Today is the deadline for my third Destiny Romance book. It’s meant lots of early morning starts and late night edits. But it’s done. The final spell check has been run. All the edits have been made. The End has been typed. And the story is now in the ether on its way to my editor. To say my mood is one of elation is a massive understatement.
But I’m also feeling emotionally wrung dry. My characters have stolen all my creative energy. It’s time to nourish the muse, recondition the spirit, fill the well. So I’m going to give myself a few days off. Ah bliss.
Whenever I have time off, I love to travel. I gave the muse a massive feast recently by hiking the Tasmanian Overland Track. It is a place of extraordinary beauty and a wonderful way to escape the everyday.
Now I love hiking, but camping and I go together like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Collins. The Mr Darcy of this tale takes the form of Cradle Mountain Huts Walk. The company has been running guided walks for over twenty-years and of course, they have huts. Huts mean hot meals, hot showers, warm cabins and chilled wine. All this delivered by young, fit guides who take care of everything. Food tastes oh, so much better when you’ve walked at least twelve kilometers and someone else has cooked.
There is some work involved in this hike. I had to carry my own clothes and personal items. My pack weighed about seven kilos which was very manageable. If you wanted clean clothes you washed them in the shower each night for which you pumped your own water.
Each day was a delightful routine of waking to the sounds of the bush, which are very different to those of my northern-NSW bush. I’m used to waking to a chorus of birds singing their hearts out at the crack of dawn. On the Overland Track there were very few birds, which seemed unnatural. A hot breakfast was on the table by the time I’d made it down the stairs from my twin-share room. A lovely array of food was laid out for me to choose from to pack for lunch. Then packs on for the all-day walk usually between seven and twelve kilometers. Upon arrival at the hut in the afternoon, one of the guides (we had two for the ten of us) had cooked fresh scones or some other tasty treats which were washed down with freshly brewed coffee or tea.
There were so many highlights, but for me the best experience was climbing Tasmania’s highest peek, Mt Ossa. It stands at 1,617 metres in the middle of the national park. Making it to the top does involve a lot of scrambling over huge boulders. The view is worth it even if you are little intimidated by the climb (could all those boulders slide further down the mountain as I’m trying to climb up?!?!?). This three-hour detour from the main track is not to be missed. You can see a quarter of Tasmania from the top and not one man-made thing (well there is an old disused mining road to be east, but we ignored that).
Our guides were lovely, knowledgeable and fit. They were passionate about conservation and taught us lots of interesting ecological facts. We visited a myriad of beautiful waterfalls; a disused mine shaft featuring one lonely spider and lots of cave crickets (ugly little critters); held Fairy’s Aprons, sweet little purple flowers; splashed in freezing rivers and lakes and learned about the wonderful array of native fauna and flora. Around every bend was another incredible vista.
Of course I, being a total snake-a-phobe, was the only one to see a snake up way too close. I nearly stepped on it when I rounded the corner of our first hut at Barn Bluff. Our guide told me how lucky I was. I just met Tigger, the highly toxic local Tiger snake.
By the end of the trip my creative cup runneth over. I now have a wonderful new setting for my next book.
Is there somewhere you love to go to recharge? Or somewhere you’re dreaming about visiting? I’d love to hear.