Lake St. Clair

Guess what we had for breakfast! The last of the oatmeal! So here’s how it went: We had 1 packet of Brown Sugar and Cinnamon, 1 of Golden Syrup, and 2 of Creamy Honey. This meant, if both of us wanted 2 packets each, that either one of us could have a combo and one could have the Creamy Honey, or we could both have a Creamy Honey and something else combo. We opted for the adventurous oatmeal combo meal. Using the teakettle, which looked clean enough, we heated water and ate our oatmeal. I had the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon and Creamy Honey, and Hayden had the Golden Syrup and Creamy Honey. Though we have consumed all of the 12-pack box, never fear! There will be more oatmeal and, along with it, large blog paragraphs about oatmeal.

After consuming the oatmeal, we packed up and got back on the West Coast Wilderness Trail to reach Lake St. Clair, which sits on the southernmost border of Cradle Mountain National Park. Before our hike, we made sandwiches out of bread and leftover Chicken Parmigiana from the previous night (we’d already eaten all of the PB&J.) That was a good sandwich. Leftover chicken sandwich is even better than regular chicken!

We hiked the Figure-of-Eight loop along the side of Lake St. Clair, which is really huge compared to Dove Lake, so there’s not a circuit that goes around it. The Figure-of-Eight was about 6 kilometers, and its exit point aligns with that of the Overland Track! There was a big sign marking the end of the Overland Track that matched the sign we’d seen near Dove Lake. It was almost like we had finished the Overland Track.

Right at the beginning of our hike, we saw an echidna (I finally know how to spell it!) crossing the trail (dumb place to be.) As it turns out, the echidna’s mechanism of defense is to pretend to be a rock. Hayden and I approached the echidna with our cameras, and he immediately shoved his head into the side of a fallen log and pretended to be a rock. Unfortunately for him, we knew that he was not a rock, because we are smart. Unfortunately for us, every single shutter sound would frighten the echidna back into pretend-to-be-a-rock mode, so it was hard to get photos of his face. Eventually he decided to make a break for it, and waddled un-dramatically away.

taking pictures of the echidna with his face shoved into the log
taking pictures of the echidna with his face shoved into the log
beginning his break for the treeline
beginning his break for the treeline

The Figure-of-Eight loop began on the Larmairremener tabelti trail, which was called an “Aboriginal cultural heritage walk” covering the traditions of the indigenous people of the region. There were really only three posters put up along the trail, eventually describing how the Larmairremener people were massacred from the 400s or 500s to about 25. Those people, seeking peace, were sent offshore to Flinders Island. Hayden and I had been talking for some time about where all the indigenous people were — the Bay of Fires had been named after the fires they lit on the beach shores, after all, and we had seen many in the outback during WSC. But in Tasmania, there had been no sign. Our “Aboriginal cultural heritage walk” hinted at what had become of them. I guess the Aboriginal history in Australia is not so different from that of the Native Americans in the States, though I have heard there are many key differences.

Past the saddening three posters commemorating the loss of an entire people, we crossed a bridge that took us onto the Platypus Bay trail.

between Larmairremener tabelti trail and Platypus Bay trail
between Larmairremener tabelti trail and Platypus Bay trail
the view from the bridge
the view from the bridge

On the trail, Hayden recounted the entire plot summary of M. Night Shyamalan’s film Lady in the Water for me, because I had seen a trailer for it years ago and was curious about it. At the end of his plot summary, I decided that I wasn’t going to watch it, which had been my initial reaction after viewing the trailer, so at least I’m consistent. The trail took us to Platypus Bay, which had one cool wreckage site but no platypuses. I was upset that there weren’t any platypuses, and Hayden was upset that I said I didn’t want to watch Lady in the Water.

the wreckage at Platypus Bay
the wreckage at Platypus Bay

From the Platypus Bay trail, we crossed back over the bridge and continued on to the Watersmeet trail, which would take us back to our original entry point and the visitor center. On Watersmeet, Hayden insisted that he wanted to recount the entire plot summary of another M. Night Shyamalan film, Signs. What I learned: Hayden repeatedly pronounces it “M. Night Shyamala…” and then he trails off like he’s unsure how the name ends. This is interesting because, in South Park, they make fun of M. Night Shyamalan by pronouncing his name “M. Night Shaymalamnemnemnym” or something like that, very similar to how Hayden says it. On a more relevant note, I decided that I also do not wish to see Signs.

The Figure-of-Eight loop took us less than an hour and a half to complete. Overall, the trail did not have nearly as many wooden plank interludes or as much picturesque scenery as did the Dove Lake Circuit, but it was a good hike and a cool way to get a taste of the other side of the Overland Track. Also, we saw an echidna!

We went back to the car and drove the Rivers Run road from Lake St. Clair to Hobart. A short bit on the roads in Tasmania: After traveling in a huge circle around the entire island, we’ve found that the roads are windy and offer great scenery. However, they are really windy, and can be dangerous. Great Ocean Road was often clogged with people on the road, but the road itself really only alternated between moderately windy and pretty straight. It wasn’t a hard drive at all. The roads in Tasmania required constant attention. You really never knew which way the road was going to go next; there were so many concealed turns. Hayden and I developed a fun “rally racing” style where he’d look at Google Maps and tell me what kind of turn was coming up and how sharp it would be. That worked out really well, and it was super fun. Our Micra ended up being a great teaching tool for stick shift. Going up a hill, the Micra would bog down unless I down-shifted — I was always wishing for more power, but I sure got good at shifting!

On our way to the Fountainside Hotel in Hobart, we picked up a pizza (half Margherita, half Napoletana) from La Bella Pizzeria and even got free garlic bread due to an order mix-up. We ate our pizza on the floor of our hotel while watching Friends. After the pizza, I decided that I needed a brownie with ice cream on it. The hotel restaurant offered a pecan pie with ice cream so I settled for that. We continued our Friends marathon with our pecan pies and ice cream. We got to the episode where Ross has his baby with Carol, just shy of the season finale, where Rachel finds out that Ross is in love with her. Hayden really wanted to watch the season finale, but I was too tired and fell asleep.

That was it for our Tasmania adventures! We would be flying to Christchurch the next day. New Zealand awaits!

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