I drag my boots through my over pants, zip them down to my ankles then reach for my gaiters. These I strap on over the top. I zip up my raincoat, despite the sky being blue and clear. This full armour feels stiff and ungainly as I shoulder my overnight pack and follow Caz into a tight scrub of tea-tree and banksia. Last night it rained. This is why we wear everything. The trees are heavy with moisture. It is like pushing through the wet swirling brushes of a wild car wash. I wish I had added gloves to my bare hands. At this early hour, on the shady side of the mountain range that lies ahead, the trunks of the small trees are covered in frost. I grab and wrestle the stubborn branches and my fingers grow increasingly numb. There is a path, but it is narrow, rough, muddy, slippery, strewn with puddles and hemmed in by this encroaching, tough, west-coast Tasmanian scrub. They are admirably persistent trees in Tasmania. About 2-3m high, thin trunked and flexible. They hold their ground with determination; and a knowledge of their right to be exactly where they are.
Fortunately, it is a short half hour of this kind of tense conversation and we emerge onto open, mountainside heath marked by clumps of buttongrass waving their bobble-headed flowers stalks in celebration. Above us now we can see our destination - the spectacular and geologically bizarre Tyndall Range. Many locals argue that this mountain, and its labyrinth of lakes and cliffs, is the state’s finest alpine region, with relatively easy access and few crowds.