Mt La Perouse
With high hopes for completing the Southern Ranges with beautiful weather, I set off on the walk in the far south of Tasmania after the 4.5 hour drive to the start of the track. The Beginning of the track up Moonlight Ridge follows an old train line to a quarry site near Mystery Cave. There was plenty of signs of old building sites, peppered with old bits of iron, boots, and glass jars. By 9:30am I left the quarry behind and was walking up the track, gaining elevation steadily and listening to the cries of many Lyrebirds. The track headed through wet Eucalyptus forest, with a base of Lime Stone, studded with small caves and interesting features. After a few hours I poked out on the broad, somewhat flat, ridge near Bullfrog Tarns. The area around me had been burnt out a few seasons ago, and the going from there was easy. It was at this point that the first views of the range came into focus, and it looked wonderful.
Another hour of steady going and I was sitting underneath the crest of Hill 1 for lunch. Some wonderfully made track took me along the south-west facing ridge for the next few hours, passing Hill 2, 3, and 4, before finally delivering me to the splendid camping at Pigsty Ponds. As I was coming through one of the scrubbier areas around Hill 2, I broke one of my boots pretty dramatically... I had plenty of time to sit around camp, having arrived just after 2:00pm. I had a swim, brewed a coffee and read as the sun began to slowly go down. Unfortunately, I was also having those recent feelings of anxiety as I went to sleep.
|A bygone era.|
|The ground looked quite beautiful.|
|Heading up the ridge.|
|A fire-swept landscape.|
|Looking along the Hills towards the Southern Ranges.|
|Mt La Perouse.|
I awoke to a beautiful sunrise. But still was struggling with my head space. I packed up and moved out by 7:00am, and within 15 minutes I was at the junction to Mt La Perouse. From here I headed up, which only took about 40 minutes. The summit was spectacularly flat, having not lost its sandstone cap from glaciation like so many of our Dolorite peaks. I walked to the eastern side of the summit and looked down at the amazing Swallows Nest Lakes, and then took shelter from the brisk morning wind behind the huge summit cairn. From here, due to my emotional issues and my (now even more) broken boot, I decided to turn around. I do hugely regret this move, but it felt right at the time.
I headed back down Moonlight Ridge to my car.
|Morning over Pigsty Ponds.|
|The wind is powerful. Natures topiary.|
|The iconic summit cairn. Looking to Pindars Peak... Another time.|