how not to go hiking!

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Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain

We flew back home to Sydney two days ago! Our biggest adventure and highlight in Tasmania would be our hike in Cradle Mountain National Park. At the time, it felt like a misadventure though! So let’s set the scene a little: There were 12 of us ranging from 20 months through to 64 years old. And we went to see Cradle Mountain. One cannot come to Tasmania and NOT see Cradle Mountain. The original plan was to walk Dove Lake Circuit because it was flat and therefore would be manageable with kids, a pram and a wheelie esky (a.k.a cooler bag).

Nice and flat around Dove Lake Circuit for the pram and esky. But instead, we choose the uneven track with steps and loose wet rocks
Nice and flat around Dove Lake Circuit for the pram and esky. But instead, we choose the uneven track with steps and loose wet rocks

In the group we had: – a 64 year old with gout in his left foot – a 30-something male who had pulled a hamstring during a spontaneous beach race on our first day in Tasmania – a 7 year old who had only just recovered from a 24 hour tummy bug the day before – a 20 month old asleep in a pram What was meant to be an easy walk turned into something extremely ambitious! Instead of walking the Dove Lake circuit which was a 2 hours walk around the lake (we all deemed it would take “too long”). We decided that we would walk the Lake Lilla Track to get to Ronny Creek so we could jump on the shuttle bus back to the Visitor Centre. How hard could it be, right? The map showed that it was mostly boardwalk so off we trot. Lake Lilla Track turned out NOT FLAT nor EASY nor QUICK especially if you were hiking with the four candidates listed above. We hadn’t prepared for this walk and this is when things started to get interesting!

Off we trot towards Lake Lilla
Off we trot towards Lake Lilla

Up and down the rocky pathway through the wilderness we walked with an infant asleep in the pram. Two of the men in our entourage carried the pram so Little Miss could continue to sleep, in hope that we would reach boardwalk soon. The path was narrow, and there were loose wet rocks as we hiked in single file. On and on we went, stopping occasionally to let passer-bys overtake us. We are sure they all thought we were mad! There were moments where we stopped to discuss whether to continue or to turn back as boardwalk was simply not in sight.

Narrow path where we walked carrying the pram with the sleeping infant and the esky.
Narrow path where we walked carrying the pram with the sleeping infant and the esky.
One of our "spots" wide enough for us to have a family meeting
One of our “spots” wide enough for us to have a family meeting

And always timely, we would see other hikers coming in the direction we were headed… Let’s ask them! So we did and the responses were similar: “You guys should turn back especially with the pram!” “The boardwalk is only at the very start of the hike, the rest will be rocks and water.” “There is a lot more rocks before you get to boardwalk.” “It’s pretty rough up ahead for you guys.” But did we heed their advice? Hmm… no! We pushed on because we had come so far already! There were times when we felt prematurely excited because there was boardwalk. We would celebrate and cheer, only to find that the boardwalk lasted 50 metres and we were back to gravel, uneven paths again! Were we EVER going to find civilisation?

Thinking we had hit the jackpot and that this was the boardwalk we had been searching for
Thinking we had hit the jackpot and that this was the boardwalk we had been searching for
We found the boardwalk... finally!
We found the boardwalk… finally!

Finally 2 and a half hours later, we arrived at boardwalk! Normally, it probably wouldn’t take hikers that long but with the entourage we had and our unpreparedness, it DID take us that long. Our reward for finishing was not only boardwalk but seeing wombats at the finish line! We had one wombat climb onto the boardwalk and walk right across our path.  We also saw a baby wombat and its mum.

Wombat 1 of 7
Wombat 1 of 7
Mum and Baby Wombat
Mum and Baby Wombat

Regardless of our reward at the end – let us finish by clearly stating: THIS IS NOT HOW TO HIKE! It is so crucial to be prepared, to plan your hike to know where you are going and to notify a responsible person that you are hiking in case you don’t return. It was only after we arrived back at our motel, that we realised that we hadn’t done ANY of those things. We had one 600mL bottle of water each (if that) – we were not dressed for abrupt change in weather. We didn’t really know where we were going. We hadn’t told anyone what we were doing. We had changed our original walk plans and turned it into a hike. What was meant to be only an hour or two at Cradle Mountain National Park became a 3 hour visit. We can laugh about it now, safe and sunburnt but wouldn’t have been laughing if something dire had happened out there. Call us crazy or foolish, we learnt our lesson, we won’t be going unprepared again for bush walks or hikes!

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27 thoughts on “how not to go hiking!

    anaznor ngajato 【ツ】 (@Lifs_Nuanen) said:
    August 18, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Every adventure I have been to has been a misadventure and honestly, I don’t think a successful trip is more exciting than those that calls for hurdles, be a change of plan or a simple wrong turn. I relate with every one of your misadventures. 🙂 Having said that, preparedness is always safer than otherwise. Cheers.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      August 19, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Hahaha – thank you so much for reading and leaving us a comment! We agree wholeheartedly with you.. that an exciting and successful trip is one with drama! If it all goes “smoothly”, it’s definitely not memorable!

    […] as we are hoping that walking will become a regular feature in our weekends. Since our hike in Cradle Mountain, we have become […]

    Jaspa said:
    January 29, 2014 at 3:28 am

    Ooops! At least your misadventures made for a good story! And the Wombats are very cute.

    Actually, I meet a Wombat(ses) briefly in Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London (http://jaspasjourney.wordpress.com/books/).

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 29, 2014 at 6:19 am

      Yes wombats are very cute 🙂 as are giraffes too! Thanks for reading!

    weekly photo challenge: family | wise monkeys abroad said:
    January 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

    […] RSS ← how not to go hiking! […]

    heruiming said:
    January 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Hi there! I did the Overland Track in September and I know exactly how you feel! Looks lovely in summer. 🙂 I’m glad everyone survived!

    Freya said:
    January 16, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Quite some hiking entourage you had there … I’m really happy that you all made it even when the hike took longer than originally planned but I agree preparation is key.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 16, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Heheh! Yep, we definitely learnt our lesson 🙂 Thanks for reading!

    Rachel M said:
    January 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    The scenery is beautiful … but hiking with a 20 month old in a pram ,,, unprepared … you guys are crazy 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Haha – yes we were crazy! It was an adventure we did not anticipate but enjoyable all the same 🙂 – thanks for reading and hope you had a great new Year!!

    Savvy said:
    January 13, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Now if I ever go to Tasmania, I know how not to hike Cradle Mountain!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Our tip is preparation 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

    nnhtcao said:
    January 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    definitely funny stories to share for later! Was lots of fun!!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      We will be laughing at this for years to come 🙂

    foreignsanctuary said:
    January 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I admire your determination but as it goes for hiking, you need to be prepared for weather changes and bring enough supplies. It is, however, something your will always remember for the rest of your life!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Most definitely a memorable experience! Everyone needs those tales to recount for years to come.
      We will not take ‘hiking’ lightly in future. 🙂
      Thanks so much for reading!

    Just Another Nature Enthusiast said:
    January 13, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Great tale… I’m sure it will be told for years to come. (I wonder what legends are in the making?!)

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      You have us laughing with your comment!
      We are sure the other hikers will be retelling the story of the ‘mad hikers’ that they can across that day!
      Thanks so much for reading 🙂

    Forestwoodfolkart said:
    January 12, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Lots of tourists get trapped. I have walked part of that walk and turned back with kids, after half and hour. After reading your account, I am so glad we did. It is amazing how quickly the weather could change there. Sun, cloudless skies when you start, and an hour later, sleet and snow, and the mercury plummets. It is a pretty special place, mind you. Well done, for persevering.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      It really is a wonderful part of the world 🙂
      But yes, weather can change quickly but we were fortunate it didn’t for us! It was all after the fact, while flipping through the map that we realised how unprepared we were!
      Just relieved that it turned out okay and we can look back and have a family tale to tell 🙂
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Jodie kanaan said:
    January 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Hilarious! When you look back I’m sure you see the funny side but at the time……….

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Absolutely! We laugh hard afterwards but as we walked, it was not funny at all. Thanks for visiting out blog 🙂

    andyarticles said:
    January 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Love your tale of determination but it sounds like you were lucky to all make it alive. …!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Let’s just say if we didn’t have children, a pram and injured adults with us – it probably would’ve been fine! Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂

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