Saturday, 12 January 2008

Hartz Peak - 12 January 2008

Mt Picton across Hartz Lake from the Hartz Peak track - 12 January 2008Good walk today to Hartz Peak. (Map here.) Sunny and warm, with a few bushfires around, but the Hartz didn't seem smoke-affected. You could certainly see the fire burning in the Arthur Range, and there was a dense pall lying across the Huon Valley and obscuring the Wellington Range, but the Hartz themselves were clear, with cool breezes high up requiring jackets for most people. Quite a lot of walkers on the track, including many tourists.

Curly, dried purple mud, Hartz Mountains - 12 January 2008It did seem to be very dry. I'll have to find the long term rainfall averages. There's been almost none this month, but there was over 100mm last month. Certainly some pools that normally have water in them are dry. I noted this curly dried mud. It had a strange purplish-cast to it, and seemed to be a thin layer of a different material laid across the top of the other mud. Then it's all dried out, cracked up and curled. Bit strange anyway.

Mountain Rocket, Bellendena montana - 12 January 2008There are many wildflowers out, which certainly brightens up the appearance of the scrub. The Mountain Rocket (Bellendena montana - 'beautiful lady of the mountains', I think) is particularly noticeable and attractive. These spindly flowers will give way to the flattened, hanging bright-red (or yellow sometimes) fruits.

Cushion plant, Donatia novae-zelandiae - 12 January 2008The cushion plants are also attractive, with tiny white flowers scattered across their surface. This one is Donatia novae-zelandiae, the Western Cushion Plant, and is probably the commonest cushion plant in Tasmania. Apparently seedlings of many plants actually manage to grown in the tops of these plants.

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