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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Tiger Trails Tarkine Hike - Day 3 - Mt. Ramsay to Huskisson River

[image]A tree didn't fall on us in the night, and apparently several others were thinking the same thing. A tree did however come pretty close – during the night, several of us (me included) heard a loud thud, and we found a fresh dead tree across the track, only 5m from Darvis, Brendon and Noboru's tent. If it had fallen the other way, it would have squashed them like bugs. The tree smashed into several bits and was extremely soft and wet.
I had woken up with warm feet despite the wet sleeping bag, since I put a garbage bag between the sleeping bag and my liner sheet. Unfortunately the tent floor and ground sheet didn’t keep the water out, and there was literally a puddle of water under my sleeping mat, soaking the bottom of the mat. My sleeping bag also got damper. I was wishing I'd brought my tent, which is very waterproof.

Today we were going up Mount Ramsay. Brendon and Natalie decided to stay behind, since the rain and cloud appeared to be closing in.
We went back up the track, the way we'd come yesterday, till we got to the highest part. Darvis took a compass bearing from the map, and I volunteered to lead us up the mountain. The bearing was to a marked foot track near the summit. Following the bearing was often quite difficult, since, although there were some open areas on the forest floor, there were also areas with thick bush, and many big fallen logs blocking the way.
Part of the way up, it started hailing. There were several short spells of hail during the time we were on the mountain. With the help of faint foot pads going up the mountain, and the compass, I got us straight to the track near the summit, which was marked with pink ribbons.
We followed the trail for about 10 minutes through low scrub and came out on top of some rocks where there was a view over the valley below. Unfortunately the view was half obscured by the low clouds. While we were there, it started hailing again, but the hail briefly turned to snow, so we turned around and headed back down. The top of the mountain was shrubs , head high, and further down, was the rainforest.

When we got back down to the main track again, we took an alternate route through the rainforest back to camp. It went through the magnificent tall old-growth rainforest, then through a section filled with Horizontal (a tree which grows with tangled horizontal limbs) which was quite difficult to negotiate. Shortly before we reached the camp, we came back into the tall open rainforest, and it started snowing – big fluffy flakes, which were being swirled around by the wind. It was quite pretty.
When we got back to camp, Brendon and Natalie had kindly prepared lunch for everyone. We ate lunch, then packed our stuff, and headed off.

The track descended steeply down to a creek crossing, the muddy slope was very slippery. We crossed the wide creek by rock hopping, then headed up the hill on the other side. Part way up the hill we came to a big log across the track, which was the furthest point that the Launceston 4WD club had reached, before Darvis and Brendon had stopped them, and turned them back. Quad bikes had gone further, but they had ver little impact on the track compared to the 4WD's. The track from here on was very overgrown, with small trees growing down the middle, so that it felt much more like just a foot track. There were many places where we had to go around big fallen trees.
After another slippery slope, we came to the crossing point of the Huskisson River – it was raging, very high and fast water, due to all the rain. It had been raining and hailing on and off all day. We would have to cross it either tomorrow or the next day. A short walk from here was our campsite.

The campsite was again in tall old-growth rainforest, but this time it was gigantic Eucalypts instead of Myrtles. Dinner was again yummy, although it has advantages and drawbacks doing a communal dinner, as it means staying wet and cold for longer, but is good for socialising.

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