Thursday, 30 November 2017

Mt Ida

29th - 30th November 2017

Mt Ida

Day 1
Nick and I started paddling the kayaks on the glass like waters of Leeawuleena (Lake St Clair) at 9am, after driving up from Launceston at the crack of dawn. This was a trip we'd wanted to do for ages, so it was wonderful to be finally doing it, and in such crackin' weather! The first part to our day was to paddle two thirds of the way up the west side of the lake to Echo Point. Here we had a leg stretch, and caught up with a friend/track ranger who'd just finished his shift. We then had to cross to the eastern shore of the lake, and having chosen our destination from the jetty at Echo Point it took about 20 minutes to get there. We made land about 700m south-east of Ida Bay in a small, south facing bay, with a beautiful beach. We set up the tents, had some lunch, and found a good place in the water to cool down some beers. By 12:30pm we were heading into the bush for Mt Ida.

The walk was simple, just head north-east, and go up hill! The summit of Ida was only about 1.5km from where we had the tents and the walking was delightful. To start with there was majestic rainforest with straight Myrtles, peppered with some Sassafras, and ferns. This lead steadily through a small line of sandstone cliffs before the scrubbier vegetation was reached higher up. This was still very light by comparison to many other places, though. Most of the time we could weave between the Tea Trees and Scoparia bushes with ease. Soon enough we had the tower of Mt Ida looming above us, and it was a matter of heading left till we picked up a very well cairned route through some scrubby scree, and the final push up Ida. We reached summit in just over an hour from the water. The view was amazing! Looking back towards the Walls of Jerusalem, with the crumbling cliffs of the Traveller Range, and it's associated lakes was particularly beautiful. And of course, the stand out feature was the beautiful big lake we'd just come from, with Mt Olympus looming tall above. We spent at least 45 minutes on the summit, before the thought of a swim in the lake became too tantalising!

We followed the cairns as far as we could, and then made a bee line for the lake. Again, very easy navigation, although we did manage to hit a few patches of scrubber bush on the way down. As soon as we got to the lake we cracked out a beer and jumped in the warm waters. We spent the afternoon enjoying the view, the brew, the water, and a lot of 'Hitty Rock Thong' (a game involving Nick, Zane, a body of water, many small stones, and a thong [flip-flop for you yanks]).

Water like glass.

Such a classic mountain!

Heading up the lake.

Echo Point Hut.

Our little bay for the night.

Myrtle Orange's.

Warratah looking sublime.

Mt Ida peeping through the trees.

Nick doin' his thing.

The view from the summit was mint!

Hello Mr Lizard!

Some cheeky craft.

Day 2
Sleeping in till about 7am, watching the sun rise on Mt Olympus, listening to the birds. Not too bad. We packed slowly and were in the kayaks before 8am. The paddling wasn't as smooth as the previous day, but the wind was blowing in our favour. We kept to the eastern shore, which was interesting to see so close up. A lot of thick bush in there. With the aid of the wind, we were back at the visitor centre in just under 2 hours! The inevitable Hungry Wombat pilgrimage followed.

I'll be back again for sure!

19 left.


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

King William Range

19th - 21st November 2017

Slatters Peak
Mt King William II

Day 1
Chevi and I left Launceston at 3:30pm for the 3 hour drive to Lake King William. Our plan for this jaunt into the wilderness was to kayak across a section of the lake and set up camp, giving us a full day up on the range to enjoy the walking. We drove to the same place we put the kayaks in when we went to Mt Hobhouse, and found the water level in the lake (it is a Hydro lake, and dammed, so the water level can fluctuate) full to capacity, unlike last time. A wee bit before 7pm we were in the kayaks and on the beautifully calm water. We only had to paddle 4km to the point where we'd set up camp, and before long we were set up in the tent and playing Rummikub!

Getting the Kayaks ready for an evening cruise.

The northern section of the King William Range.

Camp, sweet camp.

Day 2
A 6am alarm woke us, making sure we'd have plenty of time for the day's activities. We feasted on baked beans, packed our gear, and were walking by 7am. First we had to get to the western most point of the lake, where the Divide Creek flows into the lake. This was over small buttongrass and scrub that looked recently burnt. Once at the end of the lake, we kept heading up the valley (as the Abels book describes) till the summit of Slatters Peak was directly on our left. At a suitable point we jumped into the Banksia scrub and started our 600m vertical climb. We found a really good route though the bush, and while scrubby, nothing slowed us down too much. We passed through the usual bands of vegetation, taking a bit under 2 hours to get to the alpine Snow Gums that denoted easier walking ahead. We were soon on a boulder field strewn at the feet of Slatters Peak, and from there it was a short but steep push to the summit. We reached the summit by 10:30am, and soaked in the amazing views.

From the summit of Slatters, we headed 30 minutes onward to Lake Anne. A beautiful shallow lake, surrounded with Fagus and alpine herbfields. I left Chevi here, as it would be an 8km return walk to the Abel of King William II and she wanted to chill in the beautiful environment. While I was gone, she busied herself taking photos and rescuing butterflies from Sundews! I hot-footed it, taking full advantage of the open and beautiful range. The lack of Scoparia has inspired poetry from some bushwalking clubs, and I agreed that I could happily spend a few days on the range exploring. But I was on a mission, passing the named Mt King William II for the higher point some 1.5km further south. When I reached the top I was rewarded with a great view of the Spires, Prince of Wales, and Algonkian Mountain. From Lake Anne, to the Abel, and back again took me 2 hours. After a quick break by the lakeside, we headed back down over Slatters Peak, picking a slightly scrubbier decent down to Divide Creek. Once back at camp at about 5:30pm we took full advantage of the lake and swam for a good 20 minutes! What a way to end a big day!!

King William I in the morning.

Walking up the Divide.

A Tasmanian Waratah looking beautiful.

This is a fine example of the vegetation we were walking through.

Chevi being all smiles as we open out into boulder fields.

On the summit of Slatters Peak!
Lake Anne - Photo thanks to Chev.

A Macleay's Swallowtail - Photo thanks to Chev.

Looking to the King William II high point.

On the Abel! Looking at the Prince of Wales Range... No Abels there.

Heading back over Slatters Peak.

Looking down to the lake.

Beautiful evening.

Day 3
Sleeping in was the order of the morning, listening to the birds in bed is always delightful. We slowly packed up our gear and stuffed it into the kayaks. The water was like glass and we intended to take our time paddling back to the car. We slowly made our way, following the shore, delighting in what we saw on shore, as well as just beneath the kayaks. The submerged logs made for an eerie feeling! We paddled to at least 2 hours before we came upon the car and ended our day. It was a perfect way to end the trip.

Look at that water!!

Chev being a boss kayaker.

A nice place to be on a Tuesday morning.

Slatters Peak bids us farewell.

20 left.