Climb every mountain

Trip Start May 18, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, May 16, 2005

For a state capital Hobart is surprisingly quiet on a Sunday morning. Not many cars on the roads and not many people walking the streets. As I wandered into the city centre, nearly all the shops were still shut at 10am. There was a fun run through the city this morning, which consisted of a handful of serious amateurs, lots of less serious runners (many wearing cumbersome jewelry and/or iPods) and a dog without a lead.

Later in the afternoon I decided to do the climb up to the summit of Mount Wellington, which at 1270 metres above sea level towers over Hobart and the surrounding bay area. To get to the start of the walk I drove up to the car park and could already see the mist forming around the peak, so knew that it may be a climb not necessarily rewarded with a good view of the city. That didn't deter me too much so I set off following the Pinnicle Track and then the Zig Zag Track all the way to the summit.

Along the tracks there was hardly any wind from the eastern side of the mountain and although the temperature was steadily dropping it felt comfortable trekking up the well marked path. There are plenty of warnings about changing weather conditions on the mountain and there are even shelters built with fireplaces at both ends of the track, in case of being stranded and needing to keep warm.

Once at the summit, sure enough the westerly wind reminded me why I had brought my wooly hat and gloves. Thankfully there are excellent facilities at the summit and even a glass walled visitor lookout. This afternoon the view was obscured by mountain mist, and after half an hour of waiting around without any sign of it clearing it was time to head back down via a different route. There is a road that leads all the way up to the summit, so perhaps on clear day before we leave Hobart we may get the chance to drive all the way up to see the city from up above.

The route I took on the way down went past the so called "Organ Pipes" geological feature, but due to the mist and bush re growth I did not actually see them. All in all it was a worthwhile 9km circuit hike; there is something quite ethereal about walking along the side of a mountain covered in a blanket of mist.

On return to the hostel Jorgen and I set off to meet Bernd at his home in North Hobart. I had phoned Bernd earlier in the day (he runs the Hobart Games Society) and he was keen to play a round of Settlers. He and his wife kindly cooked us dinner and we proceeded to get thrashed at Settlers. Bernd has the most extensive private collection of board games that I have seen, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf full! Many of them he had acquired on eBay direct from Germany.

The rest of the evening was spent back at the Pickled Frog in the cafe area; the only warm part of the hostel as there is no heating anywhere else. Jorgen, Dominik, Kylie (currently preparing to fail her accountancy exam for a second time) and I played Arsehole (a universally known backpacker card game) whilst listening to my Goldenhorse (Kiwi band) compilation album.

Tomorrow we have to get one of Sheila's wheels repaired and Jorgen wants to check the rear brakes again. If all goes well we will be all set to leave Hobart for Tuesday morning and head out to the wilderness that is Western Tasmania.
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