Cradle Mountain and Sheffield

Feb 1

Holly was excited by the wonderful weather forecast. Western Tasmania gets an average of 3 metres of rain per year so sunny days are few and far between, therefore to take advantage of our good fortune we had to get up at 5 am to be packed, had brekky, lunch prepared and on the bus for 6 am. 10 minutes down the road we stopped for a sunrise photo, just back on the bus and stopped for a dead devil. Tour guides all carry “devil kits” provided by naturalists to collect date on road kill. We gathered round the poor little thing as Jan cut a piece from his ear for biopsy and checked the mouth for tumours. Holly recorded the data, pushed the animal off the road and we were off again.

Checking for tumours

Checking for tumours

Handing Holly the piece of ear

Handing Holly the piece of ear

Jan clipped a piece of the devil's ear which will be biopsied

Jan clipped a piece of the devil’s ear which will be biopsied

Cradle Mountain. Wow! The windy roads and beautiful views along the way were great as the whole west coast is pretty much national park. Sue and I had decided today was for LEISURELY hike Right. Holly convinced us we were fit enough for the trail she wanted to take, which, she said is difficult, but do-able. She rarely gets the chance as 80% of the time the weather sucks. So we set off. At first it was nice board walk through trees and around Cradle Lake. Next was up and down rocky paths, over and under tree roots, then a less and less defined path and tougher climbs. Then we were hanging on for dear life to a chain anchored into sheer rock. Graham and Oliver, two VERY nice young Englishmen stayed with us the whole way, encouraging, giving us a hand up now and then and occasionally breaking into song. At one point I found myself clutching the chain on a vertical rock with no apparent place to put my next step and started to panic. Graham just calmly directed me where to put my foot and we kept going. There was no choice at this point. We reached a plateau and sat to have some lunch and I told the boys to go ahead I’m done. NOT going further. NO, they said. Quitting now is not an option. The ‘A’ team MUST conquer the mountain. They refused to go without us. We didn’t want them to miss out so….UP we went. I mean STRAIGHT up. I climbed on all fours. The views from the top were spectacular on all sides so I found a rock to sit on and took photos of the crazy boys climbing all over the place.

Then back down. I was dreading it as it as generally that’s worse but this time my well padded bum came in handy as I stat and inched my way down the worst of it on my butt. Graham again broke into song at the chain clutching part which seriously alleviated my fear. You can’t sing when you’re terrified.

5 hours after departure, a couple more kilometres around the other side of the lake, up and down and through the woods and I was back at the bus Exhausted, covered in scratches and scrapes, sun burned and surprised I haven’t worn through the butt of my shorts but filled with a sense of accomplishment we all climbed on.

Later we realized that the trails are marked easy, moderate, hard and extreme. We did the extreme one. Good thing we didn’t know as we certainly would not have done it.

Graham and Oliver didn’t know each other before this tour. Both have recently graduated from university and are travelling around and putting off “growing up”. I so wanted to send their mothers an email and let them know what kind young men they’ve raised They’re a lot of fun too 🙂

 Next stop was Sheffield, the town of murals where I’d hoped to mail the postcards I’ve been carrying around for the kids for days. It was closed. Mailing things around here is impossible and there’s very little internet access. After checking into the hostel in Launceston, we immediately headed off to find food and free wifi. Even in the food court there was nothing. The nearest McDonald’s was too far to walk so when we met up with Yvonne and Jan we all went out for pizza and saved half for lunch the next day.’s lunch

The view from the top

The view from the top

Graham and Oliver, a couple of the nicest, English nutcases around

Graham and Oliver, a couple of the nicest, English nutcases around

Olvier, Sue, Graham and I, The 'A" team :)

Olvier, Sue, Graham and I, The ‘A” team 🙂

We did it!

We did it!

The view of the other side

The view of the other side

If you look really close you can see people in this photo.  I put my camera away before I started climbing that rock.

If you look really close you can see people in this photo. I put my camera away before I started climbing that rock.

The path before it got really difficult.

The path before it got really difficult.

We walked all the way around this lake and up that mountain to between those two peaks.

We walked all the way around this lake and up that mountain to between those two peaks.

Cradle lake at the base of Cradle mountain. The flower is melaluca (tea tree)

Cradle lake at the base of Cradle mountain. The flower is melaluca (tea tree)

Next stop was Sheffield, the town of murals where I’d hoped to mail the postcards I’ve been carrying around for the kids for days. It was closed. Mailing things around here is impossible and there’s very little internet access. After checking into the hostel in Launceston, we immediately headed off to find food and free wifi. Even in the food court there was nothing. The nearest McDonald’s was too far to walk so when we met up with Yvonne and Jan we all went out for pizza and saved half for lunch the next day.’s lunch

The first mural painted in Sheffield

The first mural painted in Sheffield

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