A couple of months after my New Years Eve surgery when it looked like I was recovering well, Robin suggested that she and I walk the Overland Track in Tasmania. Naturally I was thrilled by the idea and since the walk did not appear too difficult once you got past the first day's climb, I agreed to go with her. After submitting a doctor's certificate, she and I signed up for the walk which happened to be the first walk of the season over this popular track.
Father and daughter ready to set off. The green backpack has served Robin very well since school days.
We took the ferry and train to Sydney Airport and subsequently took an uneventful flight to Launceston.
It's a small airport but can accommodate a 737 or A320 like this one. However you have to use old fashioned staircases to descend from the front / back of the plane.
We stayed at a very comfortable Airbnb where the host was very friendly. She recommended a restaurant around the corner called Three Steps on George. The downstairs was full so we went upstairs.
I had the Tasmanian Salmon which was some of the best I have ever had. Absolutely delicious.
We were supposed to be at the Sebel Hotel at 6:40 the next morning so we got up early and walked through the deserted streets of Launceston. We had driven through Launceston over a decade ago and I remember being not too impressed with the city but this time at walking pace, it began to look much nicer.
The Sebel Hotel. We went inside to the lounge and met our fellow walkers. After a few minutes, the Tour Company bus turned up, we loaded in our gear and away we went.
It was rainy and the windows steamed up so it was difficult to see out.
The bus stopped at the Tasmania Walking Company headquarters a few miles west of Launceston.
They gave us a bite to eat and our two guides introduced themselves who made sure we all had the gear we needed for the walk. We used the benches to load our backpacks which the company provided along with a heavy duty Gore-tex jacket.
The company uses an old building on the Quamby Estate which is an old manor house. This is just one of the out buildings.
Modern conference center. The Estate also features a nine hole golf course.
More of the Estate.
Back onto the bus. The weather did not look promising at all. We all introduced ourselves and when we were asked to name our favourite food, I described how Marianne makes souffles for my birthday dinner each year. For those on the bus, here is the method.
Hint 1: Earlier in the day, butter and sugar three souffle dishes and put them in the fridge.
You can also melt the 3/4 cup of marmalade or jam and add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.
Hint 2: Let eggs come to room temperature before starting souffles.
Hint 3: Put a cookie tray in the oven when you preheat it to 350 F.
Beat 3 egg whites and 1/8th teaspoon salt until soft peaks form.Sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons Sugar. Beat until whites stand in stiff peaks. Gently fold into marmalade mixture with a rubber spatula.
Hint 4: You don't need to mix in every bit of egg white evenly or they may deflate.
Spoon into the 3 souffle dishes.
Bake about 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Hint 5: Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.
Hint 6: This is supposed to serve 6 but our dishes are big and the three of us eat it all. Adjust the recipe for however many people you have. You need an egg white per person.
The bus stopped at Sheffield for a bathroom break.
Sheffield is famous for the murals painted on walls around the town.
The main crossroads in town.
Back onto the bus. There had been a lot of rain in the past few weeks so the rivers and creeks were full or flooding.
Waterfalls were raging torrents.
We arrived at the parking lot where the trail started. At least the snow didn't look too bad.
Unloading our gear at Cradle Mountain.
We got our gear adjusted at the Waldheim Hut. Waldheim was a early promoter of the Cradle Mountain national park.
Inside the building.
And so we were ready to start walking.