XC skiing Central Plateau Mersey Crag 2015 Sep

A day of XC-skiing, on which I tried to reach Mersey Crag, but failed as my shoes fell to bits after 2kms.

Unnamed lake (on my map, anyway) about 2kms from the start 

Turrana Bluff and Mersey Crag from one of our many vantage points

I am so in love with yesterday, and with the opportunities that living in Tasmania provide. While the rest of the normal world went to work, a group of us who are free on Wednesdays, either by default or design (unemployed, partially unemployed, deliberately semiretired or fully retired – some of them early to enable a better lifestyle) went off into the wilderness and had a glorious day skiing or walking in the snow.

Turrana and Mersey again

My gear had had a long rest in my attic. While I was a representative athlete, I was unwilling to ski in the winter, which was my European racing season, just in case I got injured, so the gear just sat. Yesterday I got it out and carted it to the top of the central plateau (about 400 ms vertical climb – not a big deal) and began skiing for the first time in a very, very long time. I felt a bit nervous, but just as I was getting the hang of it again, my shoe fell apart – literally fell to bits. I had to walk in a shoe and a (luckily, woollen) sock back to where we had mounted the plateau and exchanged ski gear for the walking gear I’d worn to get to that point. While the others skied off to the glorious blue and white yonder, I was “stuck” in the snow for a day.

Well, as you know, I adore photography, and had already been lamenting the fact that I was skiing past scenes that I had wanted to represent in my own creative medium. Now I could fill my heart’s desire and snap away at all that beauty. I also had a fantastic workout, as when I was finished snapping, I walked a nice long way, nearly as far as Mersey Crag, some of which was with a “new girl”, Catherine, whose borrowed gear didn’t suit her. She abandoned it and came walking with me. Being up there in those vast domains, surrounded by a world of blue and white was a refreshing, rejuvenating experience. I can’t wait to go back. With fewer setbacks (clearing the road of fallen timber, broken gear and more) I am sure we can get to the top of Mersey Crag and back in a day using that route.

Weather closing in a bit as we all head back to the start
Is this not heaven on earth?
To get to the start, drive past Lake Rowallan, taking the Dublin Rd to the left (as for Rinadena Falls or Turrana Bluff), and then take the second road to the right, Clumner Spur road 2. Follow it for 4.3 kms until the drivable end of the road where there are tapes leading up to the plateau using the Henry Shannon track, named after the conceiver and maker of this route to the top, who skied with us yesterday. If you only have a 2WD, you have maybe 700ms extra to walk, maybe less. I didn’t measure, but I am going up next time in my 2WD as my 4 is out of action at present, and I don’t see this as a great hardship. Just stop before the muddy puddle.

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