WE WALKED IN FROM the trailhead, intending to take the direct route up to Marions Lookout, cross the plateau then traverse the face of the mountain before descending the escarpment to return to where we had started. It was going to be a long day traversing the mountains and already the temperature had reached 40°C. It was what locals regard as a heat wave.
That was why we stopped at Crater Lake with its fresh, cool waters and shade in which to rest before tackling the steeper part of the trail. The lake occupies a great gouge made in the edge of the Cradle Plateau by a glacier that melted over 12,000 years ago. Now, the deep pit it scooped in the land is occupied by this lake of dark water.
Hot it might have been that morning, the waters were still. Walking to the lake shore I noticed an ancient log resting at the waters edge, its reflection perfect in the water. There was no question about making a photograph.
A substantial log, this, a log of the endemic pine that occurs only up here in these Tasmanian highlands. How long had it rested here by the water, its trunk blasted by winter storm and snow and by summer’s heat, heat like today’s? How long would it remain here? Questions unanswerable. But here we were by this lake, surrounded by the elements of the landscape… water, rock, sky, air, plants. That was what this old log of native pine reminded us of that day by the still, dark water as we contemplated the scramble to come.