Mt Sarah Jane
It may surprise some of you to find out I have never been to Mt Anne! I could think of no better walk to start 2017 with than this bangin' 3 day stroll to the classic south-west circuit. I left home early and arrived at the start of the track at 10:30am but drove 8km further south along the Scotts Peak Road to stash my bicycle in the bush at the end of the walk. This way I didn't need to road bash back to my car on the last day.
I started walking around 11:00am on the beautiful Buttongrass covered ridge-line heading straight for Mt Eliza. I passed several groups along the way, all heading uphill, some on overnight walks and some out for the day. One gentleman I passed was walking with his wife, although he was nearly blind! Very inspiring. A bit after an hour and a half later, I arrived at the Mt Eliza Memorial Hut, nestled in the scrubby treeline at the foot of the peak. I had lunch there and enjoyed talking to several of the groups as they arrived to seek shelter from the heat. After lunch I continued up Mt Eliza towards the plateau, the track turned mostly to scree and within half an hour I was on top. From there it was very pleasant and open walking towards the base of Eve Peak. The track crossed some scree under the summit of Eve Peak towards a track junction marking the way up Mt Anne. I dropped my bag, and headed for the top! The walk wasn't too difficult, getting to the base of the mountain was easy, over large scree. Once at the towering columns of the peak the track was well defined with only a few sections being exposed to heights. After 30 minutes from the turn off, I arrived at the summit to a massive view and absolute silence. I was very happy to finally be atop this iconic peak that I had looked at from all around. I spent 30 minutes on top before making my way back down to my pack, and a further 15 minutes along the main track to Shelf Camp. I pitched my tent on one of the many flat rocky slabs and enjoyed the views to Mt Anne and Mt Lot. I had an evening of yacks with a guy from Ballarat, named Declan.
|Looking up the road.|
|A trigger plant with a view to Mt Solitary.|
|The goal for the day|
|Looking down the ridge-line.|
|I'm sure this hut has some stories to tell...|
|Atop Mt Eliza looking towards Mt Anne.|
|Approaching the summit.|
|The gap in the spires where one must climb.|
|But, damn! That view is fine!|
|The sun setting on the iconic peak.|
The morning was atmospheric with cloud gathering in the valleys and shooting up the faces of surrounding peaks. By 7:00am it was warm and telling of a hot day to come. Declan was also heading to the same destination as I for the night; Judds Charm, so we decided to walk together. We left camp around 8:30am when more of the low cloud had cleared and the track was more visible. The track followed the high ridge between Eve Peak and Mt Lot, mostly staying on top but occasionally dropping down when the ridge became too difficult. Wonderful views towards Lake Judd and Mt Sarah Jane were gained as we gained closer to the notorious feature, "The Notch". The Notch is a break in the ridge-line that has to be first dropped down to in order go back up to continue along the ridge-line. There is no other easy way to continue without dealing with this steep and in my opinion, fun, challenge. Some groups take ropes to deal with it, however, we managed just fine without. From there the summit of Mt Lot wasn't too far away. One more push up some steep boulders and we were on top! It was a great place to survey the route to come and we had a smashing view of the Lonely Tarns (Judds Charm being one of them), Lots Wife, and Lake Timk. After a 30 minute break atop the peak we started down the amazing Lightning Ridge. The path was narrow in some places, and delightfully fun walking with huge drops on either side. At the base of Lightning Ridge we pushed through a section of Pandani dominated rain-forest before coming out to the Lonely Tarns. Another 30 minutes on and we found a great spot to camp, high on a crest with an amazing view of Mt Lot. We had lunch and then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the sun, swimming in Judds Charm and reading in the shade.
|A foggy morning.|
|But it just adds to the beauty of the place.|
|The ridge towards Mt Lot.|
|Lots Wife in the background, Declan in the fore.|
|Declan about to scale The Notch.|
|Lake Judd from beneath Mt Lot.|
|This Waratah had some tasty nectar.|
|Almost on the summit.|
|The view from Mt Lot, looking towards the Lonely Tarns and Mt Sarah Jane.|
The weather forecast said that this day would be the hottest, so I made an early start and left Declan contently snoozing in his tent. I was walking by 6:15am, heading away from Judds Charm up a low ridge to the plateau that Mt Sarah Jane sits upon. Not a cloud in the sky, and early summer morning heat made for a beautiful walk and I loved every bit of it. The track wound its way around a few more tarns (with some sleeping bushwalkers that I tip-toed passed) and continued on open, Cushion Plant dominated heath. Around an hour after leaving camp I arrived at the junction that heads up Mt Sarah Jane. It proved to be a quick and easy stroll in the morning light, taking only 15 minutes to the summit, mostly over scree. Again, I spent half an hour on the summit before descending to my pack in order to get a move on before the midday heat. The main track soon started to drop off the range steeply, and I lost altitude fast. Soon I was in reasonably thick scrub, but with a well beaten path for my feet to follow. The track opened up into vast Buttongrass plains that were for the most part dry, but quite boggy in the wetter areas. At one stage my left leg went up to the groin in mud! It was nice and cold and I had a good laugh at myself, I would've looked rather silly. It took me about 3 hours from the summit of Mt Sarah Jane back to my bicycle at Red Tape Creek, I was glad to be out before Midday. When I got back to my car, I found it had some writing in the dust on the back window "Let's be friends. My name is Gareth and I am also a forester chicken". I'll take you up on that Gareth! On my way home, as I went through New Norfolk, the temperature was 34 degrees. I was happy not to be in the Buttongrass in that heat!
The Mt Anne Circuit has instantly shot to the top as one of my favourite walks in Tasmania. I am already planning a 5 day trip to the area to explore the North-East Ridge and Lots Wife.
|Early morning on Mt Lot and Mt Anne from my camp.|
|Above the Lonely Tarns.|
|The way to Mt Sarah Jane looks great!|
|Some amazing geology off the north side of MSJ.|
|Looking up to the summit of the last Abel on the circuit.|
|Looking down to Lake Judd, with the Anne River flowing out through the trees.|
|A spectacular summit to sit upon at 7:30am.|
|The bridge crossing the Anne River near the end of the walk.|
|This one's for you, Gareth.|