08 June 2017

The Falls in Winter

Winter in Tasmania is THE BEST time to go walking; the days are short, but the sun shines and the sky is blue. There is a crispness in the air that makes you want to get out and stretch your legs.

Today's stroll from Bennetts Road to Kermandie Falls along the old Hartz Track certainly stretched everything.

Here is the walk description from the Hobart Walking Club circular:
This is the middle section of the historic Kermandie Track which goes from Geeveston to Hartz Peak. Damaged forestry roads have been a problem so our approach to this middle section ending at Kermandie Falls will be from Bennetts Road going downhill to the falls. When we are feeling weary, we will return uphill to the cars. The track goes through magnificent forest with mosses, fungi and even lyrebirds. The final kilometre of the track has a number of fallen trees to negotiate but the forests and the falls make it all worthwhile.

Every word of it is true, right down to the lyrebirds - not only spotted crossing the road as we drove into the forest, but keeping us entertained with a rich variety of melodious calls.

plunging into the forest from Bennetts Road

Many of the logs we encountered had been cut nicely - but many more had not. For some reason every photograph I took of people climbing over logs had a bad case of camera wobble, so you'll just have to believe me when I tell you much of the walk consisted of crawling under or scrambling over fallen logs of varying degrees of slipperiness and complexity.

A stretch of cutting grass and mud

Some very soggy button grass

there's still ice on the water . . .

and frost on the button grass where the sun has only just reached it

We are back in the forest

out of the creek and over a log

late in the season, but a bit of Climbing Heath (Prionotes Cerenthoides) is still hanging in there

morning tea

I believe there was once a tramway for hauling logs through here

Here and there a huge stump still shows a scarf cut by early twentieth century loggers

this stump has built itself a palisade

for the fungi lovers

Leaving the main track, we plunge off down a steep slope to the falls. Lots of tree roots to slip on, plenty of things to scramble over, under and through.

Towards the bottom an even steeper, slippery track along the side of a deep, dark gully brings us to our destination.

lunch at Kermandie Falls

tangled logs at the foot of the falls

Terrifying to imagine the force that swept these logs into the valley.

Having lunched, we retraced our steps. Up the hills, over and under the logs, across the creeks, through the mud . . .

emerging from the forest - afternoon sun on the button grass

Hartz Peak

It was a welcome sight - our cars waiting for us at the end of the track. And the afternoon sun showed traces of snow still lingering on Hartz Peak.

What a wonderful winter walk. Now for a long, hot bath with lots of scented bubbly stuff and a good book.

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