Mt Pelion East
I left home at very early o'clock and arrived at Dove Lake car park by 6:00am. For this walk, I would have strolled in via the Arm River track if possible, but due to the road closures in the Mersey Valley I had to walk half the Overland Track to reach the mountains I desired. But 6:30am I was walking down the Overland with a mission to reach Pine Forest Moor for the night (usually passed half way through day 2). I plugged in the iPod and smashed out down the track, enjoying the beautiful weather and quick pace. By around 1:00pm I had reached the southern end of PFM, with Mt Pelion West towering above me as I set up camp under some ancient Pencil Pines. I had some lunch and then decided that I would make most of the great weather and head to Mt Proteus.
Proteus is a seldom visited mountain that sits around 5km west of the Overland Track, it is all off track, but very simple going. Buttongrass stompin' and and large patches of open Coral Fern made for delightful walking and I reached the summit in a little under 2 hours. I was blown away with the view, taking in the Eldon range to the west, the Ossa group to my south, and the classic Overland Mountains in all other directions. After about 40 minutes on top, the wind changed to a westerly and the clouds had darkened, so I hooned back to my tent. A little over and hour and a half later I was in the tent as rain started to fall, and didn't cease all night.
|Kitchen hut standing proud.|
|Pandani and Barn Bluff.|
|A cracking view to the central Overland mountains.|
|Mt Pelion West.|
|That blip on the horizon. Yeah, that's Mt Proteus.|
|The summit cairn on Mt Proteus, looking to the Ossa group of mountains.|
Rain rain rain. A very wet morning and a very wet tent to pack up. I had originally planed on going up Mt Pelion West and doing the traverse along to Mt Thetis, but the weather changed my plans and I headed to Pelion Plains. After 2 hours of walking I arrived at the hut and hung out my gear to dry. I made myself at home and waited for a few hours for the weather to clear, then headed off towards Pelion Gap to climb Mt Pelion East. The walk up to the gap was as beautiful as ever, all the creeks were roaring with fresh flood waters and the tree branches drooped with moisture. From the gap Pelion East is a quick 40 minutes up, although the view wasn't great because cloud had gathered in again. The summit was very calm, but with view for this Abel climber to enjoy my visit was short lived. No matter, I've been here many times before! I walked back to Pelion Plains for the night, and enjoyed an evening of talking to happy Overland Trekkers.
|Pelion hut. The mess is mine!|
|Rip roaring little creek heading up to the gap.|
|Pelion Gap! WOOO!|
|Mt Ossa in a shroud of cloud.|
|Pelion East just visible through the muck.|
|Spires of Dolorite.|
|The summit of Mt Pelion East.|
I left Pelion Plains with a day pack at 7:00am sharp and headed up the Arm River track with the aim of climbing Mt Pillinger. The walk was as good as it always is, although it was a little messy with trees and debris on the track due to the lack of people walking the track since the June flooding. After an hour and a half I had crossed Wurragarra Creek and found the track marker heading in the direction of Mt Pillinger. The walking was beautiful, a small trail through the Coral Fern and Snow Gums lead me past some still tarns and up into a gentle assent of the eastern side of Mt Pillinger. Within an hour I was sitting on the beautiful little mountain, enjoying a partial view towards Lee's Paddocks, February Plains and Lake Ayr. I got a weather update on my phone (thanks modern technology!) and found out that the weather was looking to be awful over the next 3 days, and changing for the worse later that afternoon. Again, my plans changed!
Instead of scaling Mt Oakleigh when I got back to Pelion Plains, I headed Windermere Hut and arrived just as the rain started. I spent the night getting to know some of the people at the hut, and tee'd up giving a lift for Indi and Erin (two Overlanders I met the day before) a ride home to Launceston on the next day.
|Heading off on the Arm River Track.|
|Cracker of a sign.|
|A classic Tassie track marker.|
|Mt Pillinger looking very lovely.|
|The eastern approach of Pillinger.|
|The view from the top, looking towards Lee's Paddocks.|
Indi, Erin, and I left Windermere relatively early to walk out to Dove Lake. The weather wasn't horrid, but the mountains more or less remained shrouded in cloud for the whole day. We smashed out the 17kms in about 6 hours and drove off from Cradle Mountain National Park in the rain. A decent mission, but sadly I didn't achieve what I had hoped. I did meet some cool people though, so that's dandy!
|Erin and Indi smashing it out to Dove Lake.|