Tuesday, October 29, 2019

191029 - Lots of road

Day: 12
Date:  Tuesday, 29 October 2019
Start:  Miena
Finish:  North of Cramps
Daily Kilometres:  37.3 (38.7 TT, less 1.4 saved due to bushfire detour)
Total TT Kilometres:  311.0
Weather:  Cool early, then mild to warm and mostly sunny with strong winds most of the day.  There was a Total Fire Ban for southern Tasmania.
Accommodation:  Tent
  Breakfast:  Cereal, toast & jam
  Lunch:  Trail mix
  Dinner:  Soup and rehydrated meal
Aches:  Good up until noon, then right foot PF worsened during afternoon.
Highlight:  None really.
Lowlight:  Difficulty finding water, then a campsite, at the end of the day.  Water had been plentiful earlier in the day, mostly seen flowing through culverts under the road, but when I needed a couple of litres at the end of the day, all the culverts were dry.  I eventually found a trickle and small pond and got water from there. Likewise for places to camp. I had seen many possibilities earlier in the day, but by the end of the day I had entered a very bouldery area, with no flat spots for camping.  Finally, I found a firetrail leading off the road, and camped on the hard stony firetrail about 100 metres past a locked gate. It may be an uncomfortable night.
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
I woke around 6:30am and hit the road about 7:45am after an unrushed breakfast.  It was a fairly major road, which I had to stay on for the morning. The official TT route used some fire trails via Tods Corner, to cut out about 11km of the road, but according to the TT website this route was closed because of a bushfire.  Smoke from the fire dominated the scene as I approached the turnoff, but there was nobody stationed at the corner or any signage indicating the road was closed. I was tempted to try it to avoid the logging and gravel 18-wheelers on the road, but was worried that I might go some kilometres and then be turned back. I stuck to the road.  Despite the traffic (and there were long periods with none), the scenery was pleasant forest and there was a long descent off the plateau to Wiley's Marsh with some views, where I turned north onto a narrower, but equally busy sealed road.

Eventually, I reached a turn-off down to Arthurs Lake and followed a difficult loose bluestone road that paralleled the lake shore and was the service road for some high voltage power transmission lines.  I believe most of the "lakes" in this area of Tasmania are actually dams built by Hydro Tasmania and there are often pipelines and transmission lines visible, along with the occasional power station. As I walk, I often wonder what the place would look like without the dams.  (The only protest march in which I ever participated was way back in the 70s against the damming of the Franklin/Gordon River in Tasmania. It was eventually stopped by the Federal government in a court case, and I think history has demonstrated that the dam would have been redundant.  I later spent about 8 days rafting down the wild Franklin River, a trip which is still vivid in my memory.)

I didn't find the walk under the powerlines particularly interesting, but at least it got me away from the trucks for about 6km.  Then, it was back onto the road and a long steady climb back onto the Central Plateau, accompanied by the smell of bushfire smoke, and the Great Lake's eastern shore.  My goal for the day was to reach a locality called Cramps, where there was boat access to the lake off the main road, but I didn't want to make the detour to get water from the lake and guessed that camping might be forbidden anyway.

I continued on another 3km, eventually finding water and a campsite (see above).  Apart from the increasingly painful plantar fasciitis in my right foot during the afternoon, I had a good day. 

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