Last week most of the restrictions for movement within Tasmania were lifted with the majority of national parks also being accessible. I chose to visit a new area (for me) on the southern side of the Ben Lomond Massif. There is a relatively short track that climbs from Storeys Creek (population 1) up onto the plateau next to Stacks Bluff and that plateau was my destination.
I was late away from home this time and didn’t leave my car until 1.30 pm. The temperature was less than tropical and as I climbed up through the forest there were small patches of ice scattered around. A boulder field starts about 1 kilometre before attaining the plateau and as I exited the forest I was greeted by a field of boulders, all with a nice sugary coating of ice. It was a careful scramble across the boulder field but eventually as I climbed the slopes to the plateau the ice faded, only to be replaced by a particularly incisive wind. A quick stop to add a couple of layers and I was nicely warmed up again.
Cresting onto the plateau, I was greeted by a captivating scene. The late afternoon light slanted its way across the landscape, highlighting the tops of the bluffs and cliffs around me. The colours of the rocks and bushes were warm and rich in colour, which belied the fact that it was already minus 1 as the sun neared the horizon.
“as the wind dropped out and the darkness settled the temperature dropped to -8.1 degrees. A cool but beautifully clear night”
It didn’t take long to find a small flat area big enough for my Moondance I tent and once I was organised and fed I slipped straight into the sleeping bag. One of the differences with bushwalking in winter is how early bedtime can be. I am not usually in bed at 5.30pm! But the light outside had already faded and the temperature was steadily heading south so it was time for some reading by headlamp.
I carry a small temperature sensor that talks to my smart watch and GPS wirelessly. It is surprisingly accurate so I can say with some certainty that as the wind dropped out and the darkness settled the temperature dropped to -8.1 degrees. A cool but beautifully clear night.
I was up an hour before sunrise and after climbing to a suitable vantage point I grabbed a couple of reasonable images before returning to the tent for another cup of coffee. It wasn’t warm in the morning so I was wearing my usual Mont clothing (thermals and shorts) along with a Slinx, Neon Hoodie and Odyssey jacket. This combination was verging on being too warm but sitting still taking photographs doesn’t generate much heat so it was tolerable.
The walk back to my car was uneventful and I drove back down Tassie’s East Coast on the return trip. The fine weather continued down the coast with a lovely pink and blue dusk at Denison Beach.
Wilderness photographer and Mont Ambassador
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