What is it that is so very alluring about having to kayak to the base of a mountain? I guess it makes the mountain that bit more inaccessible, more mysterious. There is more of a challenge, and therefore more enjoyment, as we have put more effort into the excursion. I am told that a veiled woman is more desirable than one who is stark naked, displaying all there is in a single hit. In that sense, a mountain that hides a part of itself behind a body of water adds to its own mystique and desirability.
Our brains do actually enjoy a little exercise (filling in the dots, as it were). Perhaps someone could tell that to the authorities who constantly try to dumb down our beautiful “wilderness”. Sure, tourists need some sacrificial pawns, but please, please leave the rest of us a little actual wilderness to explore and experience wildness and freedom.
I had received an invitation to kayak to the base of Mt Selina, on Tassie’s west coast, somewhat near Tullah. For me, that is a long drive, and necessitated putting my dog in a kennel, so I decided to turn the snack into a feast, and stay two nights in Tullah surrounding the expedition. I was hoping to luck in on an aurora, photograph the Milky Way, capture a couple of beautiful sunrises and climb a few extra peaks. I might even see some nice fungi.
Full of anticipation, I arrived in location somewhat after 4pm, and sussed out my eventual sleeping spot before I did anything else. There was still an hour before legitimate dinner time, so I did a quick trip up Mt Farrell to catch a good view, but, alas, the sunset was a fizzer. There were too many clouds. The same fate awaited my astro aspirations later in the evening.
Next morning I had much more luck, to the extent that I nearly ran late for our meeting time … but the others were running even later, so that is not a bad thing. Eventually we met, got the kayaks ready, and were out on the water, the sun still low enough in the sky to provide beautiful lighting for our short paddle. The sight of colourful boats traversing early-morning waters is such a wonderful thing, comprising a fabulous combination of beauty and adventure. I had fun photographing the group as it made its way to our designated landing beach.
The distance to be covered to the first of the Mt Selinas was less than a kilometre, but it was very steep, and there were patches of Bauera, Cutting grass and other obstacles to hold us up. We were not in a hurry. As with the previous evening, I was disappointed in the sparsity of fungi (= none). This was to be more than atoned for in the gully between Selinas 1 and 2.
In case you are wondering about all these Mt Selinas, there are several knobs which have legitimate claim to be “the real one”. One of them is Mt Selina on the 1:25,000 map, while a different one is that which is named on the 1:100,000 version. A third knob needs visiting just in case it is higher. Listmaps is rather funny, as the position of the name “Mt Selina” changes as you zoom in and out, matching the discrepancy named above.
Anyway, it was a gorgeous place to be, so who cares if we had to stay in the area longer, climbing this and that, skirting around this and that sheer cliff, admiring this and that King Billy pine, a humungous old myrtle, or giant rocks clothed in a thick cloak of moss. We invented excuses to linger – morning tea 1, 2 and 3; lunch 1 and 2. And then … and THEN came the fungi!!!!!!!! Based on the lack thereof on Mt Farrell, I didn’t bother to include the macro lens that was in the car, so any images you see have been taken with my wide-angle 27mm lens. Given what it is actually designed for, I think it did a pretty sterling job. I didn’t even have a tripod. I thought I was just mountain climbing in the middle of a too-sunny day. Ha.
Three Mt Selinas climbed, five thousand fungi photographed and we were on our way back down, having run out of excuses to linger. One gps says we took 8 hours to cover less than five kilometres. That will make an interesting entry in my training diary.
Next morning, there was a pleasant if undramatic sunrise, but fun to shoot anyway, and especially enjoyable as I found myself camped next to two other keen photographers (Jamie and Camilla), so we had fun chatting while we shot.
In order to have some exercise before I drove home, I climbed Arnold Peak (760 ms in height) after breakfast. I had been told it would be 30 minutes in each direction, so that would give me my desired hour’s exercise for the day. Unfortunately, it only took 13 up, 17 to photograph and about the same to get down, so I went under-exercised yesterday. Worse things can happen. It was a gorgeous little peak, and that will certainly not be the only time I climb it!