It’s at times such as this …

From Robyn Colman

It’s at times such as this

She’d be tempted to spit

If she wasn’t so ladylike

Elvis Costello

Recently I did a lovely circuit walk on kunanyi when, coming down the Snake Plains track on the way back to the car, I slipped and (as it turned out) sprained my ankle. I knew it wasn’t broken and that this wasn’t an emergency, and like a good Pandani member I was carrying a first aid kit, clothes, snacks, water, a PLB, etc. 

But the symptoms of shock (nausea and faintiness) persisted for rather longer than I liked, so I applied for medical advice. First, I rang my doctor’s practice but was on hold for a long time, with phone juice running low.* I gave up and rang 000. I received a phone diagnosis from a paramedic, based on my symptoms, reassurance and good advice. So after a bit more rest I was able to hobble back to the car with my two sticks, and thence to the doctor. 

But Here’s The Thing: the paramedic explained that my location meant I was technically in a wilderness area. (The Snake Plains Track!) So if I needed rescuing (which we both knew I didn’t), he would have to invoke the Wilderness Paramedics not the usual ones, and that meant going through the Police, which would take an awfully long time.

I’m mentioning this because it was a surprise to me and is perhaps useful to others to know. If I’d been at Mt Montague or Devil’s Throne, well, yes, I would understand – though I wouldn’t dream of going there on my own. But for what I think of as “lower slopes” and quite near civilisation to be considered a wilderness area was, well, a surprise.

Another Thing: When I passed the Disappearing Tarn turn-off, a worker was reluctantly installing a sign on the main track to tell people where to go. Reluctant, because like me, he wasn’t thrilled about sharing the location with Hordes. But so many people are getting lost, apparently, that the sign is thought to be necessary. Another one was to go in downhill, closer to the Tarn, so that when people can’t see it they will know not to press on across the basin and scramble up the hill on the other side, looking for it. Thank you social media.

* I usually walk with my phone in aeroplane mode, and take photos with a camera. But I did have Avenza on, to track my path, distance and timings. I presume this is why the battery was low after being fully charged only about six hours earlier. Note to self: perhaps carry a charger device?

1 thought on “It’s at times such as this …

  1. Robyn!!! Poor you. Thank you for passing on this information, how strange that this is considered “wilderness “ . I guess they have their reasons…. but more info for the general public would be to the advantage of both the rescuer and the potentially rescued.
    As to signage for Disappearing Tarn, ugh!!
    Hope you heal quickly and we see you back on the track asap.


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