January 1, 2014 by Dan
You go to Tasmania to get with nature. There are other things to keep you occupied – MONA and the Salamanca Markets come to mind – and if the weather is terrible you can just hole up in any of a number of cozy pubs with a beer and some local cheese. But…you’re here to see the odd, strange, beautiful things that make Tasmania what it is.
On our third day in Tassie, the clouds lifted and gave us an azure blue sky, so we ate a quick breakfast and headed north to Mt. Field National Park. It’s maybe an hour and a half from Hobart, but took us a little longer due to the inevitable “wrong side of the road, oh crap we took a wrong turn…what the hell are we doing in a residential neighborhood?” confusion.
Hobart becomes countryside pretty quickly, though; and we reached the visitor’s center at around ten-thirty, bought our parking pass, and went out to see some waterfalls. The forest itself is dark and damp, but you quickly get to Russell Falls, which is almost comical in its picturesque beauty.
From Russell Falls you get to Horseshoe Falls.
And then the trail wanders through the groves of giant eucalyptus trees. “Giant” in this case means “California Redwood-size enormous.” It’s hard to describe how much bigger these guys are than the invasive firetraps that we have here in the States. This is me, looking up. The top is so, so far away.
We also saw our first wildlife. Well…we had some help. We were traipsing along the trail, chattering about something or other, and noticed a couple of other hikers staring intently at something off to the right. We shut ourselves up immediately, and followed their gaze to see…
A wallaby! Our first live marsupial! It sat and looked at us for a bit, then loped off into the trees. We continued our walk. I should note here that the people who do trail maintenance at Mt. Field are incredible. Most of our path looked like this
Walking through a dark, primeval forest is much easier when you don’t have to look out and try not to trip over rocks and roots every few steps! Near the end of the hike we saw our last and smallest waterfall – Lady Barron:
After a lunch break (salami, cheese, apples. Yum!) we took a dirt road to Lake Dobson, much higher up in the mountains. So high up that there was still snow in late spring.
And since I am a crazy person, I went for a swim:
I almost went in in the altogether; I didn’t have any clothes other than what I had on, and there didn’t seem to be anyone else around. But…modesty won out; I swam in my underwear. This turned out to be a very good decision, as right as I submerged completely, a couple of cars pulled into the parking lot and a large family came out, complete with children. Female children. The water was pretty cold, and I didn’t really want to stay in any longer than I had to, so…somewhat clothed was a good place to be.
There’s nothing quite like swimming in a mountain lake, though. Clean, awake, happy, with tired legs, we headed back down to Hobart in the afternoon.
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