A journey through Tasmania. Hiking the Overland Track.
6 days one-way - 65km - Grade 4
I have been hiking from a young age, exploring the French Pyrénées and Alps with my parents. At that time, I used to complain at each of my steps and was miles away to think that hiking, cycling and travelling would become my life.
I believe nature allows us to find inner balance, reflect going back to basics, reconnect with ourselves and others. As studies show, bringing nature and meaningful human connexions into our daily lives is important for our mental and physical wellbeing. Remember we are nature.
Don’t stop reading here! I just got started. When you click on the document above, "Journey through the Overland Track", through storytelling, I wish to transport you into one of my best travel memories, inspiring you to always go out of your comfort zone. I often read or watch documentaries retracing amazing stories about expeditions and travel adventures; however they can be extreme and it can be difficult to identify yourself in it. So, through my personal story, I hope I will light up your spirit, get you excited to join my tribe at least once in a lifetime. Along your reading, you will find many tips and tricks really useful for hiking and recreate this adventure at home.
Why the Overland Track ?
The Overland Track is one of the top tourism attractions in Tasmania. “The Overland Track is Australia's premier alpine walk. This exhilarating and life-changing journey attracts walkers from across the globe. Beginning at the iconic Cradle Mountain and ending at Australia’s deepest lake – Lake St Clair, this 65 kilometre, six-day trek takes you through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.” Check their website out
The Overland Track was my first multiday trek over 3 days. Beforehand, as you can read in my biography at the end of the attached document, I experimented solo multi-days hikes but never of that length and not accompanied by anyone. (Also, read my article about why I practice solo hiking on my website experiencegimat.com).
Two men (who I am going to call Lucas and Théo) agreed in joining me in this adventure. Lucas is a hiker however he never self-managed a multiday-hike. Théo has never done any multi-days hikes before but is used to long days hike.
The main challenges around this track were to manage food, water, carry 15kg on my back for 6 straight days. The idea didn’t stop there, I wished to analyse how immersing into a remote area, hiking and conscioulsy disconnect with new technologies for a week, would influence my mental health, sleep, mood and social interactions.
Also, regarding the fame of this track, the local authorities had to adapt, finding ways to regulating the fluxes of people with the purpose of reducing the impacts on the environment while giving the best experience to its visitors. As one of my specialities and research is related in managing and reducing the fluxes of people in destinations knowing a high frequentation rate. Just like Lake Louise in Canada, this place was part of my top places to get inspiration from. It was an opportunity to analyse how Tasmania organised and developed their offer around this famous track and how they manage the fluxes of people in this National Park.
Process of the experiment
Along the journey, I wrote a diary, took pictures day by day; checking the evolution of my thoughts and emotions getting as much insight from the evolution of my personal state of mind, interacting with nature and other hikers (strangers included) in a remote area.
Today It has been 3 years that I did this experiments so I can also analyse how powerful it is to read notes and look into pictures reviving memories and dreams in times of lockdown. In this text you will be able to retrace my experience. I also give some hiking tips along the way.
Conclusion about this particular hike
The overland Track is an amazing trek! I found It as a quite easy trek if you don’t do the side tracks. It is a real good exercise to manage your food and water, be alert of the signs of your body. The path is really well indicated and safe, if you prepare yourself. It was ideal for our first long trek in remote areas. As shared along this text, this hike is also really accessible for solo hikers and in the end notice that you are never really alone.
It is quite an investment to do it as in high season you pay a minimum of 230$ fee but keep in mind :
- all the hut were clean with high level of maintenance,
- thre track well maintain,
- the team of rangers really friendly and knowledgeable. 17 people are hired every summer in this National Park. The customer service is really well with friendly and welcoming people.
- they have to bring the material by helicopters to maintain the tracks.
- the showers at the end were free.
- only 60 people can go on the track in high season to protect this world heritage and we can really see why when we are on the tracks.
All of this is designed to give the best experience for everyone while reducing the impacts on the ecosytem so the next generation can also enjoy them.
Take away from this experiment
After reflecting on this experiment, I can share that :
- Preparation is the main key to safety.
- If you hike with others, communication and compromises are really important. Remaining calm, support and respect each other’s needs is important.
- Listen to the body. Don’t over-do it. Be aware of your own limits.
- Beneficial digital detox. Not having access to technologies has been an incredible experience. It had a real positive impact on my sleep, my moods and my awareness.
- Managing my food has been revealing regarding its impacts over my physical condition.
- The immersion activated all of the senses that helped to focus and challenge myself in the present.
- The connection with nature is calming, regenerative.
- The social aspect is really interesting. We bonded really well with other hikers and in the end no one was ever alone. We always wondered at the next hut where the others were.
- We also bonded really well the three of us as a team, even if we had different levels and vision regarding this experience.
- Three years later, the tools I gathers on the way are useful to recall vividely this experience, just I was there. I can recreate the emotions and environment in times of lockdown, getting excited about it.