Our Hiking Blog friend, Matthias, has an interesting tale of a young German walker who came across him recently on a walk from Lake St Clair, Pine Valley, Never Never, Walls of Jerusalem, Lake Ball to Dixon’s Kingdom.
Matthias was alone at the camp near Dixon’s hut, but just as the weather set in and visibility reduced to 50m, in strolled a young German backpacker.
Experienced walkers can tell hair raising tales of young travellers poorly prepared for the unpredictable weather encountered in Tassie’s highlands, but Matthias says this young fellow was extremely poorly prepared, with only street clothes and cross runners, a plastic poncho and three plastic bags of supermarket food.
With no hiking boots, proper raincoat, gaiters, GPS, PLB or compass, this enthusiastic young man was planning to walk the opposite of Matthias’ walk – to the Walls of Jerusalem, Dixon’s Kingdom, Lake Ball, Junction Lake, Never Never and then the OT.
While the two of them sat in the hut cooking lunch and discussing the route, the German walker pulled out his ‘map’ – an A4 printout of a GPS plot. Matthias thought the picture looked familiar. The young bloke said he had Googled the route and found the plot on a blog.
His ‘map’ was the GPS plot from an Our Hiking Blog post on Hiking from the Walls of Jerusalem to the Overland Track.
Matthias couldn’t believe that this young man, without any walking experience, was attempting to navigate the walk on a printout – without a proper map, the right clothing, GPS, PLB, compass – and not even aware that snakes in Tasmania are poisonous.
Matthias unsuccessfully tried to discourage him from walking on, as he had seen two tiger snakes the day before, so all he could do was give him his Overland Track map and watch him walk off through the mist in the direction of Lake Ball.
Matthias says he is currently questioning the way he blogs about remote walks. He knows the community of hikers appreciate blogs, but also sees a negative side if they encourage people with no knowledge of Tassie’s dangerous weather conditions to venture out into the wilderness with the attitude ‘if they can do it, I can do it too’.
What do you think?
- how much detail should we share here
- should I take the ‘map’ down off the site
- do we have a responsibility for the safety / decisions of others here at Our Hiking Blog
- do you have any hair raising tales of under prepared hikers you have met
Further reading: The current issue of Wild magazine (121) tells the story of young Jamie Neal, the young Englishman lost for 12 days in freezing weather in rugged bush terrain in the Blue Mountains last year. ‘Surviving Solitary’ is an interesting read about Jamie, and about the 3 experienced bushwalkers who later tried to replicate his horror ordeal.
You can visit Matthias’s site, Matt Down Under by clicking here. He has some excellent information about bushwalking in Tasmania and takes a mean photograph (they are all his work in this article).