Tasmania Week 4 of our Virtual Trek
Saturday, February 15, 2014
When the clouds are low over the central highlands in the wilderness of Tasmania there is a dreamlike quality in the air. One can more easily imagine the ancient people traveling through the mists from place to place as they climbed the rocky trails on walkabout. Did they travel silently listening to the sounds of the birds and other animals? Did they walk in small groups with a purpose, perhaps hunting for food by foraging or taking down game with their spears or other tools, maybe a boomerang or a sling? Did fathers take their sons only or did daughters go along? Did they pass through through the mountains as family groups with mothers carrying their nursing babies, holding the hand of another young child as they walked quietly along the track?
They left us some clues in their middens so we might have a glimpse of their life. They have an oral history so we can ask some of the old ones what they remember being told about the ancient ones when they were children. They left their handprints on the walls of caves so we could see where they lived and how they hunted. They drew us pictures so we could see.
This week we again saw many beautiful waterfalls, some tall and narrow and some cascading down and falling over so many different levels of rocks. In my mind's eye I saw the children of the old ones playing in the water, jumping from the rocks into the pools below,and swimming, splashing in the sun or standing in the falling water with grins on their faces. The older children were fishing, anxious to bring a big fish to their mamas for the next meal. What is it about the wilderness that makes one curious about who might have walked this land before and how long ago? Did they live well being one with the land or did they suffer from hunger or illness or meet an early death from vicious animals or from one another?
On this virtual trek I carry a backpack with a water bottle in it and snack food, a journal and pens and pencils. I have extra socks, a rain jacket and a map. I'm wearing sturdy boots , a hat, and I have a bandana wrapped around my wrist. I have insect repellent and sunblock, and bandaids just to be prepared for any event. How did the ancient ones find their way, raise their children and live with the land? The romance of ancient Australia has me forever in its grip.