Back in 2005, Steve and I walked the Overland Track in the Tasmanian wilderness. Steve had always wanted to do it and I had told him he'd have to do it with some mates; there was no way I'd ever be able to do something like that. Then, in late 2004, we saw a story about it on television and I blurted out, 'We should do that. Yep, actually we're going to. I'm going to get super fit and do that hike with you'. You see, although I'm a Melbourne girl, Tasmania is my second home (as both my parents were brought up there). I thought it would be a great way to see more of the state. We started planning it straight away.
Over the next few months, the two of us spent every spare moment walking. In particular, we set aside each Sunday to do a full day walk and, towards the end, we did this with our packs to get used to the weight. We didn't go anywhere different to prepare ourselves, as we're fortunate to live in a hilly area that gave us lots of different terrain to practice on.
We also had to give some thought to food. We tried a few things and planned out our meals for each day, taking packets of freeze-dried meals and lots of energy snacks like nuts and sultanas (and a little bit of chocolate, of course!). Sleeping along the track was in huts, alongside other hikers - far from glamourous, but it beat setting up the tent each night (although we took a small hiking tent with us in case the huts were full, we avoided using the extra energy of setting it up).
Here it is - 100km (including a few side trips), from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, over four days. An amazing part of the world:
And we're off... (we were disappointed at the boardwalks but it wasn't like this after the first little bit)
The stunning Cradle Mountain (a big panorama of this shot is up on our lounge room wall)
Sunset at the end of Day 1
Me - a little tired - and it's only Day 2
We were constantly amazed at the changing environment
Day 3 sidetrip: a climb to the top of Mt Ossa, the highest point in Tasmania. I was very close to not doing this, as I was so sore, but I decided to at the last minute - and it was oh so worth it.
Sunrise on our final day. This is the view from the final hut we stayed in - right on the banks of Lake St Clair.
The final stretch - walking around the lake. There is an option to cut out the last 15kms by taking a boat across the lake, but why would you want to miss this? (Not to mention that it's also the easiest, flattest part!)
The end! Yes, that was a long-awaited beer that Steve enjoyed, despite a 10am finish.
Completing a hike like this is an amazing experience that leaves you with a feeling you can do anything. It also leaves you with knees that won't let you even walk to the letterbox once you arrive home, but that's another story.