The Disappearing Tarn is a fickle little tarn that appears on the mountain (Mount Wellington) every so often. After really heavy rains or a big snow melt, the bouldery depression fills up with crystal clear blue waters, and lasts for as long as it lasts. Spoken of as a ‘hidden gem’ or something only the locals know about, I assumed it would be really hard to find, hidden off the track like a lot of the old huts scattered around the mountain. It’s not hidden at all… or hard to find… It’s literally by the side of the Milles track and virtually impossible to miss, even when it is empty. If it was full it would be even harder to miss. I guess the thing is you just need to walk far enough and along the right track, which we did today. You hit it just as you get to the Potato fields after you walk through the wet sclerophyll bit of the Milles track.
We had the discussion on the way back as to whether the track was easy, medium or hard… Buggered if I know. Today bits of the track were hard for me. I am the un-fittest I have been in my life. I don’t know if that means I am actually unfit, or un-fitter than I think I should be. Am I un-fitter than the normal person? What is a normal persons fitness? I freaking hate walking up hills right now, like really really hate it, so up little hills on a rocky bouldery path did irritate me a bit, although there were only a few sections like that, the rest was nice and muddy and slippery. I think we came to the conclusion that it was ‘moderate’, however at the end of the day it all depends on your level of fitness.
It took us a little over two hours to get there, we walked at a reasonable pace in-between all the stopping to look at plants and take photos of stuff. The whole point of going back to the Milles track today was to look for a plant. I found it there the other day and had it identified as an Oxylobium ellipticum from just a couple of shitty photos I got. I knew it would be right, because it was identified by one of Tasmania’s best botanists, but it looked completely different from the O. ellipticum I have in my little home herbarium which I pilfered from a prac class at uni last year. Once I found the plant again we went through its identifying features and of course it was O. ellipticum. I need to pull out my specimen now and study that again and see if that one is labelled wrong or it is just a hugely diverse species….
Anyway, once the identity was confirmed we decided that whilst we were there we may as well keep walking and have a look for this famous tarn. Somehow I managed to not pay attention to the time very well and once we got there and found the tarn realised I hadn’t really left much time to get back to the car and to school to pick the kids up. Oops. For those of you who know me fairly well, will know I am very rarely, if ever, late for something. I am so scared of being late, and I do mean scared, it makes me panic to think I am going to be late…. for anything… it’s a fear that more often than not leads me to be stupidly early for things…. I am improving, with my average earliest now sitting at around 15 minutes. So I messaged the other school mums and sorted out the sorting out of the kids and then we powered off back along the track, up the little hilly bouldery bits which really did my head in, and back to the car. We smashed it and got back in just over an hour. Almost got to school and then the friggin road was closed because of a fire in some factory… So I ended up 45 minutes late to school. Luckily they had cricket so it wasn’t a total disaster.
Anyway, the tarn was empty except for a little puddle… Still, an amazing part of the mountain, and the Richea were flowering too, so it was super rad… I skidded down a rock and smashed the side of knee which is really friggin sore, but I had coffee from my favourite Bentwood Coffee van so that made it ok.
If there are any geologists out there, we want to know if it is technically a real tarn. If I believe correctly, Tarns are formed from glaciers, and neither of us know how glaciated Mount Wellington got over the past few kazillion years. So is it a real tarn or is it just a depression in a boulder field that gets filled up with water, or is that and a tarn the same thing?
Ha, I just realised I never even took a photo of the Oxylobium… the whole reason for the walking….