Thursday, October 31, 2019

191031 - Early start

Day: 14
Date:  Thursday, 01 November 2019
Start:  Liffey
Finish:  Deloraine
Daily Kilometres:  33.8 
Total TT Kilometres:  385.4
Weather:  Cool early, then mild to warm and partly cloudy (Total Fire Ban in southern and eastern Tasmania)
Accommodation:  AirBnB cabin
  Breakfast:  Trail mix
  Lunch:  Meat pie
  Dinner:  Pizza and ice-cream
Aches:  Feet sore by the end of day
Highlight:  It was a beautiful and peaceful early morning climb up the Liffey valley, passing by attractive little farms overshadowed by towering forested mountains.
Lowlight:  None really.
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
I didn't sleep all that well, perhaps because I went to bed so early (7pm) to escape the cold wind, or perhaps because of the sound of distant farm machinery that woke me around 2am (sounded like a buzz saw ….. what were they doing?).  Anyway, when a nearby rooster began crowing shortly before 4am and magpies began warbling (a beautiful sound) shortly after, I gave up trying to sleep and packed up in the dark.

I began walking around 5:20 am when it was just light enough to see without a headlamp, and followed the very quiet road (3 cars in 3 hours) up the Liffey River valley (see above).  I enjoyed walking past these relatively remote farms set amongst fabulous scenery. I doubt that any of them make enough money to survive through farming, so I guess you have to be well-off to live there, or have a day job somewhere else.  One of the joys of this whole hike has been wandering the farm back roads and observing the derelict old buildings and machinery, often juxtaposed with well-kept farmhouses with fabulous gardens. Apart from some orchards, vineyards and hops down south, the farms have mostly been pastoral, grazing cattle and sheep (the latter generally with young lambs), and more rarely, horses, fallow deer and llamas.

Eventually, I climbed steeply out of the valley into a dark and ferny forest, with some pine plantations thrown in, which lasted for about an hour, before I began a gentle descent northwards through farmland towards Deloraine.  It was a very pleasant morning with little road traffic, and I wandered along looking at the world around me while listening to the radio. With about 10km to go, I left the official TT for my detour to Deloraine, and after more farmland, reached the town at 1:30pm, considerably earlier than planned because of my early start.  

I bought a pie for lunch at a fast food shop adjacent to the town's two schools, and while eating, messaged my friendly AirBnB host to see if she would give me early access to the cabin I had booked for two nights.  She responded affirmatively, and I arrived there around 2:30pm. The cabin included a washing machine, but no drier, so I hastily put all my laundry in the machine, with the exception of my barely worn long-johns and my down jacket, and set it going.  My hope that at least some of the clothes had air-dried by dinner time (so I could walk into town for dinner without being arrested, or being an object of local curiosity ….. although it is Halloween) was fulfilled, and I walked to a nearby pub for dinner.  There, I had an excellent, and too-big, pizza, marred only by the guy on the next table suffering from a formidable bronchial cough that had me holding my breath for a minute or two after each episode.

I have a day off tomorrow, and since the Tasmanian Craft Fair is on in town (touted on local radio as "the largest in the southern hemisphere"), I may have a look around, although it's not really my thing.

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