Jeremy; a friend of Nick's from The Netherlands, was visiting Tasmania after hearing many tales of her beauty. Nick suggested that we all head to the Western Arthurs, they would do the traditional Moraine A through to Moraine K loop and I would spend an extra few days heading up the Eastern Arthurs to grab my remaining Abel there, The Needles.
We woke up nice and early at the Huon campsite near Scotts Peak Dam so we could set off early and make the most of a good day ahead. The first few muddy hours were spend walking south to the junction of the McKays Track and the Port Davey Track, at the aptly named Junction Creek. We had a quick rest before heading on towards the notorious Moraine A. It is a large glacial moraine with a defined edge, making for a very user friendly access to the Western Arthur range which looms some 900m above the plains. Around half way up the moraine we stopped for lunch and watched a helicopter drop in new toilet pods at the campsites along the range. Exciting! An hour after lunch we made it to the ridge where the terrain and path become ever so joyous. Beautifully laid stones made for a gorgeous stroll all the way to out first camp at Lake Cygnus, nestled beneath the twisted Capella Crags. We spent the evening enjoying the beautiful, but cold surrounds. Having some great chats while eating dinner. I went to bed in my new Mountain Designs tent early, feeling a bit under the weather...
|Couple of larrikins.|
|Nick looks so happy to be wallowing in the mud!|
|Jeremy crossing Junction Creek.|
|Heli-ops! New loos for us!|
|Nearing Moraine A.|
|Half way up the moraine.|
|Such a beautiful path!|
|That geology! So cool!|
|Get up, come on get down to Lake Cygnus.|
BUGGER! I woke up with a full on virus. Horridly bad throat, headache, joints aching, the works. It was a beautiful day, and I was in a quandary. I thought it would be best to either have a rest day, or head back to Junction Creek. But, the option of the short walk to Lake Oberon and 3 Abels along the way was too tempting. We left camp around 9:30am, and within an hour we were at the base of Mt Hayes, a short 10 minute side-trip off the main path. We shot up and were rewarded with a glorious view of the day to come. Once back at the packs it was onward towards Square Lake where we had lunch. The deep glacial lake sits below Mt Orion and offers a fantastic view to the next two Abels on the traverse. After lunch it was an uphill push to the saddle between Square Lake and Lake Oberon (the iconic photos of the lake are taken from this area). I was absolutely knackered by this point, having never felt like I'd struggled this much on a walk before, but the short return trips up the two nearby Abels pulled on me. We first went up Mt Sirius, which has one of the best views along the range. With Lake Oberon below and the view stretching towards Fedders, this was a good place to show Jeremy. Once back at the saddle, Nick and I went up Mt Orion, while Jeremy went down to camp for a swim. Orion was, again, an easy side trip with a spectacular view. Nick and I stayed atop him for a while, talking and enjoying the sun. We then slowly made our way down to the lake, where after a quick swim, I promptly fell in a heap. Worth it.
|Mt Hayes in the morning sun.|
|Let's go up there!|
|Jeremy's first Abel!|
|The next goal, Mt Sirius.|
|Looking back up towards Hayes.|
|Nearing Square Lake.|
|Oberon from the summit of Sirius. A great vantage point.|
|The timeless Lake Oberon.|
|Mt Orion summit has an amazing view, too!|
The weather report suggested that we were in for a few bad days. The track conditions beyond Oberon do become more difficult, and as I felt I was worsening I gave myself two options. Have a rest day at Oberon, or start heading out. I decided to start heading out, as the weather in the morning wasn't as bad as we expected. We said our goodbyes as Nick and Jeremy headed along to High Moor and I went back along the range in the mist, cloud, and rain. I took it slowly, and eventually made it back down off the range and camped at Junction Creek. I got in my tent and did nothing but read and drink water.
I awoke feeling the worst yet, so I smashed some pain-killers and some water and plodded out. It was an uneventful and muddy walk out. I was on the track early, and didn't even see anyone! I felt really upset that I didn't achieve what I had set out to do, but I believe it was the right decision and I am keenly looking forward to getting back in the Arthurs.