Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Mt Field

17th - 19th April 2016

Mt Field East
Rodway Range
Florentine Peak
Mt Field West
Mt Lord

Day 1
I left Launceston at around 6:30am and drove straight to Mt Field National Park. I arrived at the interpretation center by 9:30am, had a quick toilet break and then drove up into the hills. I was out of the car with my daypack on and heading for Mt Field East by 10am. I walked passed Lake Fenton and then began to climb up through some beautiful twisted Snow Gums and Pandani. The weather was perfect, blue sky and not a breath of wind. Within an hour I had made it to the summit of this easy Abel. The summit cairn would be a perfect place to shelter from gusts, but I had no such problem and spent a pleasant half an hour on top by myself. I made my way back to the car as more people began to summit. On the way back down I sat and watched some Green Rosella's chatting to themselves in the Gums and grooming their beaks on the tree branches. I got back to the car and drove a few kilometres to the Lake Dobson car park.

I re-packed my backpack, signed myself in the log book, and headed off around Lake Dobson towards the Mt Mawson ski village. The walk up was pleasant, and many a 'g'day' was said to the passing people. Being a Sunday, it seemed as if half of Hobart had come to look at the Fagus change colour! I walked beyond the ski village and had a lunch break looking over Lake Seal before heading away from the tourist route up onto the Rodway Range. Once up on the range I left the bustle of people behind and enjoyed the calm and quiet of the still day. At one point, just before descending off the western slope of the range, I dropped my pack and made for the high point of the range. A 10 minute deviation from the path made for an easy Abel! Once back at my pack I headed down the slope towards K-Col. I walked passed a group of 4 who were just finishing a lovely day out, and they mentioned that a few weeks prior they had gone to Mt Lord (a future objective of this adventure for me) and that it was much harder than they expected... Dun dun duuuun!

Shortly after, I reached K-Col and the emergency hut that rests there (officially opened by Sir Edmund Hillary!) I still had about 3 hours of light, so decided to leave my pack in the hut and make for Florentine Peak while I still had this beautiful weather. There was a slight pad leading off from the hut, and upon following it I found a semi cairned track. Pretty needless, as it is an obvious assent up the peak. I didn't expect to reach the summit as quick as I did (just under an hour), so I enjoyed the top and watched evening cloud gather over Mt Field West. After 45 minutes enjoying the summit, the wind began to pick up and I headed back to set up camp. I hung out in the hut for a while, making dinner just outside and flicking through the log book (seeing many familiar names). I found a spot to whack up the tent and went to bed with a cup of tea and a book.

First peak of the day, here I come!

So much character in one tree.

Mt Field East.

Sitting in the summit cairn of Field East.

Green Rosella in a Snow Gum.

Pencil Pines around Lake Dobson.

The Mt Mawson Ski Club.

Looking to Rodway Range and the Fagus in colour.

Tarn Shelf.

The steepest ski tow in Australia! And a rope tow to boot.

Florentine Peak from the top of Rodway Range.

Track junction on K-Col.

On approach to Florentine Peak.

Florentine Peak is a wonderful mountain to be upon.

A great way to end a 3 Abel day! Views to Wylds Craig.

Day 2
I woke up just as the sun was rising and as a reward for getting out of my tent I had a stunning sun rise with pink hues and low fog in the valleys. Very pretty! I had a quick breakfast and then headed off for Mt Field West by 7:30am. The summit was in cloud, but it was very thin, so I expected it to clear with a bit of sun on it. The walk was lovely, with great views back to Florentine Peak. Approaching the summit was HEAPS of cushion plants, and it was hard to avoid them all... I reached the top at 9am and as if by magic the cloud lifted and gave me an incredible view over the Florentine Valley and towards the West Coast mountains, giving me wonderful memories of the Spires Mission from January. I spent half an hour on top before heading back to pack up my gear and move on.

By 10:30am I was walking north on the K-Col track back up to the Rodway Range. When I was on the top of the range I went off track and continued north instead of following the path to the east. I planned to make most of my distance to Mt Lord on this high ground before dropping off the range into the clear area below scrubby Mt Lord. This is the way the 4 I met the day before went, and they said it was slow going (something about 7 hours...), so I was glad to be on it early-ish. Well. I don't know what they were on about, but it was easy! Within 2 hours I had reached the spot I wanted drop down to Lake Emmett. Another 30 minutes later I was in the grassland near the lake, standing next to some old star-picket posts; the path the Abels Vol 1 book mentions. I found somewhere to set up my tent and then headed up Mt Lord.

I followed the star-pickets until they got to an open lead up the side of the mountain. I took a poorly taped route up and was soon on a low saddle below Mt Lord. Then I followed a rough cairned route to the top which I reached after an hour and a half from my tent. The views over the Florentine were quite nice, but looking back to Mt Field West was the best aspect of the summit. 5 Abels in 2 days! Woohoo!! I spent nearly an hour on top before heading back to my tent for a magnificent sunset and some tasty gnocchi. And what's this? Oooh, rum!

A glorious sight to wake up to. Fog in the Floz.

Mt Field West with a morning shroud.

On my way up, looking west.

There's the summit over there! (It was a bit chilly).

Cushion plants and tarns everywhere.

The summit is clearing...

Foggy Florentine from Field West.

Onward to my next adventure, Mt Lord.

Pool in Pineapple Grass.

Lake Emmett, below Mt Lord.

An old track marker (note the measurement in fluid ounce).

Looking back to Mt Field West from the shoulder of Mt Lord.

The humble summit of Mt Lord. Worth another visit.

My night time show.

Day 3
I wanted to head out on the path that the Abels book suggested. It mentioned that it is poorly marked and sometimes hard to follow, but I thought it would offer a different experience from going back along the range. Not far south of my camp site I found very freshly placed pink tape. Lots of it. I followed the pink tape though the series of clear moorlands and bushy sections all the way back to the main path going back to Lake Dobson. Much easier than expected! As I had walked out quicker than I thought I would, I visited Lake Seal on my way back. It has a lovely view back up to the Rodway Range, but I couldn't see any Fagus from that vantage point.

I was back at the parks interpretation center by 11:30am, had a shower and headed to Hobart to catch up with my cousin, Josh, for beer! A great fun adventure was had in beautiful Mt Field, happy 100th birthday!

Morning sun on Mt Lord.

A pool with Penicl Pines and Pandani.


Where the Mt Lord track meets the main path.

Fungi near Lake Seal.

Lake Seal.

124 left.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Little Fisher River Adventures

13th April 2016

Mersey Crag
Turrana Bluff

These two little known peaks sit in the far north of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. I went out with the aim to do an overnight trip and include nearby Clumner Bluff as well, but ended up doing only one day.

I arrived nice an early into the Mersey Forest Reserve as the Targa Tasmania was doing some stages in the area and the road was going to be closed mid-morning. I drove up the Little Fisher River road to reach a bridge that looks recently taken out meaning an extra 3kms of road walking; yay! I headed off at around 8:30 and started up the valley on a track I think is mostly used by fishermen wanting to get to some of the lakes and tarns in the area. About 10 minutes after signing my name into the log-book I heard very close by, a loud and relatively aggressive dog bark. So I reached for the nearest hefty fallen branch and continued on my way (looking back every-so-often). I didn't see it or hear it again, but a bit angering to hear wild dogs. After 50 minutes the old road turned into the regular walking track and I was soon in some gorgeous Myrtle forest, very tall trees with no underlying vegetation. It was beautiful! Walking up the valley with the sound of running water always near, I reach the spectacular Rinadeena Falls. A very peaceful place to be.

After spending some time at the falls I kept pushing uphill and within 45 minutes I had reached the alpine zone; small scrubby plants, towering peaks and open views. I was surrounded on both sides by dolerite cliffs, and both my Abels for the day. I followed the track out of the valley through pineapple grass and coral fern up onto the plateau where I went off track and headed for Mersey Crag. Easy navigation combined with the occasional pad meant it took me only 30 minutes or so to reach the summit. It sits atop a cliff line and has spectacular views back towards the Walls of Jerusalem, Overland Track mountains as well as fine views south. An early lunch on top before I headed back to the track for a brief moment only go go scrub jumping again towards Turrana Bluff. Once on top of the high plateau of Turrana it was easy walking on big slabs of rock and low islands of scrub. Only 50 minutes to achieve the summit and even more great views to be had! This time with an emphasis on the easterly aspect - towards the highland lakes. So many little jewels studding the vast flatness of the central highlands.

I spent a lot longer atop Turrana than Mersey Crag, and I think it was the highlight of the day. After 50 minutes I started to make my way back to the car. A much faster decent, while still enjoying the beautiful forest on the way down. I was back at the car by 5:15pm as the sun was on its way below the trees. A fabulous day indeed! I highly recommend these two peaks, but especially Turrana Bluff!

Crossing the might Little Fisher River.

The old road being taken back by forest.

No more road walking for me!

Fairies live here.

Again, more evidence of Fairies.

Rinadeena Falls.

Not sure what species these are.

Remnants of an old hut.

Walking through the Coral Fern.

Heading towards Mersey Crag - Mt Ossa in the far distance.

That's the summit over there!

Looking to the Walls from Mersey Crag.

From the top I had a great view to my next objective - Turrana Bluff.

Lone Gum in the saddle.

I love two Abel days.

The view from the top of Turrana Bluff looking east.

129 left.