Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Tasmania - Part 2 - Cradle Mountain

On my second day in Tassie, MW plans a big day out to world heritage listed - Cradle Mountain. We buy some snacks and sandwiches for the big hike and start the 2 hour drive from Launceston. I must confess, I was barely awake as we drive up there. I'm also not sure of my fitness level in conquering this beast of nature. We ultimately end up hiking for over NINE hours.

 Despite it being incredibly hot yesterday, as we arrive at the bottom of Cradle Mountain, I feel really cold. Luckily I have brought a jacket. The weather can turn on you quickly.

Cradle Mountain is 1545m above sea level and is home to unique flora and fauna. I take care to minimise any environmental damage on this hike. 

There are shuttle buses and the staff tell me that there are two key paths to choose to climb Cradle Mountain via the Overland Track. The first is quite difficult with lots of climbing involved. Given I have very limited rock climbing experience and my ability is low, I opt for the second option which is starting from Ronny's creek.

The natural beauty is insane and the start of the walk is really easy. It's a flat surface on a board walk. I can't believe how gorgeous the views are. The terrain becomes less simple as you walk over uneven surfaces. Then it becomes quite steep in parts where you have to climb up vertically, assisted with a chain to the side. (Sorry I was too tired to take any photos).

My breath is taken away by the scenic views and I am quite fatigued by all the stairs and the steep steps. By the time I reach Marion's Point. I am pretty tired. I have a quick sandwich.

MW eggs me on and tells me it's all mental that I should continue and keep going up to climb Cradle Mountain. So I persevere on after some convincing. I some how end up rock climbing.

First it's smaller rocks but they become bigger as you get higher. I am a beginner rock climber but I keep going. My arms are completely exhausted and my legs feel like jelly.

75% up Cradle Mountain, I have a massive cramp. I look down and I'm also quite afraid of how high up I am. I suddenly realise I've climbed quite a few rocks.

Near the top of Cradle Mountain, a small queue starts to form as people are struggling to vertically rock climb up a particularly difficult part. Unfortunately with no equipment and limited experience - this is where my cradle mountain climb ends. I am physically unable to vertically climb the rocks here.

As fatigue settles in and my body starts to break, I find it incredibly painful and hard to get down from the mountain. I also take my time as I fear falling.

MW and I somehow get to the bottom however we still have a few more hours of hiking ahead of us to get back to the shuttle bus.  Now it's harder to focus on the natural beauty as I am in significant pain.

Cramps fire up every few minutes, my feet are incredibly sore and my skin has been significantly burnt. Tears run down my face from the sharp pain in two parts of my right leg. 

Another 2 hours go by and I have been using my left leg a bit more to ease the pain from my right. I try to stretch and wonder if the shuttle bus is anywhere nearby as I feel like I've exceeded my physical limits. I've also consumed all of my 3 litres of water.

I finally arrive at the shuttle bus after 9 hours of hiking and rock climbing. I collapse into the seat.The 2 hour drive back to Launceston feels long and drawn out but I am glad to go back to the hotel for some rest.

What a day 2 of my Tasmanian trip.

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