The next 2 hikes from Arlene are pretty exciting. I know she had been wanting to hike in Australia and it just so happened that she was there and got the opportunity!
Hike (aka bushwalk): Mount Wellington, Australia
Today’s hike was a long way from home; we travelled down under to the southern hemisphere to Mount Wellington which towers over Hobart, Tasmania. Charles Darwin climbed Mount Wellington in 1836 and wrote in The Voyage of the Beagle of eucalyptus of “a great size and composed a noble forest” and tree ferns, one of which was twenty feet high to the base of the fronds. His day on the mountain was “splendidly clear.” Our day on the mountain was not splendidly clear, but it was clear enough to be able to see the surrounding mountains, Hobart and other cities, as well as the Tasmanian coastline.
We hiked a 9 km loop which started with a gentle walk on the Lenah Valley Track, passing through unfamiliar and fairly young vegetation (a large fire in the 1960s had taken out much of the old forest here). A couple of old stone cabins are still standing, and at the Junction Cabin we turned on to Hunters Track for a significant climb, often over wet boulder fields.
We got near our high point at the Chalet and joined the Organ Pipes Trail. The Organ Pipes are dolerite columnar cliffs that rise straight up from near the trail and were the most impressive sight of the day.
The trail continued on a ridge before descending back into the lush vegetation of the lower elevation. Other than eucalyptus, I could not identify the unusual plants we saw today. I found that a bit exhilarating; there is so much of the world to explore and so much to see and learn. In his final statements about the voyage on the ship Beagle, Darwin concluded, “it appears to me that nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist than a journey in distant countries.” I think this is true for not-so-young hikers as well.
(thanks to Frank’s Taxi in Hobart; Frank graciously got us to the trailhead and met us back at the trailhead right as we walked out)