Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Cradle Country Volume 3

12th - 14th May 2018

Mt Campbell
Mt Emmett
Mt Inglis
Barn Bluff
Cradle Mountain

Day 1
Originally I had wanted to go to the south-west and head into the Arthurs, but when I checked the weather forecast it was looking to be far more beautiful at Cradle, so I changed plans last minute. And boy was I glad I did; I had perfect weather for 3 days. I started very leisurely, visiting my grandparents in Sunnyside on my way to Cradle for an enjoyable cup of coffee and a catch up. By 1:30pm I was leaving the Dove Lake carpark and casually walking the trail up to Hansons Peak. When I arrived at the junction to Mt Campbell I dropped my pack and toddled up, it was very easy and I can't believe I'd never been up it before! I arrived on the summit a bit after 2pm, and took refuge from the wind behind the wee craggy rock that is the summit upon an otherwise flat mountain. I enjoyed the view for a good long while before heading back to my pack, and continuing over Hansons Peak. From there I headed down the east side of Cradle Mountain to the Scott-Kilvert Hut beside Lake Rodway. I spent a lovely evening there, talking with a couple ladies from the north coast who were on their first ever overnight bushwalk! A super relaxing day in the mountains.

A classic view.

Looking towards Mt Campbell, and the sun.

A young King Billy, keeping an eye on the place.

Summit track.

What a delightful place.

Heading to Lake Rodway.

A classic Tasmanian hut.

Day 2
I headed off from the hut a bit before 8:00am for the steady climb out of the valley onto the Cradle Cirque. The sun was rising and giving everything it touched a gorgeous golden glow, firmly setting a smile on my face. Once I was on the cirque, I left my bag and headed off towards Mt Emmet. I followed the ridge over a small rise and down through low scrub. There was a rather good pad most of the way until I hit a small patch of snow gums beneath the scree field that is Mt Emmett. That pad made for great going, and once I was on the scree it was all uphill boulder hopping, good fun! I was on the summit of Mt Emmett by 9:30am, and had a wonderful time enjoying the fine views with no wind. After half an hour on top I hopped back down the scree, and made it back to my pack after an hour of walking. From there I went towards the main overland track, passing the new 'Brussel Sprout' emergency shelter before taking the track towards Barn Bluff. I took the track all the way up to the scree beneath Barny, but then skirted around the base in a westerly direction with the aim of going to Mt Inlgis first. I dropped slightly from the scree on the ridge that connects the two mountains and found a perfect spot to spend the night. A grassy patch surrounded by little pools of water and a creek nearby. I left my pack there, and by 1:00pm I was headed off for Mt Inglis. Most of the way across the Fury Divide was pleasant walking, with a lot of wombat pads to follow across open country. I did hit a few sections of scrub that were more frustrating than I thought they'd be, but only took 1.5 hours to reach the summit of Inglis. I soaked in the view from this relatively remote peak, and reminisced on many adventures as I looked out at the familiar mountains that bless my island home. The return journey took me closer to 2 hours, as I hit a bad patch of scrub (my bad... Although, I did stumble across a water bottle in the scrub!), and it was generally more uphill on the way back. I set up camp and was in the tent, cooking dinner and watching the sun set by 5:30pm.

Frozen pools.

Mt Emmett a.k.a A Bit ol' Pile o' Rocks.

With a splendid view!

The Brussel Sprout.

On track.

A perfect house for a bird?

Looking to Mt Inglis.

Fury Divide tarn.

Mt Inglis is ace!

Remote rubbish.

This is actually the colour I witnessed!!

Day 3
I slept in til 7:00am! A quick breakfast and then pack-up had me heading off by 7:45am. I went back up onto the scree and towards the Barn Bluff track, where I dropped my bag and scooted up to the summit. The lakes to the south were glistening beautifully in the morning sun and I chilled on the top for ages before realising that I should probably head back. Once I was back at my pack I headed towards to the overland track, and then went north along the western flank of Cradle Mountain. Just before I got to Kitchen Hut I left my pack and zipped up Cradle, passing the morning pilgrimage of people heading up for the beautiful summit view. Once I reached the top there was only one other person, so it was pretty quiet for the 20 minutes I spent on the top. I passed about 15 people heading up as I jumped down off the mountain, glad I got up there when I did. I walked back to my car via the goat track, and passed a few familiar faces (Ranger Jimmy and Ranger Rhys) along the way. I was back at my car by 1:30pm, utterly satisfied with my time in this beautiful place.

Morning bliss.

The path up Barn.

A beaut view.

I could've spent hours on top.

Frozen.

The old track up Cradle Mountain.

A glimpse east.

Looking down from the summit of this Tasmanian icon.

Kitchen Hut.

5 left!!!

Peace,
Zane.

Monday, 30 April 2018

The Thumbs

29th April 2018

The Thumbs

I had spent the night in Hobart, having seen the comedic duo Lano and Woodly perform their new show at the Theater Royal, and decided to go home via the South-West. I left Hobart town at 7:00am and drove out beyond Maydena, to a road I'm becoming increasingly familiar with; Clear Hill Road. I followed it north for about 17km as it hugs the eastern shore of Lake Gordon, until I reached the junction to a 4WD track to Adamsfield. The road is barred by a boom gate, with a key available from the Mt Field Parks Office. But I brought my mountain bike along so I didn't worry about hiring the key. At 9:30am I locked the car, jumped on my bike, and road down to the historic old mining town.

I spent nearly 2 hours on the bike, due to some route finding and subsequent back-tracking. The roads are an absolute warrens nest, exacerbated by the four wheel driving that is popular there. But I eventually found myself at the end of the ride-able road heading up Packers Spur. I locked up the bike near an old quarry, and followed the very overgrown road up the buttongrass ridge. Soon the ridge flattened out, and the road dispersed altogether, but with a very open walking I made good progress. Once the ridge narrowed and steepened again, a pad formed on the obvious route up. I followed this all the way up to a knoll on the ridge that sits at 955m. Easy walking from the bike that only took 45 minutes. From the 955m knoll to the summit took an hour and a half, and involved cutting under some large rocky outcrops, through some light to medium scrub, and then clambering up onto the rocky approach to the summit. I chose a few silly 'in-my-mind-short-cuts' on the way up, but was sat on the 'Thumb' by 1:00pm. Not a breath of wind, and an amazing view. I sat and enjoyed the summit for 45 minutes. The standout point was looking at Clear Hill and Stepped Hills, with the Gordon Gorge between them. Magical! I made better time on my way back to the bike, knowing which routes to take, and obviously going downhill. And the same with the bike ride, getting back to my car a bit after 4:00pm. I loved The Thumbs, I will go back for sure!

This place would have seen some memories.

P. Alting is my Opa (grandfather). Mum remembers this trip fondly.

Looking up at The Thumbs (and the sun)

Resting at the 955m. Looking towards Clear Hill and Stepped Hills.

Clear Hill looking fab.

A sneaky glimpse of the Gordon River before it goes into the gorge.

On the beautiful summit. What a view!

I don't know what these were?! On the summit. They're alive!!! Larvae?

Waratah seed pods.

Looking back at The Thumbs summit.

10 left.

Peace,
Zane.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Mt Nereus

18th - 21st April 2018

Walled Mountain
Macs Mountain
Mt Nereus

Day 1
With a dream forecast (4 days of clear weather after 3 days of rain), I was finally able to lock in this mission. The hardest Abel I had left. Due to me deciding at the last moment the trip would go ahead, I did it solo, which I never intended on doing. I was always under the impression I'd have a scrub buddy on this trip, though in hindsight, I'm glad I did it alone. 

I drove to Lake St Clair for the 12:30pm ferry up the lake, having a good yarn on the journey with Brett, the usual ferry captain. When the ferry arrived at the top of the lake I had a brief hello to Kat and Sean, some mates who were leading the TWC trip on the overland that day. I started walking from Narcissus at 1:00pm, destination, Lake Elysia in The Labyrinth. I passed several people on my walk up, including some rangers I know, some people coming down the overland, as well as several people walking to Pine Valley. One lady in particular, Margot, knew Nick from one of his first guiding seasons! She was a guest on a Port Davey trip he was running... Small world. The walk up through Pine Valley and into The Labyrinth was beautiful as can be expected. Rainforest and fungi abound, and the Fagus was ablaze with it's autumnal colour change. I arrived at Lake Elysia around 5:00pm, found a not too soggy area to camp and set about enjoying the sunset on the backside of Mt Geryon.

A nice day for a ferry trip.

I'm on the right track!

Pandani dreaming.

Mt Gould with a peppering of snow.

Mt Geryon, timeless.

Day 2
I woke up around 7:00am after a good sleep, packed slowly, and was heading off at 8:30am. There was a thick fog that was condensing over the lakes, but there was blue sky visible through it. I found the cairned route to Walled Mountain that begins at the western end of Lake Ophion. It lead through some fine open snowgum forest, through two beautiful small tarns, and up onto the wide ridge that extends east from the summit of Walled. The going was good, and I was quickly out of the fog with very atmospheric views all around. Only 1 hour and 15 minutes of walking later and I was on the summit of Walled Mountain. The vistas were amazing, most significantly to the West (and my far, hidden destination), and back down to The Labyrinth, where creeping fingers of fog fell into valleys between pastel coloured peaks. I spent 30 minutes on the summit before meandering on. I walked west along the plateau, passed some jeweled tarns, down a subtle saddle and up onto a scree covered ridgeline that spat me out onto a small plateau at the western end of Walled Mountain. From there I made my way down to the scrubby saddle between Macs and Walled, and my first taste of the scrub for the walk. It was reasonably thick, but I made it down in good time, and spending no time wasting, I jumped into the scrub leading out of the saddle and onto the scree beneath the summit of Macs. I found a reliable flowing creek (fed after the recent rain) between Scoparia and Pineapple Grass, and made note of it for the return journey knowing water would be hard to find. I left my pack at the bottom of the scree-line, and took my bare essentials to the summit.

It had been a solid walk, and I arrived at the summit of Macs Mountain at 12:45pm, smashing the estimated walk time from Walled by about and hour! The view was great, and my favourite of the trip. Nereus was visible, the Eldons were stunning, and there wasn't a breath of wind. A fine place for lunch. After spending 45 minutes on top, I headed back to my gear, then contoured around the side of Macs, sticking to the scree, before descending the final patch of scrub for the day into the saddle between Macs and Urquharts Mesa (the next rise on the continuation of the ridge out to Nereus). I decided to camp there, with many options available. Water would be the issue, but it was only just passed 2:00pm, so I went hunting, and found a very reliable crayfish burrow only 15 metres away from my tent. I siphoned water out using my water bladder hose, a classic and useful way to gather water in the highlands. I spent a relaxing few hour in the sun, reading my book and enjoying a well earned rest. The next day would be big. I set an alarm for 5:30am.

Fagus.

Mt Hyperion rising from the fog.

Mt Thetis.

Summit of Walled Mountain!

A frozen tarn.

Macs Mountain, my next goal.

Mt Nereus - the goal.

Beautiful clouds from the summit of Macs Mountain.

My rental tent (thanks, Aspire!) while mine is undergoing warranty...

Sunset over the Eldons.

Day 3
I awoke to my lovely alarm, meaning I could be prepped to go for first light around 6:30am. I packed up everything in my tent, as I planned on retreating back towards Walled Mountain that night. Armed up with scrub gear on and my essentials in a daypack, I headed off into the thick scrub up the side of Urquharts Mesa. Surprisingly it didn't take too long to get to the top, only around 20 minutes. The view gave me a great idea of what to expect on the journey to Nereus. I headed to a shoulder on the ridge, passing through some fierce scrub on the way, and then dropped to the buttongrass field in the low part of the ridge beneath Nereus. The walk to the buttongrass was good, just mild scrub in snowgum forest, not fast, but easier than it could have been. I made it to the open field only 1.5 hours after leaving the tent. From there it didn't take long to get into the rainforest that sits on the slopes of Mt Nereus, and the going became much easier. I followed the crest of the ridge that approaches the summit, and then skirted beneath the cliffs through the forest, to a steep and scrubby gully that made for quick and easy access to the top. Once I topped out, it was only a short stroll to the summit, marked by a cairn. I was elated to be on this mountain, and in such great time (only 2.5 hours from camp! - The Abels book suggests 4-5 hours). I made sure to spend enough time soaking in the view from one of the most remote peaks in the reserve. Wow.

I headed back more or less on the same route, only deviating on some areas where I knew I could pick a better route (notably the scrub on the western approach to Urquharts Mesa). I got back to camp at 12:15pm. Absolutely stoked! This gave me the opportunity to slowly pack up camp, eat some more food, and head out all in good time. I decided maybe camping on Walled Mountain would be an option, although I was willing to push farther onward. With determination and overpants, I pushed through the scrub back to the scree beneath Macs Mountain, traversed around, and filled my water at the still flowing creek. I quickly dove back into the scrub and made my way down, and up again, onto the open country at the base of Walled Mountain. Scrub pants were taken off, legs were cooled. When I got back to the summit of Walled, I called the Lake St Clair lodge to check on the ferry times that were running the next day, there was one leaving Narcissus at 9:30am, so I booked on that and decided to push down to Pine Valley. I casually walked to the hut, enjoying the sun setting around me, adding a gorgeous hue to the mountains that I love so much. I arrived at Pine Valley at 6:00pm, after a big, but amazing day. I pitched my tent, and had a pleasant evening in the forest.

Morning hits Nereus.

Tendrils of fog falling off the upper Forth Valley.

Scrub.

Be-jeweled lace.

A nice section of walking to the infamous Abel.

Rainforest is a delight!!

YES! Nereus summit time, baby!

Looking back from Urquharts Mesa, can you spy my tent?





This is my future...





The Acropolis looking divine.

Silent reflection.



Day 4
I awoke really early, and when I couldn't get back to sleep, decided to slowly get ready for my 6:30am departure. I walked out with head torch on, enjoying the crisp air and silence of the ancient forest I walked through. I arrived at Narcissus Hut at 8:30am, confirmed my ferry, and waited on the jetty in the morning sun. Mt Olympus looked down at me and I was in a very happy place.

A beautiful end to an amazing walk.

11 left.

Peace,
Zane.