Monday, January 25, 2010

The Wild West: 1

Sorry that it has been a while between posts, but the time seemed to be well-filled after Christmas. But now I have An Adventure to relate.

Late last year we were inveigled (look it up) to book a walking trip on Tasmania's west coast with some of the friends that we have been walking with before. It was a guided walk, organised by Tarkine Trails, but unlike previous walks this one required us to carry just about everything (apart from cooking gear). Jeannie was a bit nervous about her capacity to do this and for a week or two beforehand would probably have welcomed some excuse to cry off. However, last Tuesday we packed our packs, slung them in the car and drove from Boat Harbour to beautiful Burnie, where we met the rest of the group (some of whom had been in a bus since 5.30 am). After a gear check, and receiving our share of the food and our tent we joined the bus and were driven to Corinna, a tiny settlement on the Pieman River, deep in the rainforest of the far west.

Unpacking at Corinna.
Packs weighed 15-20 kg

Ferry at Corinna in the rainforest

The walk started at the Pieman Heads, and to get there we boarded the Arcadia II, a river cruiser built of huon pine, and a history going back beyond WWII. The ninety minute cruise took us through dense rainforest until we could see the surf breaking on the bar at the river mouth. We moored on the southern side and were ferried across to the start of the track in a little inflatable (three people and their packs, plus the driver. Jeannie insisted on being in the middle).

Crossing the mouth of the Pieman River.
Nervous smiles.

Farewell the Arcadia
Our last link with civilisation

The Wild West
The last part of Tasmania where people (think they) can do whatever they like

We were asked to start the expedition with some private acknowledgment of the aboriginal inhabitants of the land, since this is the part of Tasmania where their presence can be most strongly seen and felt. I'll deal with that in a later post. Then we shouldered our packs ("Can I really carry this thing for five days?") and walked just a couple of kilometres to our first camp, on a grassy marsupial lawn just above the high tide.

Coastal view at the first camp site

Camp site 1
Tents pitched, ready for dinner

Jeannie and I shared a tent, of course, but we shared the carrying of it as well. The tents were Canadian and very well-designed. We quickly became experts at putting it up and as it turned out the first night tested it a bit, being both wet and windy, but it performed well.

Our friend Hamish brought his fishing rod (strictly fly-only) and persuaded me to bring mine as well. He would fish in a roadside puddle, failing anything better, and was soon up to his ..... in the sea, catching little cocky salmon. But then there were cries of delight and he came ashore with a flounder! Not very many of them have been caught on a fly, I reckon. It made an hors d'ouvre for dinner (the rest was a rice noodle stir fry with smoked tofu, with a glass of cask red).

The Big Fisherman
Hamish against the flounder

The catch
"You want me to divide that into 12 pieces??"

And so to bed on our inflatable mats, where we slept fairly well despite the wind and rain without.

To be continued........


  1. Lovely post and gorgeous photos. looking forward to the next instalment. But, um, where are Hamish's pants???!

  2. I am soooo impressed! Carrying those packs - can't wait to read more! ..and maybe it'll spur me on to write up mine... struggling with jet lag at the moment :-(

  3. Jac: he did have pants on, but they are discretely hidden by his shirt tails!

    Ruthie: glad you are home and hope the jet lag passes off quickly. When are you coming to see us??

  4. Wow! Things my big brother gets up to! Jeannie too I am very impressed. I would have trouble just lifting the pack never mind carrying it all that time. The experience mst have been incredible. I had never given much thought to the previous occupants of your island though i suppose the aborigines must have been there. Surprizing that researxch hasnt been done into their way of life . Mum would have been very intrigued by all the evidence you have seen.Looking forward to more!