Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

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Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby sprucee » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 12:39 pm

Hi, I have just stumbled on your site and am hoping someone might be able to offer me some advise.

I have a couple of snow dogs (Malamutes) and have been hoping to do a winter hike with them in some snow bound country. Form some very preliminary study it looks like hiking in the lake Mackenzie area during Winter could be ideal for my aim - relatively flat terrain, good chance of decent snow cover and accessible with dogs.

I have done some camping and hiking in cold weather climates, but this would definitely be a step out from my previous experience, so I am looking for something I can spend a few days doing, but wish to keep it as safe as possible. My initial thoughts were to take a loop down towards Lake Nameless and then swing west past some of the other lakes towards the ridge and then make my way back to lake mackenzie. But as I said - I have little knowledge of the area or the dangers involved. Any advise or thoughts would be appreciated. Also as to how long this might take in Winter. I would like to plan on a trip of around 4-5 days, and give myself plenty of extra time if required.

Thanks
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 1:49 pm

G'day sprucee... welcome to the forums.

I know there are a few members here with much better experience of this area than I have, so I'm sure they'll chime in over the next few days to give more complete advice. But I'll get the ball rolling from the little I do know, and from rounding up some of the information already here on the forums...

Firstly, have a look at this topic about the Blue Peaks walk (starting from Lake McKenzie, walking almost due south). It is close to Lake Nameless with similar terrain. Have a look in that topic for the post titled, "Easy but exposed", and read the next few posts. It explains how there are often no distinct landmarks in the area, and how the tracks are often not easy to follow, and once you get off the track, it can be hard to find again. Add snow to this equation, and you're going to want to be fairly sure of what you're doing to get around up there. Ie, there is a significant element of danger involved in what you're proposing, if you don't have enough experience, equipment, etc.

Having said that, I've found my way to Lake Nameless when there was a little bit of snow around (via Higgs Track, not from Lake McKenzie). It was getting harder to follow the track the closer I got to Lake Nameless, and the deeper the snow got, but I'd done most of it before when there was no snow, so I had a fairly good idea of where I was going.

If you know the area well, and/or are good with a map and GPS, you could do well, but if you're not experienced or don't know the area well, I'd be very cautious about doing this in winter and perhaps try something more straightforward. I'd recommend that you go up there in summer first to get to know the area better. Having said that, the area is mostly flatish, so the walking itself is not hard. Note that if you do not have a GPS, and want to rely on a compass, be aware that the rock up there has a very high iron content which has a tendancy to screw with your compass.

Oh yeah... you need to cross the Fisher River at the beginning if coming from Lake McKenzie, and this may be impossible after rain or snowmelt (much of the winter). Also, if the Lake McKenzie water level is up, there may be some difficult scrub bashing to even get to the Fisher River in the first place.

You can see some more information on this walk where I've been asking for help myself at this topic.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby Joe » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 2:15 pm

Have taken dog up to lady lake area a few times now. She loves it up there. Been in as far as lucy long and weston with her in winter. Neither times had snow though. She was with me the day we went in via mackenzie but there was a lot of places i had to carry her or lift her up. I imagine this might be just a tad harder with 2 malamutes :lol: . The track in from Mackenzie is a biotch when water level is up and snow is about. A LOT of scrub bashing required just to get to the fisher river ford. If it was me I would take the slightly more steep (only the first hour) Higgs track. 2 Malamutes should drag you up the steep bit pretty well anyway I would think. From Lady Lake area you have the whole region at your disposal, higgs track is one option...but the terrain is open and easily navigatable up here, so you are not restricted to higgs. The other benifit of lady lake is you can get into nameless within an easy days walk and stay at the ironstone hut...or just muck about around between lady and lucy long and be back at Lady Lake hut for the night.

My Terrier loves to chase things, never EVER kills anything...she once cornered a wallaby. There was a standoff for around 10 seconds before she walked up and nudged it with her nose to make it run again. For this reason I let her off lead. I really don't want the areas I walk in to be strewn with wallaby carcass' from careless dog owners. There is heaps of wildlife up on the tiers, wallabies and pademellons abound during daylight and night. If your dogs are likely to chase and kill, then best keep them on leads. Also if they are likely to chase and keep chasing best keep em on leads. I know my girl will come back...but sometimes its taken an hour or more. Its a big bit of country to lose a dog in.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby walkinTas » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 4:02 pm

You might like to read the Parks and Wildlife advice on dogs in Parks and Reserves. And then take a look at the complete list of Parks and Reserves.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby tastrekker » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 4:18 pm

Congratulations on finding this forum and for taking an interest in Tassie's high country. The way people from interstate carry on about Tassie's winter, you would think half of Tassie is snow bound for much of the year. Unfortunately this is not the case. Virtually all the potentially snow-bound country is wrapped up in the World Heritage Area or the Ben Lomond National Park. Victoria and NSW have much more snow-bound country than Tassie as their 'hills' (e.g. that mound called Kosciuszko) are quite a bit higher.

You may want to consider the policy regarding dogs in national parks and conservation areas: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/dogs/ Virtually the whole plateau to the north and west of Great Lake is World Heritage Area managed by the Parks & Wildlife Service.

The eastern and southern parts of the plateau are a mixture of crown and private land where such a trip could be possible but these areas are much less likely to hold snow for any length of time.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby sprucee » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 5:07 pm

Thanks all for your posts.

Firstly I probably have stated up front that I certainly fall into the responsible dog owner group. Mine are never off lead. I find it frustrating how limited you are as a dog owner where you can access, but do accept that plenty of folks don't do the right thing so restrictions are there for a reason. The reason I targeted this area was that I thought the area south and east of Lake Mackenzie was not any form of restricted area.
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/manage/parksres/reserves.html this map is not entirely clear to me, but it seems that its all good - any comments??
NSW and VIC have very very limited areas with snow and legal dog access. (that I can tell anyway)


That said I was quite hoping to experience significant snow cover (potentially to hook the dogs to a gear sled)- is this not likely in the area?

And finally if there is reasonable snow in winter - I am a rank novice... I would anticipate needing to be pretty vigilant in regards to safety (clothing, snow gear, snow shoes,tent, EPERBS etc etc etc). I guess my thoughts would be to navigate primarily by GPS - I was thinking that as long as I was substantially provisioned and did a lot of prep before it I would be pretty safe. Seems that there is a bit of danger I am not really considering (from the tone of the posts) - can you give me some idea of what I might be up against at that time of year??
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby Joe » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 5:35 pm

Maps, website and every other whatnot that i have consulted have shows the WHA as starting around lake nameless back. I have always taken dog into the area in front of this and will continue to do so. That map confirms my belief. You are all good in that area imho.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 22 Jan, 2008 7:03 pm

The area is not reliably covered in enough snow to do sledging in winter, I wouldn't think (I've never used a sledge for anything so wouldn't really know). There's no doubt that it would get that much snow several times most winters, but it would not hold that much snow for long. You'd need to be ready to jump as soon as there was enough snow, and also be prepared that some winters that just ain't that much at all.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby tastrekker » Wed 23 Jan, 2008 9:44 am

I have good news - but there's a catch.

The pink line on the map below is the world heritage area boundary which takes in the entire area we are talking about. It is not a National Park but as a Conservation Area and Protected Area, it is managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service. I spoke to the Mole Creek ranger who looks after this area and clarified the situation in relation to dogs.

You can get a permit to take 'companion dogs' into the area by completing a form which is available from the Mole Creek Caves office or by contacting Kelly Skipper on 6363 5182. There are a string of requirements which don't look too dodgy:
* Name & Address
* Dog's breed, colour & name
* Dog must be under 'effective control' - If you have a good dog, I guess this does not necessarily involve a leash
* Dog can't be used for hunting
* Must carry permit (sounds like the parks pass discussion in another topic!)
* Dog must wear collar tag provided by Parks
* Dog must not interfere with wildlife
From the sound of the discussion so far, I think these things would be easy to comply with.

The 'companion dog' system is setup to allow Parks to control the situation while also being able to preserve some of the European culture and history associated with the area. A similar system also exists to allow a small number of horses into certain parts of the WHA to preserve some of the mountain cattlemen's activities.

Back to the snow issue, Son of a Beach is spot on. I've had some fantastic snow trips to this area and on the odd occasion groups get stuck as a result. A few years back, the NWWC and a bunch of college students were stuck in the Walls waiting for for several days after 2 metres of snow fell one November long weekend. I've also been there in the deep mid winter and it has been completely free of snow.

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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby sprucee » Thu 31 Jan, 2008 7:55 pm

Thanks all for your helpful posts - sounds like it is not quite what I was hoping for. Independent of snow it looks like an awesome place to hike, but I will keep looking.

Thanks again!
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby corvus » Thu 31 Jan, 2008 8:30 pm

Gday sprucee,
You have recieved good advice from this site but somehowe (unlessI have missed the warning) the area you propose walking in is not for a novice!! as Summer and Winter it is exposed to exreme conditions so please ensure you know what you are doing ( your Dogs are City Bred I believe, and may not cope ,may need snow boots) and you cannot always rely on your magnetic compass in this area .
Dont want to put you off but "novice" is a worry to me thus my post.
Never the less when you are informred welcome and enjoy our dog companion bush walking areas.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby sirius Tas » Sat 18 Oct, 2008 12:24 pm

Many thanks tastrekker for the above info. While I've taken sirius to Lady Lake on an informal basis...I'll now follow the correct protocol...which looks easy enough. Big thank you once again...Cheers.
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Re: Winter Hike with Dogs - Lake Mackenzie Area

Postby sirius Tas » Sun 07 Dec, 2008 9:40 am

Thanks to tastrekkers' above info...I've just received my companion dog permit for the CPCA. This permit is free and issued on a yearly basis. To obtain requires just a simple phone call(63635133.....Linda Overend) with basic info on your canine companion and Parks will promptly mail out the tag with permit and separate map. I wont post an additional map...but it does only cover the Central Plateau Conservation Area(which is still a massive area)...so obviously excludes all NP's.
I would urge all dog owners intending to take their dogs into the CPCA to please obtain a permit as unregulated access may have this permit system revoked.
Parks would also like any info that can be provided as to wild dog sightings either in the CPCA or any NP's. Apparently some wild dogs have approached walkers so please be aware. These dogs need to be contained ASAP as they're doing untold amounts of damage to the wildlife...so any info to Parks would be much appreciated. Cheers.
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