“MSR up too high, not up high enough? Do we have the portion sizes right? Careful not to burn the sauce! When is the water ever going to boil? I hope everyone’s had enough to drink. We definitely didn’t have any dietary requirements in this group, right? I need to put my tent up. Careful, don’t burn the sauce. Man, my co-guide had my back today! Why did the MSR just go out? I really messed up that interpretation, I wonder if Tom (our teacher) noticed? This ground is hard, why didn’t I bring a piece of foam to kneel on? Don’t burn the sauce!”
As you prepare entrée and the main for the night you have a million different thoughts running through your mind, almost all of them centred on the hope that you are keeping everyone happy and faking it enough to show you’ve learned something during the last 6 months of the TasTAFE Adventure Guiding Course.
With waist-deep snow on Pelion Plains our original trip to the Overland Track was abandoned and our contingency of the Freycinet Peninsula actioned. Two options in virtual polar opposites from each other, but a sound contingency plan at this time of year, given Tassie’s notoriously predictable unpredictable August weather. Despite the disappointment (and perhaps some relief) of missing our chance at the Overland Track, we headed off for 4 days at the Peninsula with plenty less warmies and plenty more water. Mild temperatures and light winds meant shorts were the order of the trip as we made our way around the Peninsula. We took in the vistas of Mt Freycinet, Davonian Granite, Schouten Island, and practiced our flora and fauna identification.
This was the first opportunity in the course for students to practice their interpretation topics. Situational interps led by students were a particular highlight. Learning about the endemic Tasmanian Froglet as it called from across Hazards Lagoon, or the Tasmanian sub-species of the Wedge-Tailed Eagle as they soared above Mt Graham and beyond the clouds, or, that Oyster Catchers don’t actually eat oysters as we watched them frolic in the shallows in pairs, made for a far more memorable learning experience than those obtained from within four walls.
Off track navigation to peaks at the southern end of the Peninsula provided student guides with an additional challenge, but the scrub scratches were worth it with a lunch-time view over Schouten Island. As we watched the sun set over water on our final night we contemplated two things, almost simultaneously. How lucky are we to do a course like this in a place like this; and, damn, I can’t wait for the last 2 months of this course, and the work associated with it, to be over.
Photo Credits: Ollie Bryant