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In The Mountains. By Geoff Murray

December 01, 2020 1 Comment

The Mont Dragonfly Tent at sunset, Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

As summer approaches, I keep looking through my list of past walks to see which ones I want to do again.

In September 1986 I walked from Lake St Clair, up past Little Hugel to Mt Hugel. I then continued down the western slopes to Lake Hermione, followed a valley up to Lake Petrarch and walked back down to Lake St Clair. A good partly offtrack bushwalk. This time I only had two days, so the plan was to camp next to a tarn up on the Mt Hugel plateau.

The Mont Dragonfly tent in the mountains of Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

The forecast was for wind, lots of it. Fortunately, the Dragonfly tent is a strong 4 season tent designed for harsh winter conditions so I was confident it wouldn’t be too fazed by the wind.

Leaving my car at Cynthia Bay there was a bit of wind in the treetops but not as much as I had expected. The BOM had forecast gusts of 38 knots, and it was nothing like that. Maybe it would be windier higher up.

Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

The track to Shadow and Forgotten Lakes was soon behind me and after a yak to another solo walker camped near Forgotten Lake I started the climb up towards Little Hugel. Sidling past the upper ramparts of Little Hugel I then followed a pad west towards my destination, surprising a very healthy looking Whip Snake on the way. I really had no idea what it would be like at the tarn. My memory gave no clue, and I was going off my research on Google Earth.

I was in luck. Dropping my pack next to the tarn, it was clearly a very good place to be, despite the gusts of wind occasionally ruffling the water. It was breezy, maybe gusting to 15-20 knots but mostly pretty good.

The Mont Dragonfly tent in the mountains of Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

I set the Dragonfly up and hopped into the tent for a snooze (you are allowed to do that as you get older :) ).

After my kip, I headed off to a nearby ridge to get the view towards Mt Olympus and the mountains in the central Cradle Mt National Park. It was excellent. I then climbed the ridge above the tarn so I could get the same view but with the tarn in the foreground. Superb! And even better, the wind had dropped out.

Mountains of Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

As the sun set I carefully made my way down the steep scrubby slope to the tent for dinner. Gathering water was interesting as the tarn had a very high population of Anaspides Tasmaniae, a small shrimp commonly called the Mountain Shrimp. These ancient crustaceans are essentially unchanged from when they lived 250 million years ago. A living fossil. Scooping up water in my mug to fill my water bag resulted in the odd captive that had to be returned to its own habitat. I got a quick shot of one in my mug before returning it to the tarn.

Anaspides Tasmaniae, a small shrimp commonly called the Mountain Shrimp.

By evening it was calm and cooling quickly. The temperature dropped to -2 before midnight before climbing to 5 degrees as the wind swung northerly overnight. I had my Helium 600 bag with me, so a dip below freezing was not a problem.

The Mont Dragonfly tent in the mountains of Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

A good sleep, an early rise at 5 am to catch the sunrise and by 8 am I was packed and ready to walk out before the day became too hot. The forecast was for high 20’s, and that really isn’t my preference.

A couple of observations about the Dragonfly: it’s very easy to pitch, even in the wind. Once pitched, it shrugs off wind easily, and it is also very quiet inside. It’s a tent you could call your friend :)

Geoff Murray
Mont Ambassador

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1 Response


December 07, 2020

Thanks Geoff, another evocative piece of writing that tempts me to get out there!

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