Tag Archives: Southwest

The Sentinel Range

The original plan of an overnight hike in the snow had unfortunately fallen through (due to there being no snow), and we were then left with a number of day walk options. After much deliberation, we decided it would be a good day to climb The Sentinel Range. We left Hobart early and made our way to the Wedge River Picnic Ground; intermittent rain and low lying cloud made up the majority of the drive along the Gordon River Road.  I had wondered whether the log crossing across the Wedge River would still be there given the amount of the rain over the previous few days- so the backup plan was to drive just past the bridge that crosses the Wedge River and cut up through the button grass to rejoin the track.  Thankfully we were able to cross with dry feet, even though our boots were almost entirely underwater.

From the plains we could see a few hundred metres up the range, before it disappeared in the cloud.  It was evident that it was a steep climb straight up to the ridge, and we wasted no time gaining elevation. Evidence of the bushfire from a few years ago was still all around, however the bright green shoots of new trees and bushes contrasted nicely with the charred ground.   The track is marked with a number of cairns and ribbons, and heads southeast after the first steep climb. A small creek is then traversed, which is likely to be the only constant source of water in the summer months, before climbing straight up along side a huge wall of rock.  The upside of the bushfire is that the view back towards the Gordon Dam is completely uninterrupted.  After 60 minutes we reached the ridge line, and had to have a quick rest after climbing 530m in just 1.4 kms.

The highpoint was still a bit further east, and the ever present cloud made the skinny ridge-line even more impressive. While the views south towards The Coronets and the Lake Pedder impoundment were infrequent, the occasional sight of a broken spectre was a nice surprise. Walking across the ridge was easy given the fire had cleared a lot of the scrub, and the southern side that was not affected showed what it would have been like up here in years past. We reached the summit 20 minutes after hitting the ridge and had some lunch looking over the lake.  On the way back down we a made a small detour to check out what I thought might be a number of waterfalls.  They turned out to be more like waterslides, so I took some photos then rejoined the track just up from the creek.

All up 4.1kms in 3hours and 7 minutes with 668m ascent.

Getting there:  Follow the Gordon River Road for 17.6kms past the Scotts Peak Road turnoff until you reach the Wedge River Picnic Ground. The track starts to the left of the old toilet block and crosses the Wedge River on a fallen log.

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GPS track
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Boggy button-grass plains
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New growth emerging from charred stems
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A creek emerges from beneath a boulder
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Looking back down the track to Lake Gordon
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The view when we reached the ridge
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Stuck in the cloud
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The Sentinel Range highpoint and a skinny ridgeline
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Clouds lift for a moment
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The southern side that was spared by the fire
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Looking west
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The first waterslide
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The second waterslide

 

Mt Weld

Abel #56; 1344m

Mt Weld had been on the to do list for some time; I’d first taken an interest in it while walking along Nevada Peak, and noted it’s apparent isolation around some more well-known mountains and mountain ranges.  The original plan for this week was to traverse the Western Arthurs, but unfortunately a persistent knee injury and a pretty average weather forecast prevented that from happening.

The walk begins at a collapsed bridge on Isabella Creek and follows the South Weld Road for just over a kilometre.  The road then turns sharply to the left and a taped stick in front of a wall of cutting grass indicates the start of the track.  This old bulldozer track is now overgrown with high cutting grass, and a number of fallen trees slow progress.  Between sections of cutting grass the track passes by large eucalypts, as well as a number of small streams.  Overall it is well marked with ribbon and relatively easy to follow to the Trout Lake outlet creek.  This is the last source of decent water for a while so it is recommended to fill up here before starting the long climb.

Once the Trout Lake outlet creek has been traversed, the track then passes briefly through some horizontal forest before climbing very steeply through  Tea Tree and Dogwood forests and along a ridge line.  There is no defined track for most of this section and locating the next coloured ribbon can be tricky at times. As you climb higher, large eucalyptus are replaced by old myrtles and sassafras, and before long pandani and snow gums begin to appear.  This is probably the worst section of track as it is very overgrown and poorly marked; we spent a character-building hour or so pushing through bauera, scoparia and pandani while still climbing up towards the campsite.  Eventually the track levels off, before dropping slightly to a nice alpine moor with a number of small ponds.  From here the coloured ribbons disappear, and you need to follow a faint pad across the moorland. Views of Trout Lake and the skeletal remains of snowgum are a nice change from the scrub that made up the last hour of walking.

The plan here is to walk (in a south westerly direction) towards the outlet creek of the unnamed tarn above Trout Lake.  As far as I could tell, there was no distinct pad from here and we just followed the clearest line up towards the tarn along the creek.  The western side of the creek seems to be more open-however the rocks are slippery when wet.  Once up on the plateau, there are a number of decent camp sites on the southern side of the tarn.  After a wet, scrubby climb we decided to have some dinner before heading up to the summit for sunset. As outlined in the Abels Vol.2, head up on the northern end of the creek outlet and follow the easiest route up towards the eastern highpoint. We came across a few cairns along the way, but for the most part we just followed the most obvious path along the boulders.  As we climbed higher we were treated with a light show from the fading sun trying to pierce through the cloud. Rays of light lit up parts of the Anne group and the Gallagher Plateau, as well as the Western Arthurs. To reach the summit you need to drop back down along a nice, but windy, alpine plateau before a short climb to the summit of Mt Weld.  Remnants of an old trig were scattered around the highpoint, and unfortunately the clouds rolled in just as we reached the top.   We then walked back to our camp and settled in for the night.

My alarm was set early to catch the sunrise, but the cloud was so thick that I didn’t get to see anything and opted to stay in bed.  Intermittent rain and strong gusts of wind were another good reason to stay in the tent longer than planed.  A break in the rain gave us enough time to pack up and cook some breakfast in the cold before heading back down the way we came.

Walking back  was a pretty painful affair as my supposedly good knee must have had enough of making up for the dodgy one and decided to go about 10 minutes after leaving camp.  I resorted to walking down backwards on the steeper sections as I couldn’t bend it all and was forced to drag it over the numerous obstacles strewn across the track.  The last few kms through the cutting grass weren’t much better as the lack of foot lifting meant that I would constantly get snagged on loose strands.  Apart from that it was an excellent trip and lived up to the expectations.  Unfortunately I will have to take some time off doing some of the more strenuous walks as I wait for surgery on my knee,  it might be a good chance to go and check out some waterfalls or buy a packraft…

Getting there: Follow direction as outlined in the Reuben Falls Post.

All up 23.3kms with 1511m ascent.

Carpark to Trout Lake outlet creek crossing – 4.8kms in just under 2 hours.

Creek crossing to campsite on unnamed tarn – 5.2kms in ~4 hours

Campsite to summit – 1.4kms in 1 hour

Campsite to carpark – 10.2kms in a painful 6 hour and 15 minutes

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Heading into the cutting grass. Emily in her anti-leech fortress.
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The final creek before the climb.
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Horizontal.
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The track through bauera, scoparia and all other things nice.
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Small tarn on the plateau.
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First view of Trout Lake.
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The outlet creek from unnamed tarn.
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Setting up camp.
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Unnamed tarn and our campsite.
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Pineapple grass below a rocky outcrop

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Looking towards the Jubilee Range.
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Looking back towards our campsite.
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Last rays of light on Weld Ridge.
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Looking over the Western Arthurs and Anne group.
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The south eastern highpoint from near the summit.
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Blue light on the way back down.

Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff

Well-over a month had passed since the previous walk in Tas, and we were keen to get some longer days in before attempting Ossa in a day.  Originally we were thinking about heading to Lake St Clair and climbing Rufus, Hugel and maybe Little Hugel, depending on the time; but we ended up canning that idea and sticking to something a bit closer to home.

We had attempted to summit Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff on a very wet and windy day last winter (Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff (almost) , but were forced to turn around at Square Tarn due to blizzard like conditions and a very high chance of walking back in the dark if we had kept going.  This day was a much more enjoyable 23 degrees, with light winds and barely any cloud cover, and I was keen to see what the area actually looked like.

We arrived at the the track just after 9:00am and left the car at 9:25am.  The start of the track follows an old logging track that is now overgrown with cutting grass and other small trees, before making its way into the bush after about 5 minutes.  From here, its basically straight up through the forest and over a bunch of fallen trees-but for the most part, it is easy to follow. Additionally, it looks as though someone has been through fairly recently and retagged the route with pink ribbon.  After about 50 minutes the forest starts to thin out and you can start to see Mt Picton across the valley.  This area is mainly heathland, with a track running through the middle. When we were here last in winter, that same track was basically a knee high creek and we were forced to wade through it;  this time there was a significantly less water, and apart from a few large bog holes we managed to stay relatively dry.  It is a bit scrubby through here though, so a long sleeve shirt and pants isn’t a bad idea-but it is over fairly quickly.

It was then onto the first plateau, where the scrub clears up and pad makes its way towards Square Tarn.  This is one of my favourite sections, as not only is it full of wild flowers but on one side you can see Mt Chapman and Mt Picton, while on the other side you can see Hartz, Esperance, Adamson’s and Bobs.  Large rock formations begin to appear, and the track takes you right along the side of one before reaching a small and hard to see junction.  We decided to head to Square Tarn to refill our drink bottles and have a quick snack; this was a good idea, as there was very little water for the rest of the walk apart from a few stagnant ponds on Abrotanella Rise.   Two hours had passed since we left the car and we now had to make our way up to the saddle.  I had heard that there was a faint pad that heads up from Square Tarn and rejoins the main track on the left hand side of Abrotanella Rise; we managed to find some sort of track but ended up having to scrub bash our way back across.  I would recommend back tracking to the junction and heading up from there to avoid any unnecessary scrub.

About halfway up, the track pretty much disappears and it’s up to you to find the easiest way up on the southern side. We reached the top of Abrotanella 40 minutes after leaving Square Tarn then headed south to climb Burgess Bluff first.  The walking here was easy and we were careful not to tread on the hundreds of flowers and cushion plants that dot the area.  I later found out that a number of the landmarks around here are named after the abundant flora that grow in the area; for example abrotanella is the genus of cushion plants, Pineapple Flat is named after Pineapple Grass (Astelia alpina) and Hewardia Ridge is named after the Tasmanian Purple Star (Isophysis tasmanica), which is also called Hewardia.

We first made our way across Anderson Bluff to avoid the scrub on the eastern side, then found a cairned route across to the summit of Burgess Bluff.  We had some lunch and took in the views of Mt Bobs and PB to the south and Federation Peak to the south west.  It was then back the way we came, and across Abrotanella Rise to the base of Mt Chapman.  We passed a number of nice spots to camp below the rocky scree on the southern face of Mt Chapman, but unfortunately there is almost no water near here in the dryer months and it would require carrying what you need up from Square Tarn.  We came across a cairned route about halfway up Chapman but overall it was an easy rock hop to the top.  Looking north-west from the summit you could see all the way up to The Thumbs and Mt Field West, but it was Mt Weld that really caught my eye.  On the way back down we bypassed Square Tarn and took the much quicker, direct route across the plateau.

All up: 19.2kms in a leisurely 8hours and 12 minutes with 1134m ascent and plenty of stops for photos.

Carpark to Square Tarn – 5.4kms in 2:20.

Square Tarn to Abrotanella Rise – 1.2kms in 36min.

Abrotanella Rise to Burgess Bluff (via Anderson Bluff) – 2.2kms in 53min.

Burgess Bluff to Mt Chapman – 3.2kms in 1:15.

Mt Chapman to Carpark – 7.1kms in 2:32

 

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GPS route.
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Christmas Bells everywhere as we leave the forest.
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Still some water on the track as we enter the heath.
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Mt Picton from across the valley.
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The scrubby section.
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Mt Chapman from the first plateau.
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Interesting rock formation.  The track passes right beside one of these.
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Looking back from where we came.
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Reflections on Square Tarn.
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Snack spot by Square Tarn.
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In the scrub after leaving Square tarn.
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Mt Chapman from Abrotanella Rise.
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Looking at Burgess Bluff, Mt Bobs and Precipitous Bluff from Anderson Bluff.
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Lunch on Burgess Bluff.  Federation Peak behind.
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Federation Peak.
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Heading back up Anderson Bluff, Lake Burgess behind.
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Cushion plants on Abrotanella Rise.
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Mt Chapman.

 

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Nice camp spots below Mt Chapman, but no fresh water nearby.
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Looking back at Anderson Bluff and Burgess Bluff from Mt Chapman.
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A wedgie joins us on the summit.
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Tasmanian Purple Star (Hewardia) – Isophysis tasmanica
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Lake Burgess.

 

Mt Mueller

Mt Mueller; 1245m; Abel# 87

I had read mixed reviews about this walk, but it turned out to be up there with one of the best day walks I’ve done recently.  Maybe that was due to the fact it was sunny and we did not require head-to-toe wet weather gear; after the last few peaks, I had almost forgotten what it was like to walk in good weather.

After spending the night at the Edgar Campground on the Scotts Peak Dam Road, we made our way back east to climb Mt Mueller.  We arrived at the carpark around 8am and were ready to head off at quarter past.  Initially the track is a bit boggy and pretty overgrown.  This only lasts for about 20 minutes, and before long the old bulldozer track opens up and makes for some nice walking.  Once you can see Fossil Lake you need to keep an eye out for a cairned route on the right hand side that takes you down to the lake.  Almost 1 hour later we had reached Fossil Lake, where we had a short break and refilled our water bottles.  Note that this is probably the last place to get easily accessible fresh water, especially in the warmer months.  The track continues from the North Western side of the lake and makes it up towards the peak above.  There were still a few large snow drifts left over from the heavy dumps a week or so ago.   We reached the top of the ridge 40 minutes later, then made our way across the top towards the summit of Mt Mueller.

Towards the south, low level clouds had blocked our view of any of the nearby peaks, with the exception of the very tip of Mt Anne.  This was not the case on the northern side of the ridge, as we could see all the way up the Gordon Valley.  The ridge line then drops down to the saddle before heading up one last time to reach the true highpoint.  We reached the top 2 hours and 45 minutes after leaving the carpark, then spent the next 45minutes eating lunch and taking in the view.  Luckily the cloud to the south had passed and we could now see all the way down to Federation and PB.  Luckily the wind had dropped and we were able to check out some of the more exposed rock ledges around the summit.  We then made our way back to the Fossil Lake and down to the car.

All up 12.1kms in 5hours and 45 minutes with about an hour and a half worth of stops.  1336m ascent.

Getting there: Follow directions towards Mt Field National Park and continue past Maydena. Take the right turn onto Florentine Road then about 100m take another right onto Styx Road (direction Big Styx Reserve).  Follow this road for a few kilometres until you reach Mueller Road.  The gate across the road should be open from this end but not from the Scotts Peak Dam Road end.  Drive along Mueller Road for 4.8kms and take a right down an unnamed spur road.  Follow this spur road and take the first left.  A few hundred metres up there will be a car park on the left and the track begins 20m further up the road, as indicated by some orange tape.

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Heading to Fossil lake.  The eastern summit of Mt Mueller.
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Fossil Lake.
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The name checks out.
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Another angle.
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Large snow drifts.
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Mt Mueller summit from the ridge.
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Our view south.  Mt Anne poking out.
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The needles on the right.  The Thumbs and Reeds Peak centre left and Wylds Craig far right.
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The saddle to the true highpoint.
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The Needles and Tim Shea.  Mt Field West on the right.
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Looking south from the summit.
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Looking back from where we came.
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Looking south, Anne still has some snow.  Federation and PB out the back on the left.
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Looking towards the Gordon Dan from halfway up the saddle.
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Fossil Lake from above.

 

Mt Riveaux

It was Sunday and our first mountain in “Spring”;  showers were forecast, as well as possible snow around 1200m.  We had decided to do Mt Riveaux as it was only around 845m in elevation and had been on the to-do list for a while.  There wasn’t that much information on this walk, but we were expecting to reach a locked gate and then have a ~3km road walk followed by a decent climb, which would take around 3 hours to get to the top.

After a few stops in Huonville and Geeveston we eventually made our way to the start of the track on Riveaux Road,  where we reached the gate and I decided to check to see if it was actually locked.  Luckily it wasn’t, which meant that we could drive almost all the way to start of the track and avoid the annoying road walk.  Unfortunately, there were a number of small trees across the road and they took some time to move so that we could drive under, over or around them.  We also wasted some time wandering around the bush where we saw some pink ribbons, thinking it was the start of the Mt Riveaux Track. As it turned out, the ribbons led nowhere so we continued driving down the road until we reached another gate, which was definitely locked.  It didn’t matter however, as the actual start of the Mt Riveaux track was only 50m past the gate on the left hand side.

The first part climbs steeply through some very nice rainforest full of large man-ferns, lichen and moss covered sassafras trees.  The gradient then lessens and the forests opens up;  there is no defined track for the majority of this walk, just a decent number of ribbons guide the way.  In saying that, we did find ourselves searching for the next ribbon a few times, especially in the areas where a lot of trees have come down-which can be said for most of the track.  Forty-five minutes in and we were completely soaked; the rain wasn’t heavy but it was consistent, and the constant brushing up against wet bushes and fallen logs didn’t give us much chance to stay dry.  Emily decided to try and walk over the slipperiest looking log in the entire Southwest NP and ended up slipping sideways-unfortunately I didn’t get to see the fall, but I did manage to get a photo of how she landed before she picked herself up as if nothing had happened.

As you get closer to the top, the bauera takes over and makes it a bit harder to find the correct path.   The last section before the summit is a pretty fun zig zag between large boulders, as well as a couple of short climbs up a short rocky face. Exactly 2 and a half hours after leaving the car, we popped out of the top and were confronted with some very strong winds which almost blew the beanie right off my head.  We spent the next 15 minutes layering up and taking some photos, before heading straight back down to the car which we reached after 2 hours and 5 minutes .

This was definitely not the longest or steepest day walk we have done, but it was probably the most annoying.  There are a lot of fallen trees and slippery slopes that make it seem like you are constantly stepping over or crawling under something.

All up 7.1kms in 5 hours including some short breaks, and 682m ascent.

Getting there:  Follow the Arve Road out towards the Tahune Airwalk.  Just before the Airwalk, take the left onto Picton Road and stay right at the fork.  Cross the bridge over the Picton River and take the second right onto Riveaux Road (the first right takes you to the Huon/YoYo Track).  Follow Riveaux Road until you reach a boom gate; either park your car here, or if it’s unlocked continue along this road for a couple of kms without taking any of the side roads.  You will eventually reach a second gate and what is basically the end of the road.  Continue past the gate for about 50m and you will see a bunch of ribbons indicating the start of the track

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GPS track of the walk.
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The beginning of the track.
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Large man ferns on the way up.
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Emily racing up the hill.
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“Having a rest”
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A bit of bog before the bauera.
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Popping out near the summit.
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Looking towards Red Rag Scarp and Blakes Opening
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View from the summit.
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A rainbow appears as we drop back down into the forest.

Reuben Falls

Today had been set aside to join a PWC walk to Mt Blackwood and Sandbanks Tier; unfortunately the weather forecast was pretty miserable and the walk was canceled.  Still keen to head out for the day, we decided to head south and check out some spots around the Weld River and Reuben Falls.

The first stop was to visit the Weld and Huon River junction.  To get there, we drove down a 4WD track next to Eddy Road, but we quickly reached a point where I could drive no further and we continued the rest of the way by foot.  There is no track to the rivers but the bush is easy enough to navigate and fairly open.

We then drove across the Weld River and along South Weld Road until we reached the giant sinkhole, and the start of the Reuben Falls track.  On a side note, this is also the start of the walk to Mt Weld. Although the sign says 70 minutes return, the walk to the falls is only about 10 or 15 minutes along, and follows Isabella Creek before dropping steeply down to the base of Reuben Falls.  We spent the next hour or so walking around the upper and lower sections of the falls taking pictures, and looking at the fossils that can be found in the rocks at the base of the falls..

On our way back out we made a quick detour to check out the lookout on Glovers Bluff. Unfortunately this highpoint had been used to roll tyres down to the plains below and somewhat spoiled the view.

Overall, it was a very easy day with minimal walking-but it was still nice to be out in the bush.  Hopefully the next time we are out here is to walk to Mt Weld.

Getting there:  Access to South Weld Road from the Airwalk has been blocked off due to road damage so the only way to Reuben Falls is via Southwood Road.  We drove in via Lonnavale and continued along Denison and Southwood road then took the first right past the entrance to the Southwood mill.  This road is called Eddy Road on the 1:25000 TASMAP maps but is unnamed on google maps.  Continue along this road and cross over the Weld River bridge until you reach a T intersection with South Weld Road.  Turn right at this intersection and follow South Weld Road until the end of the road and the start of the Rueben Falls Track.  To access Glovers Bluff, take the first right on South Weld Road and stay left at the fork.

 

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Flowering heath.
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The obstacle.
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The Weld and Huon meet.
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The track down to Reuben Falls
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Approaching the waterfall.
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Checking out the falls.

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The lower section.

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Isabella Creek
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The end of the road.

Mt Wedge

Abel#124; 1147m

We had originally set this day aside to walk into Adamsons Falls, onto Creekton Falls and finally down to Duckhole Lake in the state’s south.  The night before, a friend had pulled out and the weather forecast had improved-so we changed our mind early that morning and decided to climb Mt Wedge.

Driving out past Maydena for the second time in two weeks, we were again pleased to see snow-capped peaks on the southern end of Mt Field National Park.  The closer we got to Lake Pedder, the more snow we saw.

To begin with, the walk starts in nice and relatively flat rainforest, with a number of signs indicating plant species.  This changes to a short section of cutting grass and then it’s onto the road next to the powerlines that carry electricity from the Gordon Dam to Hobart.  Be sure to turn left when you reach the road and follow it for about 5 minutes.  On your right, you will notice the start of the track winding its way up through the forest.  The first section is rather pleasant; a decent creek with easy access to water marks the beginning of what is a fairly decent and continuous climb to the top.  From here its about 2.7kms to the top with a 740m ascent.  Not much else to say really, except there are a number of trees that are over the track-but in general it is very easy to follow.  There is a slight change in gradient just before leaving the forest but this doesn’t provide much of a chance to rest the legs.

Once you are out of the forest and into the smaller alpine trees and shrubs, you quickly forget about the first part and you focus your attention on the amazing view of nearby peaks and ranges, as well as Lake Gordon.  Initially, the Sentinel and Frankland Ranges catch your eye; but the higher you climb, the more mountains are revealed and by the time you reach the summit you get a full panoramic view of The Snowy Range, Mt Field West,  The Anne group,  The Western Arthurs, Wylds Craig and Reeds Peak, The Sawback Range, The Thumbs, The Spires, Mt Wright and Stepped Hills.. the list goes on.  I would highly recommend doing this walk when you can be sure that you will not be stuck in the clouds.  Although the skies weren’t blue, we were lucky enough to be there on an overcast but clear day-and to top it off there was also a decent amount of snow.

All up 7.3kms in 3hours and 47 minutes including 1hour for lunch and couple of short breaks on the way up. 792m ascent.

Getting there: Follow the Gordon River Road past the turnoff to Scotts Peak Dam.   Ten minutes after the turnoff you will enter the Mt Wedge Forest Reserve.  The carpark is the first left after the Mt Wedge Forest Reserve Sign.

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Sign by the carpark.
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Easy walking at the start.
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Mycena interrupta – Pixies Parasol
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The powerlines near the start of the walk.
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Emily thought this looks like an old man.
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Old myrtle forest.
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A bit of snowmelt coming down the track.
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Looks poisonous.

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Out of the scrub. The first of many false summits.
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The steep part out of the scrub.
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Stepped Hills, Mt Wright and The Thumbs.  Wylds Craig way out back.
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Great view of Lake Gordon.
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Approaching the summit.
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Mt Anne and the Eliza Plateau.
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Looking back towards Lake Gordon and the emergency services telecommunications.
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At the top.
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Emily on the summit.
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Brain freeze.
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Emily threw a snowball and slipped.
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The Western Arthurs.  Mt Solitary in the foreground.
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The Sentinel Range in front and Frankland Range behind.
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On the way back down.
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Mt Wedge from further along The Gordon River Road.
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The Gordon Dam.
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Looking down the wall of the dam.
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Refections on Lake Pedder.