Friday Foto: Mt Oakleigh, Tasmania

View over snowy treetops on the slopes of Mount Oakleigh

Last winter, I spent a week in Tasmania’s mountains, hiking the Overland Track. Setting out at almost the exact moment of midwinter, it was a journey to experience Australia’s most popular long-distance walking trail at its least popular time. It was a week in which a whole lot of rainy days bracketed this one perfect day of snow.

In conditions like this, I didn’t want to be in a valley, I wanted to be on a mountain, high among the fun. So at Pelion Hut we downed Overland tools for the day and dashed up Mt Oakleigh, where the forest and summit were frosted in snow. When I took this photo, we’d come to the edge of the treeline on the climb towards the summit. The pandani, with their snow-covered tops looking like natural fibre optic lamps, were among the tallest I’ve ever seen, growing to about 10 metres in height.

Tasmanian winters look no better than this. Despite the rain and the cold, there’s something addictive about this time of year in these mountains. Something about the clarity of the air, the enormity of the views and the absolute solitude. I only hope it looks like this again over the coming few days, when I return for a winter hike through the Walls of Jerusalem. The forecast is for snow, then snow, then a bit of snow. The mountains and the winter have called me back.

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