Overland Track preparations

Last Friday we had our annual office Christmas party. First we went bowling, then we had dinner at a pretty crowded Mexican restaurant and when certain people became too drunk for any further activities, most of us decided to go home. Nice evening with excellent food though.

It was a very mild night and so I went for a walk around the waterfront before heading home. I had my camera with me and wanted to try some night shots. With my previous point-and-shoot cameras, doing night shots was practically impossible, maybe also due to my lack of interest, but my new one has some advanced features that make it worth trying. So I played around with the settings and the best shot is the one above. I was actually surprised how good it looks and it reminded me to buy a tripod before I head off to Cradle Mountain. I will probably take hundreds of photos while on the Overland Track.

Last week I finally started to prepare my gear. It’s incredible how fast time is moving right now, in little more than a week I will head off to Launceston and there’s still so much to do. What I’ve done so far is booking the bus tickets and reading several articles and books with information, to create lists of equipment I should take with me. And I bought some food supplies.

A lot of people say the Overland Track today is not as attractive anymore as it has been years ago, due to crowded huts, heaps of badly prepared tourists and annoying party backpackers. But it’s the first long walk for me and I think it’s probably the perfect entry before I attempt more challenging walks in real wilderness like Frenchmans Cap, South Coast Track or the Penguin-Cradle Trail. Without much experience I have to rely on other people’s recommendations as to what gear I should carry and how much food I need to take with me.

When I return from my walk I guess I will have gained a lot of experience and can refine my equipment for further walks. My current tent for example has a weight of 2.5kg. That’s not much, but there are tents out there with only 1.5kg, so that’s one candidate for a replacement. Similar with food, at this point of time I don’t know how much I really need, so I will probably carry a lot more than necessary.

I have no idea how many days I need for my walk, there are so many options to divide the Overland Track into parts, and there’s quite a number of side tracks and additional things to see, so I might actually go there and decide from day to day what I will do. I will simply try to carry enough supplies so I can extend the usual walk time by several days if necessary. I applied for more days leave than I actually need, so it’s not a problem to stay longer. I don’t expect sunshine on all days anyway, so it’s good to be flexible with time. When I arrive at Lake St Clair I will try to catch the Tassielink bus back to Hobart. Without knowing a date it doesn’t make sense to book ahead.

What I might do is follow the advice of some bushwalkers and camp the first night at the start of the track, so I will actually walk the first part on the second day. That’s because my bus will arrive at Cradle Mountain visitor centre around 11am, that’s almost too late to start walking the first part, and by starting on the second day I can do a bit of daywalking around there to acclimatise.

There’s also some news from my visa application. I already filled out the application form and there’s only one small question left which I need to clarify tomorrow, then I can hopefully submit everything beginning of next week.