Monday, April 25, 2011

beautiful one day, perfect the next

I kind of forgot how beautiful Tasmania is. Well, not totally forgot... just a little bit forgot. Humdrum, every day life squeezed my memories into a small, hard knot at the back of my mind.

I still notice life's sprinklings of beauty - those hundreds-and-thousands-like moments of sparkle. Ethereal autumn evening light, the cute sideways turn of an inquisitive chicken's head, the crunchy goldenness of turning leaves, the snap of fresh home grown beans, or the achievement of getting up and down hills under my own steam. I gather in those snatches of splendour and hold them close; sustenance for the less gossamer moments of otherwise ordinary days.

I've just had two perfect days spent out of town, and I am once again caught in the thrall of Tasmania. So incredibly dazzling. We meant to make plans for an Easter break, but we never got around to it. Then last week, friends phoned and invited us to join them on a trip out west. "Of course," we hastily replied, and yesterday we set off for Tullah.

Never heard of it? Neither had I really, but what a find. Tullah is a former mining and hydro town. It's a sleepy little place now, with an air of being forgotten - empty shop fronts, and deserted streets - but there's a good fast food store, and a comfortable, friendly lodge which provides accommodation and basic meals. Oh, and there's the scenery.

Lake Rosebery

Mount Murchison

Mount Farrell at dusk

There's more to Tullah than boating and fishing, which is good, since I am not into either popular Tassie pursuit. I'm more a nature loving bush walker, though even this is stretching the truth. I haven't done a bush walk for... I can't remember my last bush walk.

Anyway, yesterday we walked to Montezuma Falls. You get pretty big bang for your buck, which is to say, for not much effort you are regaled by beauty. The three hour return walk follows an old mine tram path. There's not much evidence of the tram track any more, except for a crumbling wooden bridge or two, but the track is easy and mostly flat, through enchanting rainforest and moss and dappled light, and you can see where workers of old have chipped their way through solid rock.

The roar of the falls becomes louder and louder until, at last, you are standing at the base of the falls, and its fine spray cools you as you drink it all in. The better view of the falls is to be had from the swinging suspension bridge - cross it if you dare!

That was to be the extent of our Tullah bush walking, but we stumbled across another three hour walk, and our legs didn't feel too bad after Montezuma Falls, so this morning we climbed Mount Farrell. Almost. We were a bit short on time, so we waved at the summit from about 200 metres away and enjoyed the fabulous views from a slightly lower rock.

Montezuma Falls was an easy walk. Mount Farrell required a bit more exertion, about 5oo metres climb over three kilometres with plenty of boggy track to negotiate, but it too gave huge rewards for a very reasonable amount of effort. After an hour and a half we were at the 'peak', looking out on Lake Rosebery and Tullah in one direction, and all the peaks of the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Claire National Park in the other. Absolutely stunning.

There's no forgetting how beautiful Tasmania is after this one. Once my legs stop aching (bush walking uses different muscles to bike riding it would seem) I'll still be feasting on the memory of these scenes.

Mount Murchison

Lake Mackintosh
(one of those bumps on the horizon is the back of Cradle Mountain)

I was there! Frank was too.

Surely I'm one of the most blessed and privileged people on earth to live in the midst of such wonder!


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