While I was cooking up my instant noodles, a chirpy volunteer warden came up and told me that I had already done the hardest part.The next part she assured me, was literally a walk in the park. Being a bit embarrassed to be heading home so soon, I thought I might go on to the next hut, spend a day or two there and then head home. Water was still a problem, but a young ranger (Angela?) gave me an empty metho bottle which worked perfectly well, though people did look at me a little strangely when they saw me taking swigs out of it.
The walk was pleasant enough, past several alpine tarns with the bulk of Barn Bluff as a backdrop. At Windemere Hut there were platforms for pitching tents, a big verandah, a wood stove, stainless cooking areas and tables, a water tank and wonder of wonders, a composting toilet. Although it's BYO everything else, the huts are a fantastic sight at the end of a hike, particularly, I imagine in the event of bad weather. During the night though, there was a great kerfuffle and an influx of campers. Possums had ripped open one of the tents and stolen someone's food. The possums here are enormous and so smart that they can undo zips and open packs and they know exactly where campers keep keep all the goodies. After that, everyone hung their packs from assorted nails on the roof.
Of course all this comes at a price. Around $2,450 per person. Towards the end one confessed that that secretly they all wished they could do it my way. To which I could only reply. "Secretly I wish I could do it your way."
Every Tasmanian vegetation type can be seen on the Overland Track. This is Pandani
Marsupial lawns and quiet pools above Hartnett Falls
A resident ranger tried to convince me to walk another two days around the lake rather than take the ferry as most walkers do. I was tempted there for a moment but with huge storm clouds gathering overhead, I thought I should quit while I was ahead. I managed to leap aboard just as the storm hit.
Lake St. Clair at the Southern end of the track. The aboriginal name for this huge lake, the deepest in Australia, is Leeawuleena which means "Sleeping Water." There is a new visitors' centre here with ferry trips, a bar and good coffee as well as several pretty walks. One of these walks is an Aboriginal Cultural Trail about the Big River People who lived in this area and were the last to give in to white settlers.