Platypus Hunting

Jan 18, 2015

This morning we rose early, had a great little breakfast of Spanish omelets and toast, and then pedaled on down to the Hobart harbor where we picked up the bike trail leading us out of town. We all had pared down to the barest minimum of clothing and gear to keep our weight down. Barry was using panniers mounted on his rear bike rack while Dave, Amanda and I were using the new ultralight bag system developed by a small company named Revelate. The largest of these bags is waterproof and fits inside a holster mounted behind the seat post. It seems to work well but requires that the owner be happy with less. We felt that need. The bike trail is 15K long and eliminates the traffic problems for bikers trying to leave the city proper. We then hopped onto the A10 – the main highway leading north and west. 83k of riding today with about a 20k hill climb leading to the small town of Hamilton, our goal for the day.

Our ride today follows the Derwent River which empties into the bay in Hobart. Big rolling hills appear to cascade on down to the river banks. These banks are lined with large mature deciduous trees creating shade and greenery. The hills themselves are very dry now in the summer months here. Yellow and parched they nonetheless are populated with many vineyards and orchards as well as a few scattered large shade trees. The river has that deep dark swollen look and moves with great power. When we reached the hill section of our ride, the temp had risen to 33 C (92 F). With no shade, that type of heat just drains cyclists trying to climb. I stopped several times to cool off and rehydrate. We are very cognizant of the sun here with less ozone protection to block the harmful rays – you must reapply sunscreen often.

We are staying in a small cottage originally built by convicts in the mid 1800’s using sandstone. Very comfortable and homey, this little abode was a pleasant relief to us tired and hot bikers. Our host told us of an opportunity to view platypuses in a slow moving creek just below the cabin. These strange creatures are sort of like a cross between a duck and an otter and yet even much more. We crept hopefully down to the creek at dusk and took up stations waiting for the tell- tale ripple under the water accompanied by a bill just above and a couple of white spots behind. Luck wasn’t on our side tonight despite our patience and we hiked back up the hill to our cabin, crawled under the covers, and didn’t wait long for the sand man to take us away.

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6 thoughts on “Platypus Hunting

  1. Interesting place and location. What nature has done there is awe inspiring. Wish I was younger and could be there with you.

    Uncle Orval

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