sound of birds. Maybe my whistle-blowing. Style. Needs to undergo a more, serious. Treatment. We just have enough daylight, to pitch our tent, on the timber platform. Do a quick wash up. And get our stuff sorted. Unfortunately. We miss, the chance to have a proper dinner. Again. Not that i'm feeling famished. Till. Tomorrow. We're sort of understanding. The rhythm now. For the past couple of days. We've, fallen behind quite a bit, and, didn't leave, much time to regroup, upon reaching our destination. From here on end. For every hiking, day. There are two things to make sure of. Leave early. And pick up the pace whenever we can. This, to have a comfortable, window, at each resting point before, dark to freshen up, prepare, our beddings, and. Set up our tent if we need to. And then, have a proper dinner, of a cooked meal, unhurriedly. According to the map, the, windermere, to new palliation hike. Is going to be a long, one. And i noticed, the muscle pain i've been nursing on my right knee, seems to, have transferred, to my left knee. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad. Thing. The wondrous, sights of the alpine, plane, in all its splendor. Most definitely. Make the walk worth the while. No video, capture, of any degree of resolution. Can ever do justice. To this amazing. Display, of nature's, enchantment. And. The contrasting. Over abundance. Of the rainforests. Bewitching. Intricacies. Puts me right back in my place. Then. It finally, happens. Rain. Well. Not much more than a. Gentle, sprinkling. But enough for us to flaunt our brand new rain jackets. And waterproofing. Gear.
We Keep on walking. Relishing, this uniquely, astonishing. Feeling of upliftment. With every, stride. So much for picking up the pace. It seems evident. That at this rate we will not be able to reach palliant hut. Before, sunset. So, we'll have to camp on route to the hut then. From the info, we have, at frog flats. The campground, on either side of the fourth river. At the lowest, point, on the overland. Track. Wait. The rain. Was that it. Oh. All right then. We'll just downgrade, to, partial. Wet weather mode. Until further notice. Okay, we've arrived. To do some remote, camping. Hey, no sign here of the mozzies and leeches we were warned of. Certainly. No flooding of the area to content, with. And no other campers, in sight. Well. Not that we are avoiding, them. But maybe. Once in a while, the solitude, is a welcome, change. Tonight, we enjoy, this priceless. Isolation. What's for brekkie. Yesterday's, uneaten, dinner. Let's cook it and eat it right here in this tent. And be free, of our hunger pangs. Yeah might as well make the most of the multi-functionalities. Of our camp equipment. Besides. Thought we'd stretch this, solitude. Thing a bit further. As we break camp we can feel, the rain coming. Saying goodbye to frog flats. Fourth river. Time to go. It is important, for us to be mindful that, making the unplanned, stop at frog flats. Means that, we add a day to our original, timetable. Somewhere, ahead. We have to compensate. For this, somehow. Because. By hook or by crook. We have to make it to the end point on day 8. To be picked up by our shuttle bus. At 2 30 in the afternoon. We'll see if we can get some, info from the first ranger we meet. Then we'll figure out what to do. We reach the new palion hutch that is barely, occupied, by hikers. How's that for a change. There are actually more paddy melons that greet us than people, already, settled, in the hut. And guess what. We get first dips on the beds. In fact. Without intending, to. We managed to secure, a whole room to ourselves. The only reason that we are able to. Is that, we arrive untypically, early. And that, is a result, of our decision, to put off our arrival, time. At the hut, by a day. How about that. By losing something. We gain something. Else. And having time on our hands we do a little bit of review, of what we've done. And a preview, of what's to come. We also take this opportunity, to do more socializing. With other. Hikers. Among our newfound, friends are these, seven medical, students, from singapore. Who are doing the hike, while waiting to graduate, in a few weeks. After some interaction. We get to know that they are dangerously. Low on food. They don't show it though. In an instant, nisha and i, almost telepathically. Reach for a food supply. And offer them part of our backlog, of, uneaten, meals. Remember. Those few, missed, lunches and dinners, from the first three days. They graciously, decline. Or, half decline. But we insist. Unbeknownst, to them. They, are actually doing us, a favor. By relieving, us of, quite a chunk of our backpack, load. And this i believe. Is. Losing. By, gaining. Except in this case. It's a win-win, situation, for all involved. One of them even goes so far as to tell us, and i quote. You saved, our lives. Well actually i'm, paraphrasing. He didn't say lives. He used the a word. We bring the day within the walls of this, by now crowded, hut. To a close. With a happy. Feeling. Indulge, me in the following, thought. You know those, medical students, we shared our food with. If indeed, we saved, their lives. That would mean. We saved, the lives of seven, people who are. About, to begin. Their career, saving lives. Just imagine. By our one act, nisha and i will, indirectly. Be potentially, saving. Hundreds. If not thousands, of human lives. How cool is that. I know, i know it's a stretch. But. Too mind-blowing. If whimsical, to ignore. Just had to put it out there. For many, this is the part that provides, the highlight, of the overland, track. A side trip to mount ossa. Tasmania's, highest peak. In fact, avid, mountain climbers, are spoiled for choice with, summits and saddles, along the mountain range, waiting, to be conquered.
Nisha And i. We're happy just to enjoy the amazing view from a distance. We arrive at this hut with a welcoming, sounding name, while the sun is still out. Feeling energetic, still. We decide to check out the creek nearby. Everyone else seems to be having fun there. The thing about these, tasmanian, lakes and rivers though. Is that, no matter how sunny the weather is. The water is just too bloody, cold, for me. To have a full dip in. So i think i'll just have a cowboy, style. Body splash. Ah. Totally, refreshing. But, apparently. At a price. As i'm soon to find. Out. It's while we are eating our dinner, alfresco. On the tent platform, no less. That, nisha, realizes, we have company. It turns out, i had brought back an uninvited. Guest. This, by now fat, leech. The recipient, of a blood transfusion. From me. And i did, not feel, a thing. Nisha and i agree. To just. Dump the sucker under the platform. And leave it at that. No hard feelings my friend. See. The way i look at it we are visitors, on their. Turf. We just do our thing, make sure we cause no harm to any plants. Or animals. Finish what we came here to do, and leave. Yes we can observe them all we like. Do it from a distance. If we are inconvenienced, by their presence. Or, even get hurt, in an encounter, with them. It's because, we, are in their. Way. For the group of, bush walkers who started the same morning as nisha and i. And are on the standard. Six day itinerary. Tonight, is their last night on the overland, track. Tomorrow, afternoon. They'll be out of here. We on the other hand. Prefer to take our own sweet time. There's nothing wrong with that. Is, there. Another super amazing, looking morning. Cool but sunny. Perfect. But first. One last visit to the. Outhouse. I'm on my way there, merrily, walking. When i'm stopped, dead, in my tracks. Well, not. Dead dead. That is dead. There it is on the boardwalk. Staring, straight, at me. A sleek. Black tiger snake. I somewhat, surprised, myself, that. My first reaction, is not a fear. But of admiration. At how classy. This creature looks in the flesh. Thankfully. Before this develops, into a full-blown, standoff. The handsome reptile, moves aside. And without me having to agitate, it. Slithers, underneath, the woodwork, out of sight. That's the end of that. Or is. It. As i'm making my way back from the toilet. Guess who i see on the boardwalk. Hello again my sassy, serpent, friend. We've, really, got to stop meeting like this. I think i see what's happening here. The snake's, been resting, there for some time. And. Other hikers have been trying to scare it off by throwing things near it. By the looks of it. That doesn't seem to be working. As i'm about to make my contribution, to the effort, to show away the snake. It suddenly, disappears. Into the bushes. Does my mere presence. Make it decide to hit the road. I'm not sure whether to feel, flattered. Or offended. Hmm. After all that philosophizing. Yesterday. About respecting, all living things. I'm left here asking myself. In this case. Who's in the way of whom. With that mini drama, behind us, we say kia ora to kia ora. And make our way, to windy, ridge. I almost, feel, guilty, that we keep being gifted. With excellent, weather. If yesterday, was mountain day. Today is waterfall, day. If you are keen on seeing the overland, tracks other top selling point, up close. Knock yourself, out today. Not for nisha and me. The wonders along the main track we read about, are more than enough for us to marvel, at. Other than the fact, that the park's oldest, hut, the duquesne, hut. Is located, on its path. What distinguishes. This hike stretch from the others. Is that, it is where the last. Big, hill lies. The rest of the way is rather flat. Upon submitting, the said hill. Or more precisely, saddle. At the duquesne gap. I'm left with mixed feelings. I'm happy that the final hurdle has been surmounted. But, i'm also sad, that there are no more hills to climb. On this hike.
Unsurprisingly. We complete, the walk to win the rich, with ease. Oh. Are we here, already. I asked myself with an air of sarcasm. We let ourselves, in to a hardly, occupied, hut. Straight into a welcoming, room. Apparently. Many of the bush walkers who have chosen to camp overnight. At pine valley, for the last side trip on the overland, track. Bypassed. This. Hut. We enjoy, the privacy, at dinner time, and, review the options, for getting to the overland, tracks endpoint. In time to catch the pre-booked. Shuttle bus. Earlier, on. The ranger on duty, basically, advised, us to be at narcissus. The next hut, as soon as we can. To maximize, our chances. Of getting seats on the ferry. That price the route three times a day. The only way to confirm, our right out, is to contact, the ferry service by radio. At narcissus, hut. Will it be a close, call. We shall. See. The agenda, for today. Number one. The usual morning routine. Breakfast. Toilet. Etc. Number two. Be at narcissus, hut, asap. So that we can hopefully secure those two timely ferry seats. Number three, any other business. We know what we have to do so let's get to it. Just to recap on the possibilities. One is that we catch the ferry ride out. Upon arrival, at narcissus, hut. Today. There's one scheduled for around 3 30 in the afternoon. That would give us an extra night which we can spend. At the free campsite. A short distance from the terminus. Another, outcome would be, we catch the ferry tomorrow. But it has to be one of the two morning rides. In fact, that would be, the ideal, case. Once we reach the other side. Just, kill a bit of time at the visitor, center. Before hopping on to the shuttle. Bus. That's, pretty much it. Anything, short of these. Was crude. Well there is the last resort, of continuing, the final phase of the journey on foot. Not unlike, the original, intent. Only, under a bit, more pressure. To compress the hike to a fraction, of the, previously, planned duration. I hate to imagine, the toll it would take on my worsening, knees. Why or why didn't we book the ferry ride before, coming to tasmania. Well, no point lamenting, about it now. What's that expression, again. Oh yeah. Water under the bridge. We make good time and arrive at narcissus, hut just after midday. First order of business. Secure, that boat ride. We call the ferry service, using the radio in the hut. And wouldn't you know it no seats for the last ferry later today. But, as fate would have it. Two seats, and only two seats available. For 9 30 in the morning tomorrow. We promptly, book them. Yes, we are going home, in time. With utmost, confidence. In the evening. We celebrate, our good fortune, by sharing with our fellow lodges, our snacks. Toilet paper. And some other leftover, stuff. We can now sleep, without, this small cloud of uncertainty. Hanging over. Us. Here check this out. From what is displayed, on the app, i can doubly, appreciate, the serendipitous. Weather. We've been enjoying. Starting, out one week earlier. Or later. Would almost certainly. Result in our overland, track experience. Being much different. Not necessarily. Less pleasant. Let's just say, more challenging.
And. This farewell, morning's condition. Is just, superb. Not least. For a 30 minute ride, on a ferry. In excellent, spirits. We the entire, mob, of homewood-bound. Hikers. Make a beeline, for the jetty. For the final leg of our journey. Making certain we are there at least, half an hour before the appointed, time. We react, to the appearance, of the boat, in the distance, with measured, euphoria. You simply, can't hide the thrill of going home. After accomplishing, what you set out to do. Well nisha and i lost, the opportunity, to bushwalk, the entire. Overland, track from start to finish. Feeling the awe of crossing, australia's, deepest, lake. For the first time. Sort of makes up for it. As a matter of fact looking back, during the past week or so, i realize. I've accomplished. A lot of firsts, for myself. First time coming to tasmania. First time hiking, for a straight, week. First time sending out an sos, to the world. First time having my blood sucked, by a leech. Just too many to mention. Also. I'll be revising, some items on my, personal, superlatives. List. Like. I'm currently, at the southernmost. Point on earth than i've ever been. And, being in tasmania, in the middle of summer. I experienced, the longest, daylights, ever in my life. Marion's, lookout was the highest point, above sea level that i've ever climbed. Not exactly, earth-shattering. Feats. But, not worthy enough for me to look back on with, fondness. While it's all fine and good for me to be able to say of hiking the overland track. Been there, done that. What's, really, key is, how, the journey changed me. I'm not some hot shot super backpacker. Who's hiked a few million steps all over the world. Nor do i pretend, to be. I find it hard just to keep up with an average, eight-year-old. Trekking up a hill. Or worse, going down a steep slope. So to me. It's not so much the outwardly, accomplishments. Well on this mini expedition. Rather. The discovery, of myself. And my efforts to change my ways for the better that truly count. I learned stuff about myself, in the past week that i wouldn't otherwise, think twice about. My bodily, functions. When forced into a, more rugged routine. My tolerance, for discomfort. The choices, nisha and i, would make under pressure. Or when, tired. How i adapt to things, that are not aligned with my expectations. What's my attitude, towards my fellow human beings. Towards. Other living creatures. Other life forms for that matter. Towards this planet. That we live on. I guess, hiking the overland, track, itself. Can be viewed as a metaphor. For walking, through life. Stephen, covey, once, said. There are three constants, in life. Change. Choice. And principles. These are the three factors, that will drive you to fulfill, your ambitions. Change your life by making the choices. According, to the principles. You adopt. If you are on the right track. Realizing. Any dream. Is. Possible. You.