Windy Ridge to Echo Point
When I woke up in the morning it looked like another sunny day, it really takes a lot of luck to get a whole week of sunshine in the high country. Today’s walk would only be 3 hours to Narcissus Hut, so I wasn’t in a hurry.
The night before I checked the bus timetables I found at Bert Nichols Hut. My plan was not to do the side trip to Pine Valley, instead going straight to Narcissus Hut, spending the night there. On the next and final day I would do the 5 hour walk from Narcissus along Lake St Clair to the visitor centre and take the late bus back to Hobart. I was almost looking forward to bring it all to a good end and return home, after a fantastic week and the luck I had with the weather.
So around 10am I left Windy Ridge. The walk through light forest and bushland was quite easy, except that parts of the track were not marked as usual, so for a while I was wondering if I walked on the right track until I caught up with a few people who started earlier.
I also met a few rangers who were – once again – very friendly people and checked my Overland Track pass. For a while I was thinking about how great it must be to work as a ranger and be out there every day to walk between huts, somehow fascinating.
While walking I noticed how my legs didn’t feel sore anymore. Only my shoulders and my back still hurt a lot, I think part of the problem could be my backpack which doesn’t feel as comfortable as I wished, but maybe it’s just a wrong setting with the shoulder straps.
Around 1pm I arrived at Narcissus where heaps of people were waiting for the ferry service to Lake St Clair visitor centre. Only a handful decided to stay and do the walk around the lake, something I couldn’t really understand. You walk all the way to Narcissus and then you take the ferry to save a few kilometres? Not an option for me, especially as the walk around the lake later turned out to be very beautiful.
It was still pretty early and there was not much to do, so I pitched my tent and prepared lunch, but there were so many mosquitos around that I decided to eat inside the hut and chat with a guy from Tasmania who told me nice things about New Zealand.
A few hours later I met Marc again, the dutch guy. He was actually one day ahead of me, but he did the side trip to Pine Valley so at Narcissus we caught up again. When we exchanged walking plans he brought my attention to the fact that I had messed up my diary notes and accidentally added two Saturdays. What made this so stupid was that it wasn’t Thursday like I believed, it was actually Friday, and that meant I couldn’t take the late bus the next day because it only runs Fridays.
That meant I needed to change my plans. On Saturday the bus to Hobart leaves at 11.45am, so it wouldn’t be possible to do the 5 hour walk to the visitor centre the next day. That left me with two options: either only walk to Echo Point the next day and take the ferry from there, or I could pack up and walk to Echo Point now. This way I would only need to walk 3 hours to the visitor centre on Saturday, which seemed realistic.
I decided to pack my stuff and spend the night at Echo Point. It was already 4.30pm by the time I was ready to leave, but with sunshine until 9pm it wasn’t a problem. So I walked to Echo Point and it was a really nice walk, definitly worth walking. Along the track there were a few pleasant beaches, I couldn’t resist and stopped for a few minutes of swimming.
Even with the swimming break and a couple of photo stops I needed only 2 hours to Echo Point. Surprisingly the only person there was Marc who was pretty happy to see me as it was such a beautiful location and his own camera broke down after a few days on the track, so I took some shots to share with him later. He also told me he’d seen several Platypus since he arrived at the hut.
Now I got excited, I had seen many native animals in Tasmania before but I had never seen a Platypus, especially not in the wild. I was absolutely amazed when after a while a Platypus actually popped up on the calm water and swam around near the hut so I could take some photos. Once again I was glad for having bought a camera with a 18x zoom lens.
I can only recommend everyone to stay at Echo Point even though the hut is pretty old and small. It is a fantastic location and absolutely worth staying there.