Mt Ossa holds a particular importance to myself and my family. Through most of the 1960's my great-grandfather (Gordon Saunders - known as Gangy) was the head ranger of Cradle Mountain National Park. He passed away in 2008 and we scattered his ashes from Mt Ossa a few years later.
I headed out on this 35km day walk to meet up with my Aunt Heidi and her 3 offspring - Damien, Josh, and Jenna. They were going up to Ossa over a 3 day trip and I wanted to join them for their summit day. Heidi came up to scatter the ashes and Josh had been up before (in terrible white-out weather), but Damien and Jenna hadn't been up before.
I left Launceston at 3am and drove towards the Arm River. I was on the track by 5:15am with head-torch on and music blasting in my ears. It wasn't long before I arrived at the top of the steep incline heading up onto the plateau, where Mt Pillinger greeted me surrounded by a gorgeous sun rise. I put my headphones away and instead listened to the multitude of bird calls as I walked down towards Pelion Plains. When I arrived at the hut after 2 hours of walking (new personal record!) I found myself in a tent city! I soon found where my family were camped and was greeted with sleepy smiles, blueberries, cherries, and coffee. After second breakfast we soon made our way out from Pelion Plains up towards Pelion Gap where we would begin our summit. The walking was lovely and cool. The clouds were pretty low and kept us nicely shrouded all the way to the gap. Pandani and pencil pine with a good peppering of Myrtle made for an ancient-feeling stroll.
When we got to the gap Ossa still had its head in the clouds, but it looked promising that it would soon burn off so up we went with gusto! The track workers are in the process of replacing the old path with a new one. The old path is one which Gangy laid many years ago and the wood he used was being stacked into piles. The new path is great though and will hopefully keep more feet on the track as the old one had gotten a big boggy. We gained altitude fast and within an hour and a half we had made it to the summit! Now to find Gangy.
Not far from the summit is where we spread the ashes of Gangy and fixed a small plaque in his memory. The plaque had recently fallen down after 6 years of weather, so I am sure another trip will soon be imminent. We sat around with Gangy for a while, sharing a hip flask of one of his delicious brews. Coffee-infused fire water, YUM! After lunch we headed off to the summit proper and all had a sit on top rock! Good times! We ended up spending nearly 2 hours on top. We headed off back to Pelion Plains on a beautiful but uneventful stroll. We were at Pelion by 5:30pm, so I had time for a quick snack and then powered off back to my car. I returned to the car by about 7:30, tired, but very fulfilled! Doing Ossa in a day was something I had wanted to try for a while and it turned out to be a great trip!!
|Walking off into the dark is a beautiful thing.|
|Tents, everywhere I look there are tents!!|
|Josh, Damien, Heidi, and Jenna.|
|Pile o' path.|
|The new one is great, so fancy.|
|Very neat-o path.|
|The view just gets better and better!|
|Just hangin' with the relatives.|
|Top Rock on Mt Ossa.|