Tahune Hut/Frenchmans Cap-Gordon River/Lake Rhona
Mileage: 20km + 2km=22km/13.7mi
Campsite Elevation: 1623ft/495m
It was a great night of sleep in what may be our final hut. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to miss the huts! It’s a pretty sweet system they have going out in NZ and AUS with these huts. They’d be destroyed by overuse and vandalism in the US, but somehow it works out here. Plus, I can’t believe how often we got huts to ourselves in these final weeks. Pretty sweet deal when you think about it. They are pretty much free (after paying for a hut pass in NZ and a parks pass in AUS) and people pay tons on vacations to rent out a cabin in the wild. Not a bad deal at all. I still don’t think I’d want to sleep in a shelter on the Appalachian Trail, but after this experience, I’d be more likely to consider it in rain…if I was desperate, ha!
We started The first half of the day was the 12mi/20km hike back out to the car at the parking lot for Frenchmans Cap. Nothing eventful and it was the same hike as yesterday, but it was nice to get morning light up high and get views of fog settled down in the valleys where the lakes were. There was quite the crowd of maybe a dozen others heading up as we were hiking down on this nice Saturday.
We got to the car just before 1pm, and started the drive to our next hike, Lake Rhona. Not far into the drive, we passed the Hungry Wombat again and couldn’t resist burgers and fries for lunch. That’s our third meal at the Hungry Wombat, and may not be the last. We may pass it yet again on the way to another hike, yum!
The drive to the Lake Rhona hike was over 3hrs with the second half on remote gravel roads. All our shorter hikes we want to try to hit seem to be around a 2-3hr drive from one another. Tasmania is pretty great in how nothing is all that far away. We are trying to strategically hit hikes when weather is good, but as we cross ones off the list, we are becoming more limited in choices. The two week long hikes we want to do (Western Arthurs Traverse and South Coast Track) each have some rain in this week’s forecast. It’s rare to do those completely dry, but we want to get a better forecast than this week shows. It’s a tough decision because we don’t want to be too picky and end up with even worse conditions. It’s a risk we’re willing to take, and we are excited about the next one we have lined up, Lake Rhona. When we got to the Lake Rhona trailhead, we hiked in the 1mi to a great wooded camp spot near the Gordon River and set up our tents about 6:30pm. Another great day!
We both feel more in vacation mode and that’s a nice feeling. It’s been nice to have our list of options and to have the car to pick and choose what’s best depending on weather and timing. Without gas, the car has totaled out to $12AUS/$10US per day for each of us. That’s a great deal and totally worth having the flexibility to drive to all these more remote trailheads of trips that are 1-2 nights. Plus, we get to keep a ton of food in the car for our resupply and just add what we need to our food bags each short overnight or two. It’s been great to carry lighter packs with less food. Plus, we got an adapter to be able to charge our phones/electronics while we’re driving. We just hope the weather holds out another three weeks for us before fall sets in here with more rain and colder temps.
More on Lake Rhona tomorrow, but it looks to be a great one. It might be our last long out and back hike, which we are happy about. Many of the ones we’ve done have required hiking in and then back out on the same track. With both of our inclinations to thru-hiking, out and backs can be tough mentally. After Lake Rhona, the rest of the hikes we have planned are mostly loop hikes or point to points, so that will be great. Lake Rhona was recommended quite highly by multiple people I know out here that have done a lot in Tasmania, and helped me make the list of hikes I want to be sure to hit. I’m looking forward to the next couple days of what should be great hiking and scenery. Keep it up Tasmania, I’m liking this!