Some places are idyllic, others are just a little better....
Tassie had been going through a rather frosty phase with the Central Highlands settlement of Liaweenie recording Tasmania’s lowest ever temperature of -14.2°C last week. I had the chance to get away for 3 days so I packed my pack and headed for the mountains.
On my first day I walked to a favourite, seldom visited area in the highlands. I saw no one as I walked in through snow around 20 to 30 cm deep. It was cool, and a totally clear sky heralded a possible frosty night.
After finding a suitable place to camp I set up my new tent; a 4 season Mont Dragonfly. I had already spent a few nights in this tent and I had found it easy to erect, well made and solid as a rock once pegged out. Not to mention utterly palatial for one!
I wandered around for a couple of hours looking for images then headed back to camp to cook dinner before the sunset. I am fortunate in having a wife that enjoys preparing and drying my meals for me so dinner was worth looking forward to :).
By the time the sun had slipped below the horizon, my trusty thermometer was telling me it was -2°C already. Might be a cold one....
I was asleep at 7.30pm after reading for a while. Tonight’s read? Captain Francis Crozier, a brilliant Arctic and Antarctic navigator that was one of the party that tried to find the North West Passage under Sir John Franklin. A voyage destined for tragedy. They were a heck of a lot colder than me :)
I knew that the Milky Way would be fully visible overhead by around 10 pm so I set my alarm to wake up then, to see if it was worth the effort for some photographs.
After 2 and a half hours of sleep, lovely and warm in my new winter bag, a Spindrift XT1000, I forced myself to face the cold and check out the night time sky.
Exiting the tent I was greeted by a beautiful dome of glittering diamonds above, utterly clear and very, very cold. A quick check of the thermometer confirmed that it was indeed a little cool....-9.5°C!!
The next 2 hours were spent trying to adequately capture the scene before me, which only improved even more when the moon peaked over the horizon. I used my Kindle to light the tent for the images.
I have mentioned before how impressed I am by the new Mont Primaloft Guide Hoodie. This deceptive jacket, that tries to pack down to nothing, impresses me every time I wear it. I had the Guide Hoodie on over a thermal top and Mont Slinx, along with a balaclava and beanie. The only part of me that got cold was my hands as I had to keep on taking my mittens off to operate the camera. The jacket rocks!
Back into the luxury of the bag, I set the alarm for 6am so that I could catch the sunrise.
And the surprise when I woke up? The second lowest temperature I have seen in Tassie’s wilderness...-10.2°C! Pretty nippy by most standards. (The lowest was -13.8°C many years ago in the Walls of Jerusalem).
A lazy morning in the tent before packing up and wandering across to my next camp a few kilometres away.
Once again, perfectly clear skies and no wind made it a pleasure to be out in the mountains.
Once I had reached my destination I stamped out a flat area in the snow for my tent and set up camp again.
Unfortunately, the battery in my (not so trusty now) thermometer had died so I don’t know how cold it was on the second night, but going by the readings at Liaweenie and the fact that my boots froze solid inside my tent I reckon around -8°C would be fairly close to the mark.
A bit of a sleep in this time then a relaxed pack up before heading back to the car.
The wilderness is such an awesome way to recharge! And Winter has it’s own very special beauty to enjoy.
Wilderness Photographer & Mont Ambassador
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