Day Five – Kia Ora Hut to Windy Ridge Hut – Overland Track – Tasmania

Today was my birthday and I was looking forward to a relaxing stroll to Windy Ridge Hut. We had never stayed at Windy Ridge before as it was usually a lunch stop on the way into Pine Valley.

Following the presentation of our “Frank’s 50″ badges and my, “I’m Frank” we were ready to face the day. Well done Deb, a great treat and certainly a talking point for everyone on the track. Sue and I set off at a “cracking pace” and trailed the others to De Cane Hut and then the Hartnett Falls turn off. For the first time in four trips, I was finally going to make the side trip to the Falls!

Hartnett Falls (above) is a special place. Well worth the side trip. The falls themselves are great but you can only really see them from the top , unless you do a bit of rockclimbing to their base. Because it was my birthday, I had planned a “no over exertion day”, so that option was out. The area above the falls is very pretty, wonderful deep (and cold)pools and beautiful clear water. Small trout could easily be seen feeding in the still water. There is enough space here to pitch a couple of tents, so an overnighter is planned here (one day….)

Back on the track, and approaching Windy Ridge Hut, I was made to feel very special as balloons were attached to the trees and a large banner proclaiming my 50th birthday, to all others who passed, was stretched over the entrance to our camp site. The gungy old Hut was also decorated and looked a real treat. Special thanks to my wonderful wife and friends who carried this extra weight all that way and made a fantastic effort to make my birthday memorable.

Dinner was a shared cookup on our tent platform and I can highly recommend rehydrated chicken curry for a birthday treat. Pancakes topped with runny instant chocolate pudding for desert was a spectacular birthday cake. Some of the many highlights were CANS OF WOODSTOCK BOURBAN, a REALLY FLASH CIGAR and a mug of port from a fellow , until then, unknown hiker! Much laughter, many tall tales and stories from the track were shared as I enjoyed a truely memorable birthday. Thanks to everyone who was there, I luv’s ya all!

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