A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do the O

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A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do the O

Postby Snooze » Sat 16 Jun, 2018 9:48 pm

Hi all.

I’m based in Sydney and I’ve started a plan to walk the OT with a companion commencing in early February.

So far the plan is to arrive in CM late morning (coming from Launceston by the Tassielink bus) staying one night at CM in regular accommodation and then commence the walk the next morning, ideally at 8 am, the time at which (I think read here) the first shuttle bus runs. I’ve allowed us eight days on the track to reach Narcissus hut, and we’ll catch the ferry out on day nine.

First thing I pondered. Particularly after reading Merlin’s account (parts of which, unfortunately, I found quite relatable) I’m a bit apprehensive about the supposedly very hard first day walking from Ronnie Creek to Waterfall Valley hut when we’ll also be carrying the maximum weight. (1) Since we will have the time, is there a more gentle (ie bludgey) way to start the OT, by staying in--or camping by--Scott Kilvert hut the first night, and then walking to Waterfall Valley for the second night? (2) In this case, being without a car, would we have trouble getting a lift from CM to the Dove Lake carpark entry point? (3) Would we miss anything very special by taking that route, or is the scenery that way pretty equal to the OT? (4) Would I just be putting off by one day a long ascent which has to be tackled by one track or another in any case? Also I am hoping to avoid any very steep tracks with a loaded pack, up or down.

Second thing I pondered. One reason I want to go in February is to have the advantage of the long summer hours and be able to take our time. I can predict we will arrive at the huts after others and probably all bunks will be taken, but I’m happy to camp anyway. (Possibly, like most others on this site, I’m genuinely happy sleeping in my own little tent.) My question is about the typical routine of those camping when conditions are more crowded. (5) In fine weather, do the camping ones typically do all their food prep, dining and general hanging about in the hut, and then just retire to their tent to sleep? Or, except in rain, do people generally hang in their separate areas?

Third thing I pondered. (6) When the huts are full in the summer season, do you ever have to wait for things like using the toilets or getting water from the tank or to sit at a table to eat a meal?

Fourth thing I pondered. (7) Why is it unsafe to drink the water at Pelion Creek? (8) What is the preferred way for walkers to treat drinking water on the OT?

Fifth thing I pondered. (9) If you were to camp far away from the huts, is it acceptable to poop there provided you bury it decently? (10) OTOH if you plan to always camp at the huts, do you even need to bring a little spade at all?

Sixth thing I pondered. I am hoping to bring mostly dehydrated food, most of which I’ll dehydrate myself (this is will be a new experience). (11) Is 700 grams a day of food a realistic weight estimate?

Thanks to anyone who can answer.

S
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby norts » Sun 17 Jun, 2018 1:05 am

Going via Scott Kilvert means you still have climbs. I would think that SK would make your 1st day shorter. But you still have good climbs(it is Tassie)Yes shuttle does go to Dove. It would then make your second day harder. Climb out of SK is pretty hard and not to the same standard as the rest of the OLT. I would suggest you stick to the OLT if you dont have alot of experience
I prefer to camp. Huts are too noisy. If it is raining/ cold then they are busy. Remember everyone has the same right to use the hut even if camping.
I have never treated water in the Park but do use common sense on where I get it.



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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Warin » Sun 17 Jun, 2018 8:13 am

For myself.. my thoughts are...

To make the first day easier .. don't climb Cradle Mt.

If you want to climb Cradle .. do it before you start the OT, say 2 days before. Spend 3 nights at Cradle and use the bus to get you to/from the track starts on those days. The second day you can do easy walks .. so of a mild rest day. As i know there will be more I want to explore I think 5 days would not be wasted.

Is 700 g enough food? Why not try it out before you leave home .. this includes the self made food .. make a few days worth to try out and eat only that. Are you hungry? Then you'll need more food. If you don't like the taste then now is the time to find out. One, at least one, of these trial days you need to do some walking with your fully loaded pack .. maybe do an over nighter to see how things are.

If you are going to camp away from the huts .. do camp out of sight of the track.

Huts. Not everyone arrives or leaves at the same time. Same for toilets. Meal times can be a time for socialising, so there may be a crowd but it should be friendly.

Each trip is different, there will be different people and different weather. If you are adaptable you'll have an excellent trip.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby MrWalker » Sun 17 Jun, 2018 8:31 am

You could go via Horse Track instead of the standard route. The total climb is similar but is a long steady climb, whereas Marions Lookout has a short steep section, including a very steep bit with chains.
You miss the great view of Dove Lake from Marions Lookout, but instead you get a great view of Crater Lake from Crater Peak.
You also miss most of the tourists.

Going via Scott Kilvert Hut requires climbing Hansons Peak (steepish and with a chain section). Detouring via Hansons Lake to miss the peak is no better, with a steep descent and steep climb up from the lake.
The standard route from Ronny Creek via Marions lookout is generally accepted as the simplest, but the Horse Track has been upgraded over recent years and is in good condition.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby north-north-west » Sun 17 Jun, 2018 9:15 am

What MrWalker said.

The Horse Track and the route over Crater Peak is my favourite way into the area. Perhaps a bit longer but easier walking. And the views, while different, are just as good.

Even if the huts are crowded, there is usually floor space on which to sleep if, for some reason, you don't feel like pitching the tent. In fact, in some huts that's a better option than using the bunks.
Most people tend to use the huts for cooking/eating/stuffing around in. It's all a matter of what you're more comfortable with. If you don't mind sharing the space, use the huts. If you'd rather be alone, stay by the tent. There are metal plates on a lot of the platforms on which to cook, to avoid damaging the main surface.

Waiting for dunnies/tanks etc is inevitable when things are busy, but it's never for long.

Never knew the water at Pelion Creek was considered unsafe. There used to be a campsite above the creek, used mainly by people doing the sidetrip up Pelion West, but that's been closed for rehabilitation for some time now. Anything flowing out of Pelion Gap needs to be treated, as so many stop there to do the sidetrips and find themselves needing a toilet break, and too many of those aren't as careful with their waste as they should be. But, unless you're particularly sensitive to untreated water, the rest of the wild water within the NP is usually safe. Most of those who treat the water on the OT seem to use filters. I've never bothered and never had any trouble.
Most tummy troubles on the OT come from hygiene issues, not from the water. It's very, very easy for contamination to occur when there are so many people there. All it takes is one careless person contaminating a door handle and it spreads from that.

Basic rule is to use dunnies where they exist and, if there isn't one when you need it, bury the waste. You obviously know the rules about distance from water sources and appropriate depth. Carry the trowel anyway - you can never be sure that you'll be within reach of a dunny when you need it.

Food is a personal thing. Some people need more, some manage with less. 700g is near average.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby RonK » Mon 18 Jun, 2018 9:12 am

I'm surprised to learn the the first day is a very hard day. I would concede that it is probably the hardest day, but very hard? For the unfit perhaps, or for the poorly prepared and overloaded.

I've had no trouble reaching Waterfall Valley hut after catching the bus to Cradle Mountain from Launceston via Devonport. It doesn't arrive until just before midday. So don't overthink it, it's not that difficult.

The easiest route, but perhaps a little longer, is via the Horse Track from Ronny Creek. But you miss the view over Dove Lake from Marion's lookout.

Also consider staying overnight at Waldheim Cabins, then just walk out the door in the morning and onto the Horse Track.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Wherever I may roam » Mon 18 Jun, 2018 10:56 am

1. If you are already considering alternate routes right from the start to make it easier then you are already conceding that you will be underprepared. This is concerning considering how much time you have to prepare. I suggest you undertake some training simply by weekend bushwalks around the Sydney area carrying your pack. I suggest the Jerusalem Bay track, it has some sections of climbing that will prepare you for the climb to Marions and provide any opportunity to build your fitness and get use to carrying a heavy pack. You can catch the Train to the start of the Track at Cowan Station and then walk to Hawkesbury River and catch the train back from Hawkesbury River Station. If time permits I suggest having few days off before your trip and do daily walks for some final conditioning. http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-an ... oklyn.html

2. I find that generally once people have finished cooking/eating in the hut they make way for other hikers to use the benches/tables. Common courtesy. If the weather is good I actually enjoy cooking out on the tent platforms – just be aware of possums.

3. There are a limited number of hikers who can walk the O/T so you will not find a long que to use the toilets or to get water. Generally people will vacate the tables/benches in the huts if they have finished eating and they see you are about to start cooking.

4. It is unsafe to drink water at Pelion Creek due to human faeces. Enough said. If you choose to treat the water I suggest Katadyn Micro Pur Forte. They are small tablets weighing next to nothing and have no aftertaste.

5. You should really use the toilets provided where possible. However if out on the track and nature calls you need to bury it at least 15cm deep and away from a water source (note Pelion comment). If you are especially concerned about your impact on the environment then carry a poo tube until the next toilet.

6. 700g per day is plenty provided it is the right type of food. I usually consume 500-600g per day hiking and that is sufficient for me.

Give yourself some time to properly prep and you will enjoy the walk a lot more.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Orion » Wed 20 Jun, 2018 12:38 am

Wherever I may roam wrote:700g per day is plenty provided it is the right type of food.


While it's a fair guess for what a random person might need it's not a good idea to give an unqualified recommendation like that.


Wherever I may roam wrote:I usually consume 500-600g per day hiking and that is sufficient for me.


I would be hungry and miserable on your rations. Even 700g/day would be insufficient for me on the Overland Track.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Wherever I may roam » Wed 20 Jun, 2018 11:34 am

Orion wrote:
Wherever I may roam wrote:700g per day is plenty provided it is the right type of food.


While it's a fair guess for what a random person might need it's not a good idea to give an unqualified recommendation like that.


Wherever I may roam wrote:I usually consume 500-600g per day hiking and that is sufficient for me.


I would be hungry and miserable on your rations. Even 700g/day would be insufficient for me on the Overland Track.


It's not a good idea to claim someone is unqualified when you don't know that they are in fact highly qualified. I think regardless of your rations you are always miserable.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Son of a Beach » Wed 20 Jun, 2018 11:36 am

Wherever I may roam wrote:It's not a good idea to claim someone is unqualified when you don't know that they are in fact highly qualified. I think regardless of your rations you are always miserable.


I don't think he was suggesting that any person was unqualified. I reckon he was saying that the amount recommendation is unqualified, not the person talking about the amount. Totally different thing. :-)

Ie, that the recommendation was provided without reasons for how that figure was produced.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Orion » Wed 20 Jun, 2018 3:51 pm

I meant unqualified in the sense that it was a recommendation without any constraints. It would be like saying you need 25 liters of fuel to drive from Hobart to Dove Lake car park without qualifying it with the type of vehicle you're driving.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Snooze » Wed 20 Jun, 2018 11:11 pm

Thanks to everyone who took the trouble of replying. All information was helpful or reassuring and I feel even more keen to do it now. As I'm planning on carrying 8 days of food, I see I've now got to get busy experimenting with a dehydrator (looking at that Sunbeam dt6000) and the digital scales to determine the weights we actually will carry. (Got the full menu planned in my mind already.) Also have seven months to improve fitness so can really enjoy the walk.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Warin » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 7:33 am

Snooze wrote: Also have seven months to improve fitness so can really enjoy the walk.


7 months .. great.

Join the council library. Borrow the guide books, they may not have them themselves but can get them in 'inter library loan' - can take a while.
Decide which one you like best .. and possibly buy it an take it with you .. or sections of it.

Oh .. the books
The Overland Track : Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair : a complete guide to walking, flora, fauna and history / Warwick Sprawson.

Overland track / John Chapman, Monica Chapman ... or failing that smaller book the larger ...
Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair and Walls of Jerusalem National Parks / John Chapman, Monica Chapman [and] John Siseman.

The first book has more detail on the plants .. so it is heavier.

and of course numerous webpages - Tas P&WS .. trip reports.. etc.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Snooze » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 10:17 pm

Guide books! Good thinking Warin. Already got cards from all the local council libraries so will do. (This site itself also seems to be a bottomless pit of great info.)
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Species 8472 » Tue 26 Jun, 2018 10:53 pm

Firstly you have to register at the visitors centre which opens at 8.30.This is necessary to get your tag and to show them that you are well equipped. So probably the earliest you can start the walk is 9.15
There's really no hurry. It doesn't get really dark until 9 at that time of year.
I've gone up to Cradle on every possible route ( I live 90 minutes away ) and by far the easiest and more importantly the most scenic is from Ronny Ck up to Marions Lookout via Crater Lake. You can take it slowly. You can rest at Crater Falls, Crater Boatshed , Marions LO , Kitchen Hut and spots where 2 branches of the Fury River crosses the track ( the last place you can get water on day 1 and where I've camped a few times with great views of Barns Bluff)
The horse track is gentler but also muddier and the views not as good.
I would advise to treat your water. I have a choice between a Sawyers filter ( 0.1 micron ) and a heavier Steripen. You will save on fuel weight by not boiling water so I recommend either of these.
I have always found enough room to prepare meals in the huts. You can leave your stove etc and food inside and return to your tent if you wish.I usually find room in the huts to sleep in anyway.
I think you can camp in other areas .
Toilet queues are seldom a problem.
You have given yourself so much time to finish this walk. I've done it in 4 days ( not recommended ) but given your timeline and the fact you will be taking the ferry you will be able to go every possible sidetrack if you desire.
February is a great time to walk in Tassie especially after the school holidays. The weather is very stable ( prepare for zero degree nights though) , the days are long and don't forget your sunscreen.
If you decide to climb Cradle and you're worried about then walking to Waterfall valley in time then take my suggestion and camp on Fury river( it's a creek really )
The best spot is on the right next to the 2nd branch just before a forest of dead white trees
Good luck
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Crimmo » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 4:57 pm

I walked the OT with my 14 year old daughter with no hiking experience. While the first day was a decent climb, it was not difficult. You appear to have allowed plenty of time to do the walk at a moderate pace. My only recommendation apart from others previously mentioned- walk around the lake on the last day after staying at Echo Point Hut- don't catch the ferry
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Nuts » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 6:21 pm

There's no need to be camping in the designated 'day-walk' area. If struggling to reach Waterfall Valley with a full first day to walk maybe reconsider the effort ahead. You can always go back to Barn Bluff from WFV or even spend a night at Scott-Kilvert Hut... though , yes, while saving some time will make day 2 'harder'(if you plan on heading to the Windermere hut /camp).

An 'emergency' bio-waste bag can substitute for the trowel :)

Personally I don't mind the ferry ride. Lakeside is nice, especially to access other walks, but finishing the Overland Track on the ferry is fine.

You wont starve with 700g's of food. If that was all dried, well thought out, would be enough for me.. though a few luxuries don't weigh a lot.

Iv'e never used a filter, some do. There's less of an issue with the designated or otherwise undisclosed campsites and what seems to be better water quality.
I'd choose the natural source over water tanks if they are getting low.. and around these public facilities is time to be especially mindful of personal hygiene.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Warin » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 8:26 pm

Nuts wrote:There's no need to be camping in the designated 'day-walk' area. If struggling to reach Waterfall Valley with a full first day to walk maybe reconsider the effort ahead.


+1
Plenty of time to make it to Waterfall Valley. Slow and stead and you should get there. If not then consider you have 4 or more days ahead .. can you really make it and enjoy it?

Nuts wrote:I'd choose the natural source over water tanks if they are getting low.. and around these public facilities is time to be especially mindful of personal hygiene


After using said public facilities is the time to clean your hands.
Get water - then clean hands ... Maybe Sheldon has the right idea .. ware gloves. :)
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Snooze » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 8:58 pm

Species 8472 wrote:Firstly you have to register at the visitors centre which opens at 8.30.This is necessary to get your tag and to show them that you are well equipped. So probably the earliest you can start the walk is 9.15


Hi. Thanks for this really helpful post, Species. Just in connection with start time, I think I saw on the OT NP site that you can pick up your pass after 3 pm the day before. (So then I thought, if we're super organised--miracles could happen--we could hit the trail at first light!)
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Thu 28 Jun, 2018 2:18 am

Yes previously I’ve been able to pickup the pass the day before, and then jump on the 8am bus the following morning.

Unless the policy has changed you should be able to do that - but contact Parks to confirm.
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Re: A bunch of questions from a first timer planning to do t

Postby Warin » Thu 28 Jun, 2018 9:11 am

South_Aussie_Hiker wrote:Yes previously I’ve been able to pickup the pass the day before, and then jump on the 8am bus the following morning.


I have read that you can pick up the pass 'late' in the day for the next day.

Edit .. Arr see you have a time already.
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