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Arrival in Hobart - The Fat Lady Has Sung!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Hello All

What a wonderful city Hobart is; the combination of mountain, river and sea a fitting end to a magical series of journeys. Tasmania, the full stop on Australia is indeed the full stop of City2City after 7 journeys, 543 days and over 25000km. I can't believe that I was able to complete such an undertaking without a 'journey stopping' injury at some point or some other block in my way.

I paddled into Watermans Dock at 4-30pm on Friday as the sun dipped below the clouds around Mt Wellington on Day 69 from Melbourne, on the day the schedule scribbled months before said I would (something childishly pleasing about such things!). And what a wonderful welcome. A group of 20 or so friends, all with special City2City tee shirts, had flown in from
Sydney, Melbourne etc. Many who over the years had played various roles in City2City. And another big surprise, my parents had flown in from the UK. Cheers and tears, champagne and beers. A stereo boomed out the Fat Lady singing. A victory eskimo roll - one final cold water soaking.

The final 2 weeks of the trip offered everything that City2City was about. The traverse of the Western and Eastern Arthurs/Federation Peak is generally acknowledged as the most spectacular and rugged mountain traverse in Australia - twisting ridges, soaring rockfaces, deep mountain tarns. Where for much of the way hands are as usefully employed as feet in scrambling up rock (or vertical mud!), where limbo is a technique often practiced as hour after hour of tree roots block the way ahead. Warren and I saw no-one else and day after day we counted ourselves as 'lucky boys'. In a part of the world known for it's wet and windy weather in summer let
alone winter, we, in May enjoyed remarkably benign conditions. Sure there was rain and mist at times but when it mattered most we were rewarded with clouds beneath our feet and sun above our heads, with nights where the only sound was the rustle of our own sleeping bags. Views afar to country I'd traversed in the weeks before. I was even rewarded with only my third ever Brocken Spectre, where the rising sun projects your own shadow for hundreds of metres over the cloud beneath, complete with rainbow halo. Only small snow patches lay from the blizzard of the week before.

The way out from the mountains was purgatory (or hell?) - more mud and trees. But is is this ring of 'protection' that keeps Federation Peak out of reach of those who like a pleasant walk in! Now the weather came in again and the Huon River rose rapidly giving me a very fast run downriver paddle to Huonville, my first town since Longford 45 days before. Huw on the Huon! 40km on the bike through the hills to Kingston. A Kingston at Kingston! Then 2 hours of paddling up the Derwent to the finish in Hobart. Melbourne2Hobart was everything I could have wanted. For a project that for the most part was solo travelling, it was strange to have only (the final) 2 nights alone on this one but what great company I had all the way - Greg, Rohan and Lippy across Bass Strait, Jenny to Cradle Mountain, Wendy and Marie Clare on the Overland Track, Ant on the Franklin and Warren across the South West.

A few hundred people receive these email updates and have done throughout the journeys. A final email will be sent when I get back home and the dust of City2City has settled. For now I'll mention no individuals or specific companies but so many of you have been integral to the success of this project - as supporting individuals, as sponsor businesses, as participants, as amazing people met along the way who offered a beer, a bed or more, as friends, as local experts offering advice on best routes etc etc etc. THANK YOU so much for being part of it's success.

Forgive me the liberty of mentioning just one person in this email. One person who has been on a long journey with me, who has endured her own hardships whilst I had mine, whose strength and support gave me strength and support, who has been at the start and finish, who kept me going all the way from Melbourne2Sydney, from Melbourne2Adelaide, from Brisbane2Darwin, from Sydney2Brisbane, from Perth2Adelaide, from Perth2Darwin, from Melbourne2Hobart, from City2City.

Wendy - my love, my life, my wife

Any emails should be sent to huw@hinet.net.au over the next week.

Have fun. I did.

Cheers

Huw




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Read Huw's Perth2 Darwin:

Read Letter 1: Perth to Carnarvon

Read Letter 2: Carnarvon to Broome

Read Letter 3: Update from Drysdale River Homestead

Read Letter 4: Farewell to Western Australia