As some of you may know, I am lucky to be able to bushwalk for a living as a tour guide. The company I work for (Tasmanian Walking Company a.k.a Cradle Huts) has recently put on a new role at Pelion Plains as a Hut Host, where someone walks in the Arm River and looks after groups that come down the overland. This gives the guides some time off on their third night and forth morning. I was half way through a 7 day hut host shift when a night came where no group would arrive at the hut; I had a night off baby! And, my ankle is healing really, really well.
After fare-welling a group and finishing all my morning duties around the hut, I quickly packed my bag for an impromptu mission. The weather forecast had said that there would be rain on my period of time with no groups, but I brought my overnight walking gear just in case. As luck would have it the front passed over early and it was a beautiful day! I left the hut around 10am, and headed north up the overland, passing the New Pelion Hut. After 30 minutes of walking I reached the small notch in a tree, painted yellow, that denotes the Mt Thetis Track. Having done this track a few times I didn't really rely too much on following the track, as the going through the forest isn't hard. An hour after leaving the hut I was on the open coral fern shoulder that leads up towards Paddys Nut. The walk from there to the top of Mt Thetis only took another 90 minutes, and was really enjoyable. I had some lunch on Mt Thetis, and surveyed my route for the afternoon. After that short break, I headed off towards the steep and narrow ridge that drops off the western side of Mt Thetis to Leonards Tarn, bashing through the final scrubby section before reaching the idyllic campsites at the tarn. I set up my tent beneath some shady Fagus and had another short snack break.
At 2:30pm I headed off from my tent to go climb some mountains. I clambered around the south eastern slope of Mt Achilles to a chute of loose scree that made for quick access to the top, and made the summit only half an hour after leaving the tent. I was so happy to be on a mountain, in good health, and in good weather. And to have another one to look forward to that afternoon? Well... I had about 15 minutes of summit time (shorter than I would've liked, but I didn't know how long I'd need to Perrins and return) before heading down towards the saddle between the two Abels. It was lovely walking through the low herb field and scoparia, with a few tarns studded here and there. I went wide to the west of the first knoll of Perrins, keeping below the rocky ridge, and above the snowgum forest. I found a good point to rise to the ridge after a few hundred meters and came out just north of the low saddle in the ridge. I looked south to the summit, and it looked lovely. From there I followed cairns that took me on the west side, and then east side of the ridge, before delivering me at the summit at about 4:45pm. Not a breath of wind. Perfect. I spent about 40 minutes on the summit, knowing I had plenty of time to get back to the tent before dark. On the walk back, I sidled right beneath Mt Achilles and walked through some beautiful open grassy areas, a sight to behold.
I slept well that night.
|Good morning to be out and about, ay mate.|
|Mt Oakleigh through the trees.|
|Paddys Nut and Mt Thetis.|
|Atop Mt Thetis, looking towards Mt Achilles.|
|My campsite, with Perrins Bluff behind.|
|The summit of Mt Achilles.|
|Such a great view!|
|Looking up towards Perrins Bluff.|
|The narrow ridge to the top.|
|Great little summit cairn.|
|Beautiful snaking ridge.|
I awoke at 6:30am and was packed and ready to go by 7:00am. I was unsure of how long it would take me to get down, so I wanted to give myself as much time as I could before I had to start work again at 2pm. I followed the outlet creek of Leonards Tarn, first following a rough pad, but losing that as the scrub got thicker. No matter, I just had to follow the water. I descended steadily as the creek got bigger when more water joined it. Ducking in and out of Buttongrass and Bauera fields, and rainforest, the walking was lovely and swift. After another larger creek joined the one I was following a large canon became the focus of my interest, with many amazing waterfalls hiding between thick trunks of Horizontal and Myrtle. Soon I came to the confluence of the Forth River and the creek I had been following, and from there the water became more calm and broad, and walking along the bank was easier with taller trees abundant. I joined the Overland Track at Frog Flats after only 2 hours of walking from Leonards Tarn. By 10am I was back at the hut, having a glass of black current juice, some sliced pineapple, and a shower. All with a stupidly big smile on my face at how much fun I'd just had.
|Mt Oakleigh in the morning fog.|
|One of the many waterfalls.|
|I meet the mighty Forth.|