Going west beyond Strathgordon-part 2 of 3

Time and again, bright piercing sunshine alternated quickly with the sky dumping major loads of water as the new morning emerged. From my room I could see a sopping but dramatically beautiful landscape.

Later, when we drove west towards the turn off to the Serpentine Dam, the drama of the landscape and weather unfolded with every turn in the road. The Pedder Lookout offered clues as to what could be seen in the distance, and reminded visitors that once a small lake existed with an arc of pristine beach before Tasmania’s hydro power needs dammed gorges to flood the landscape and create the current monster. Nevertheless, the cloud, water and landscapes enthralled in every direction. We were fortunate that the rain ceased for this photo call.

Not much further along the main road an arresting view across Lake Gordon to our north forced us to park and look carefully. Thousands of dead tree trunks lay, seemingly like matchsticks, above the reduced waterline.

Trigger plants were in bloom and their pink flowering stalks were everywhere. In fact we commented that spring had arrived in this generally cold and wet environment. Flowers of many types grew everywhere.

Excess water escaped downhill in many places. See an example here; other waterfalls were huge and at a distance where photos flatten, miniaturise and marginalise them.

Evidence of the devastating bush fires of two years ago was around many corners. So often we hear the story of ember driven fires and clearly the patches of burnt landscape appeared to be result of embers winded from elsewhere. Some mountains burnt out while the adjacent ones remained verdant green.

After reaching the turn off, we took advantage of two vantage areas along the gravel-surfaced Serpentine Road; each offered spectacular views and out, in the sun then drizzle then torrential rain, these offered invigorating experiences. First we motored to the boat ramp and looked across a portion of Lake Pedder.

Further south we reached the Serpentine Dam, and the sun came out. I love the deep gorge below the dam where, from time to time, excess water is released.

From the causeway looking east, Lake Pedder extended for many kilometres.

The rain dropped heavily while we were on the dam wall encouraging us to get back into the car quickly and drive on. Our wet weather gear was solid and, while outwardly wet, we were not cold despite a temperature of 6 degrees.

Not many kilometres later we arrived at the Gordon Dam, initially in drizzle. We waited a short while and then the air cleared.

Encouraged by the change in the weather, we descended the 184 steps to the Dam wall causeway, walked across, and marvelled at the surrounding land, at Lake Gordon and at the extraordinary engineering of the Dam wall.

The dam wall causeway is wide, and the height of the dam wall always astounds me – abseiling down this concrete face is on my bucket list! Anyone want to join me?

Lake Gordon spread into the unseeable distance.

I seem to have a magnetic attraction to weeds and spot them everywhere; Amongst an assortment of grasses and other weeds, I regret to say that blackberry canes and the dandelion-look-alike, the Cat’s Ears were growing around the Gordon Dam structures.

By the time I saw these unwanted plants, rain was pouring and I had travelled without my weeding tools. Alas.

As we ascended the 184 steps, the drizzle began. On reaching the top the rain was teeming, and then it hailed so that I was in fear of permanent facial pockmarking. How those icy bullets stung! I sheltered in the lee of the car while waiting for my friend to come and unlock her vehicle. Forget the inclemency, forget everything – except the wonder that is the land and its natural treasures. I was conscious I was an alien in this world, and privileged to walk some little way on and around it.

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2 Responses to Going west beyond Strathgordon-part 2 of 3

  1. Arthur Blackwell says:

    Thank you for your lovely blog, My wife and I recently travelled by car to most corners of the Western Wilds experience to visit the vantage points, to take in the spectacular vistas of this place in Tasmania’s South West.
    We were blessed with a little rain and some sunny but cool patches of weather affording plenty of opportunities to stop and capture an image for our memories.
    As we are a little older now, we are unable to trek any long distances and to still be able to drive within a short walking distance of some these enchanting places, is a joy we really appreciate.
    We had mixed feelings about that very inspiring art work ‘Bitumen Bones’, it’s positioning was disappointing, being placed in front of the natural vista of ‘The Sentinels’ and We feel if the nearby Wedge River Picnic Ground had been reinstated, this would have been a much safer and a more secluded site to view ‘Bitumen Bones’.
    Kind regards
    Arthur and Denise

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was surprised with the scale of the sculpture and its refined man-made lines in an environment of rugged grandeur. I imagine someone thought this is a good stop to look at The Sentinels and then someone else said ‘well there is already a pull over there so it makes sense to fill that space’ -I can imagine that sort of bureaucratic ‘imagining’. I couldn’t read the poem while I was there and photographed it to read later, simply because it was the land I was wanting to feel and hear and smell and see.

      Liked by 1 person

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