Overland Track - Day 0

Sunday, 17 January 2016

We arrived back from Adelaide late on Friday night, giving us less than 36 hours to get ourselves organised, packed, and heading off to Cradle Mountain. We also had to fit in the excitement of seeing Bjørn, who had flown in early in the day all the way from Norway and had been met and transported back to our house by Clare.  Bjørn had two important roles on this trip - 1) he was *helping* us carry the food, and 2) he was our source of the large supplies of Kvikklunsj that we would need for the next 7 days..  

Welcome Bjørn!  

Cute isn't he! Actually that's him in 1991.  Luckily for us he looks like this now..still cute, but much much bigger and stronger..

*When I say *helping*, I really mean *carrying most of* - as without Bjørn,  Jon and I would have been carrying a 3kg tent each and the food for 4 people for four days. An impossible task, and even if we had had the pack space - we certainly didn't have the strength.  Particularly as Jon had put his back out just 2 days earlier and was having trouble standing and sitting, let along carrying a giant pack over rough terrain.

So Saturday was packing day. I'd done a fair bit of meal planning with Clare already, so it was really just doing the final re-packaging of everything that was required.   Amongst the supplies were 3kg of porridge oats, 2kg of chocolate, 5 packets of burritos amounting to 2.7kg (and we still only got 2 each for each lunch!). So that's a combined total of more than 7 kg before before we even start talking about milk powder (800g), hot chocolate powder (600g), cheese (1.3kg) and of course 6 night time meals.   These  were all going to be mosty dehydrated (curries) or dried (pasta) - I'd been doing a lot of work on preparation in the previous few months so we had a combination of purchased camping food from the local shop Strive, and home made dehydrated efforts.  I've got lots more info on this I'll post another time.  Anyway I got out my new vacuum sealer and sealed up everything I could so it took up as little space as possible.  

Even after removing the excess packaging and vacuum sealing I still ended up with an overwhelmingly large mountain of food spread across the floor.  Uh Oh!  I took a photo but unfortunately I can't find it.  dang.

Thankfully Bjørn had the foresight to bring a backpack with 110litre capacity. In comparison, my pack, which looks like a perfectly normal sized hiking pack, has a 65 litre capacity and I'd say Jon's is about 75 litres.   So like a tardis, he was able to drop fully laden bag after fully laden bag into the main section of his pack without so much as flinching.  Like many Norwegian men, he'd done a years military service, where hauling 60kg packs through marshy terrain was what they did for fun after they'd finished parachuting and playing with the armoured tanks for the day (probably).

Finally loaded and ready to go on Sunday morning, we got away promptly just an hour after we'd planned!  As it's a one-way walk, getting to and from the overland track is a challenge for pretty much everyone. In fact a pair of walkers we met on the track had struggled to such an extent they'd had to resort to a taxi from Derwent Bridge to Launceston. That's about a 2.5 hour trip I recon. Ouch.  I'd investigated the bushwalking specific transport companies but I had worked out it was going to cost us all around $1000 to get there and back.  The next best option using the cheaper TassieLink busses would still require us staying an extra night in Queenstown on the way there - time we simply didn't have as we were booked to start on the 4th.  Plan C was to engage some itinerants to drive our cars from the start to the finish, but before I'd found both drivers, Clare informed me that her parents were willing to take us to Cradle Mountain and also pick us up from Lake St Clair- which was absolutely fantastic news.   In fact it was Clare's mum  (and sister) who took our party of 4 up to Cradle Mountain in 1989.  In those days we all fitted into the Holden Kingswood with a bench front seat.   So it was a nice synchronicity.  This time we took two cars but I was able to offer Mary and Greg overnight accommodation with us at the Waldheim Cabins which I'd booked for us almost a year earlier.  After an uneventful drive we arrived we arrived at our cabin at about 4pm.  

I love these cabins - they only cost about $100 per night and they are the only place you can stay actually within the park - all the other much more expensive options are 6k up the road outside the park boundaries. I also stayed here with mum and my granny back in about 1982 so I have fond memories of sitting at the table while rain pelted down outside and Denny and I making fun of Granny's knitted bum-warmer that she used to wear (sorry Granny).  The cabins have been upgraded a little since them - they have electricity now, but they are still very basic and cosy.   Not surprisingly they are very popular amongst regular tourists and overland trackers alike. You have to book early.

Anyway we arrived early enough to have time to temporarily disgorge our packs at the cabins and go for a nice walk on the Boardwalk trail before dinner.


.the view from the top bunk to the floor, moments after we arrived.. 

I love the boardwalk - it's about 5.5k long and winds it's way up the valley from the information centre to the official start of the Overland Track at Romy Creek.  Our cabins were just a 1/2 K away so it was a prefect way to spend the afternoon and spot wombats (12) before returning to the cabin for the last fresh food for a while.  


Clare and Mary on the left, Bjørn and I in front of Cradle in the distance on the right  



There were so many wombats we practically tripped over them..  

 Out of interest, for dinner that  we had Latina Fresh pasta, the remains of Zali's birthday cake, and some tim-tams which had failed to make the packing cut the previous day.  Then it was off to bed for a nervous nights sleep.  As I tossed and turned, thoughts kept spinning around in my head.. Would we make it? Would Jon's back be ok? Did we have enough Kvikk Lunsj?…

Packing Regrets Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Overland Track - Day 7 Monday, 25 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 6 Monday, 25 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 5 Sunday, 24 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 4 Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 3 Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 2 Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 1 Monday, 18 January 2016
Overland Track - Day 0 Sunday, 17 January 2016
Slow Progress Thursday, 14 January 2016
Pakning på, opp og stå, ut og gå Monday, 11 January 2016