Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
May 2019
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A niece’s first overnight hike

The summer holidays seemed like a good time to introduce my 14-year-old niece, B, to overnight hiking. There’s an ideal spot down on the Tasman Peninsula which we sometimes use with Scouts: great scenery, mostly level track with enough hilly bits to help you learn to cope with them, not too long, and with fresh water at the camping site. Thus it was that the invitation was issued and we set off from Fortescue Bay to head around the coastline to Bivouac Bay.

After walking the length of the beach and around a headland — with B starting to learn what it means to carry a loaded backpack — we dropped into Canoe Bay where we stopped for lunch. Here we had great views of Cape Hauy and the impressive dolerite rock stacks and cliffs that make it so famous.

After we’d had lunch we explored the shore, and I made a little rock cairn. I’ve seen photos of other people’s precariously balanced stone structures, and decided to try for one that was a little top-heavy without being too ambitious.

Having had a good break, we then made our way around the sheltered bay, watching the vegetation change as we passed through the damper shady forest and into the more open, dry forest as we headed up and over the final hill, stopping for a rest or two along the way.

Around mid-afternoon — and after encountering three one-metre-long snakes along the way (as eager to get out of our way as we were to avoid them) — we arrived at Bivouac Bay, with its sheltered campsite (which I failed to photograph) and its narrow rocky bay. Some recent marine and/or weather circumstances meant that a whole bunch of big platter-sized jelly-mould jellyfish had washed up on the rocks, which was rather interesting.

It was nice to cool our feet, and watch a small flock of seagulls come in close to us for a bathing frenzy, dipping their whole bodies from side to side in an enthusiastic quest for cleanliness.

After exploring the beach, we returned to the campsite just back from the shore to set up the tent, only to find that a pair of cunning crows (well, ravens, technically, I believe) had opened the zip at the top of B’s pack, and broken into some of her supplies. Fortunately we arrived before too much damage was done, and nothing was lost. I’ve experienced thieving possums and birdlife before in other places, but hadn’t realised there were criminal animals (crinimal aminals?) at this particular location. [Actually, that’s not entirely true. Over 30 years ago, on a trip with a long-time friend, some possums stole a wooden spoon that we’d left out. We never did find it.]

Before dinner we left our gear (safely hidden from cunning crows), and headed further along the track and up onto the cliffs near Dolomieu Point.

The views to the north were fantastic in the afternoon summer sun, showing the 100m high cliffs, and we also had good views south to Cape Hauy.

We found the cache which had been one of my reasons for wanting to head up there (the scenery was, of course, the main reason), and then returned to camp for dinner, some more exploring, and some games of Yahtzee before bed.

The next day we walked out, finishing the journey with a swim in the clear water at Fortescue Bay (the jellyfish of yesterday had disappeared overnight). Unfortunately, I failed to take any photos of any of day 2, but the good news is that B had a good time, as did I, and she now knows she can carry a pack on a hike, and may have picked up a few other Aunty Helen bushwalking tricks.

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