Tag Archives: smoke

Lake Repulse Dam to Catagunya Dam – posting 9 of 13

The signs of a past bushfire were clear on one long hill.  Possibly a year ago.  A little green regrowth in evidence.

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Nevertheless seeing the blackened trees was a timely alert and made me wonder how I would cope if a bush fire came my way.  I have been informed the safest place is to find/create a hollow in the ground at the bottom of a hill, dig in and cover yourself as well as you can (remembering that most bushwalking gear and clothes is synthetic and will melt), hope the fire will flash over you quickly and that no trees or burning branches will fall on you, wait until the rush has passed, and then hope you can see somewhere to go.  I don’t ever want to put that to the test.

On the evening of this walk, I dropped off to sleep around 7.30pm (early to bed early to rise!) in my trusty little synthetic tent on the only flat place I could find during almost the entire walk.

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A little after 9 pm I woke to the smell of smoke.  Hmmmm.  I clambered out of the tent to have a look; 360 degrees of hills were softened with smoke haze.  No wind.  I couldn’t guess the direction from where the fire smoke might be coming.  When I considered collapsing my tent, repacking my backpack and continuing onto the Catagunya complex, I realised it was possible the fire was flaring between me and that destination. I listened for the sound of helicopters doing water drops.  Heard nothing.

A couple of hundred metres below me was the dam with its thick brown water (photo below taken when setting up before the smoke haze arrived) which I felt was the safest place I would find close by. Thought I was safest staying put.

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So I climbed back into my hot sleeping bag (the evening temperature didn’t cool as forecast), and went to sleep.

In the morning, I took the following photos. They show the smoky cattle-crossed hills surrounding me – and indicate the smoky air I was breathing.

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I packed up and walked passed another smaller dam, before travelling around, down and up hills once more. The smoky haze persisted. Didn’t seem worse.  I continued.

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When I saw Catagunya Dam in the distance with the haze behind, I knew the seat of the fire was elsewhere.

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Later, I learnt the fire was over 70kms away in the south west of Tasmania.  Strong winds were responsible for creating the haze and even Hobart way east was blanketed similarly by smoke from the same fire.

Lake Repulse Dam to Catagunya Dam – posting 1 of 13

This walk offered steep hills, challenging fences to navigate, endless webs across my path with an orange striped spider waiting to catch insects (or me), no access to fresh water, and worrying hazy smoke spreading from bushfires elsewhere in Tasmania.

The start of my walk began above the steep forested edges of Lake Repulse Dam (photo below courtesy of Chantale).

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Inland, past the Dam on the eastern/northern side, the landscape is a mix of forest and land cleared for cattle.  The photo below was taken by Michelle. I walked on the right hand side of the water. Note the thick forest along the water edge.  Note the steepness of those banks.

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The photo below, which looks back in a south easterly direction to Lake Repulse Dam, was taken later last year when the grass was green rather than dried and spiky as it was during summer when I walked.

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The cleared areas are deceptive. They look easy to walk. Despite holding only a grassy coverage, the ground of these cleared areas was irregular and uneven, and it was always inclined up or down – all of which made walking slow.

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My walk crossed cleared lands and passed through forests.  Wherever I went, either I was climbing up or down 200 metres of hillside. Even the lower undulating hills plucked at my leg muscles. For me “hills ain’t no fun”. Eventually I reached the large Catagunya complex of Power Station, Dam and Lake.  Photos below were taken by Michelle and by Chantale respectively.

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