Overland Track Day 2: Waterfall Valley to Windemere
Taken from my trip diary :
Another day, another stormy dawn to witness. I swear I never see as many dawns as when I’m holiday and supposedly resting.
This morning’s destination was Barn’s Bluff. At the time I set out just before 5am, visibility was poor but at least it wasn’t raining or snowing any more. Walking on the trail at that hour was treacherous for several reasons. Firstly, the gloom obscured all paths and signposts so i had to find my way partly by memory of the terrain from the previous day’s walk down. Secondly, in the overnight cold, a thin layer of ice had settled on the entire boardwalk rendering it an oil slick surface to skate on. Lastly, the incessant grumbling of my stomach from under nutrition meant that I was constantly hurrying to reach my final destination instead of taking my time.
The most memorable parts of that hike were the feeling of pure isolation, and being dwarfed by the rocks and weather around me. There was also a brief moment of dawn light that had me scampering higher up the bluff to achieve a better view of Cradle Mountain. Sadly, I never made to the top of Barn’s Bluff as the snow was at times waist deep. I was also getting hungrier by the minute from all the hard work and had only brought a solitary muesli bar to fight off the hunger pangs. Somewhere along the way, my sunglasses manage to find their way out of my pocket and into a patch of snow I could not relocate. The last thing I wanted to attempt was to fight my way back through a blizzard back to the hut without any eye protection.
Breakfast after the return trip was a much needed highlight. Who would have thought that soggy muesli and justright with powdered milk could ever be a highlight!
The remainder of the day was an easy stroll from Waterfall Valley hut to Windermere hut. As we started just before 9am, the clouds had all but vanished leaving us glorious sunshine and cool crisp air to walk in. Along the way, the plains showed us just how far we had to walk before the end of the week.
A few kilometers from the hut , there is a turn off to lake Will. We took this option since we had only been walking for just over an hour. Any opportunity to walk without the backpack was an opportunity we eagerly grasped during this trip. The sun was blazing and the waters crystal clear with Barn Bluff’s other aspect looming. All in all, a good opportunity to wash and give myself the illusion of cleanliness. We decided against taking the muddy trail to a waterfall at the southern end of the lake but instead, lay in the sun basking for a little while.
After our break, we packed up our bags , rinsed clothes and headed for Windemere for a late lunch. Since the sun was still shining and since the hut was bound to be filled an orchestra of snorers, we decided to camp out that night. Our small 2 man tent turned out to be a great sunroom for the afternoon though later that night, it would be very chilly indeed. I can’ t say I slept particularly well due to the cold, but at least there was no frustration from listening to others play games until late or from the eventual onset of sleep disordered breathing. Our main disturbance would be from the occasional paddemelon who would poke its nose under against our fly hoping to get at food. Thankfully we had stored our food inside the hut for the night!
The next day would be a long one and we were glad for the shorter day we opted for today. On our previous trip in 2004, we walked all the way to New Pelion from Waterfall Valley which was exhausting.