How one thing leads to something unexpected… It always fascinates me how things somehow just work out and the results can be better than you could have imagined. A sore foot and therefore a desire not to walk much on 3 days we had set aside to do just that lead to a really cool alternative plan that involved paddling on Lake Pedder and revisiting two old friends of mine. As the plan materialised our excitement grew!
Charlotte and I had set aside Friday night to Tuesday morning to go on a walk, wherever the weather was good. Charlotte’s partner, and a work colleague of mine, asked if he could come too. I’m not sure he even needed to ask, there was only ever going to be one answer! The final arrangements fell into place smoothly, with only the small hitch that I could only find one set of kayak cradles for the roof racks. Never mind, we’d figure out a way. It proved as easy as inverting the single kayak and laying it alongside the double in the cradles.
We cruised out to Lake Pedder, putting the boats in the water at the Scotts Peak boat ramp, and paddling into the moderate breeze for a bit over an hour. It was windy enough that Charlotte, who was sitting in the front of the double kept getting fresh water over the bow of the boat every time we smacked down over the larger waves. But her and Kenny’s wetsuit gloves and booties keep the extremities warm even if they were wet so it wasn’t a miserable affair. We had intermittent light showers, but nothing dense enough to steal away the partial view we had of the surrounding mountains.
When we beached on the isthmus to Scotts Peak we set up our tents and had some lunch, sheltering from the latest rain cloud. Charlotte was pretty keen to climb her mountain and I liked that the first walk we were doing together was the first one I’d done in Tassie. Scotts Peak is a brilliant little mountain to climb, one where it’s got to be nearly impossible not to fall in love with the southwest. A small island in the middle of Lake Pedder, on a clear and still day it’s surrounded by blue sky reflected in tannin stained fresh water, with mountains in every direction you look. That was my first experience of Tassie bush.
The weather was slightly different this time around and I was much more experienced as a bushwalker, but still it was lovely to climb to the top with two people who hadn’t been there before. It barely rained on us, and on the way down shafts of sunlight shone through the cloud some distance away, casting white patches on the surface of the lake. The wind whipped up waves in lovely patterns, the clouds were dark and moody. The terrain was much as I remembered it, a mix of low southwest scrub – button grass, boronia, tea tree and melaleuca at the comfortable level of ankle to shin high. The climb was short but steep enough to make you feel it. The rain made it very slippery underfoot, the ground was coated with that clear-muddy goop that often has you slipping back further than you just stepped forward.
Back at the tents we had a surprise visit from a sea eagle, who flew quite low to us, and continued on around the island! It shocked me that one was so far from the coast and it had us all feeling full of awe, I think. When the moment had passed, Charlotte and Kenny got busy preparing a delicious dinner while we had an entree of bikkies and cheese and quince paste. The benefit of kayaking over walking was that you could afford to be luxurious! The main course was couscous with falafels, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, chickpeas, olives, sauerkraut and a few other bits and pieces that I’ve already forgotten. Exotic, no? We shared a dessert of raspberry intense chocolate while we played cards and then called it a night.
The next day we waited for the rain showers to mostly finish before getting back in the kayaks to visit Mount Solitary. I’ve written about this one elsewhere, so won’t repeat myself. It’s just worth noting that the same approach is now almost completely burnt out to the summit, sadly, from the 2018/2019 fires. It makes for a slightly spikier, blacker approach, that’s not quite as aesthetically pleasing. It was nice to see little everlasting daisies starting to regenerate though.
Another gourmet dinner that we nearly didn’t have enough gas for was followed by an evening lying on a tarp, wrapped in our sleeping bags, gazing up at the stars, chatting intermittently. It was one of those evenings that are just right and I had no desire to be anywhere else.
This was a trip of a lot of reflecting, remembering, a little bit of missing, but also a lot of being grateful for what is. It’s interesting that I chose to start my blog post on Solitary with a paragraph on change and what it can bring. It was from 5 years ago, a time still near the beginning of my relationship with Graham, so the changes I was referring to were significantly positive. The changes over the last 6 months (yikes!) have been quite different, but it’s a fitting reminder that change does bring new possibilities. I’m trying hard to be grateful for the amount of time I now spend with friends, some old and some new; the personal changes and developments I’m making; and to be hopeful that somehow, at some point, I’ll look back and be able to identify what the experts call post-traumatic growth. We’ll see…
All up: 2.6km, 1:45hrs, 395m ascent (Just the walking part. Approximately 45-60mins kayaking depending on level and direction of wind!)