April 14, 2002

Mt Charles

Marian Harradine
Sunday, 14th April, 02.
19 km return, 5hrs 20 min taken.
We were going to climb Mt Picton, but as we were on the way to Huonville, we noticed the mountain tops were hanging in cloud and decided to leave it for another day.
Our next bet was to climb Mt Charles and Mt Patrick, but by the time we got to Myrtle Forest it was a bit late for the two so we aimed to climb Mt Charles.
We left Myrtle Forest at 12.20, and got to the Collins' Cap turn off after the second creek crossing after about 18 minutes.
At 12.49 after another 500 metres of steep climbing, we got to the 4WD track, Collin's Cap trail and turning left, walked for 20 minutes to the junction and turned right into East West Trail at 1.09.
As we got to the bottom of the decline there is a Y junction, the main left trail goes to a turnoff to Mountain River and on past Trestle Mountain. The right of the junction is a shortcut, an old 4WD track which is now closed to vehicular traffic, which crosses a little creek before climbing to rejoin the main trail 10 minutes later.
We took the shortcut and continued on, Collin's Bonnet behind us and Trestle Mountain to the left of us. It was very pleasant walking along there, with plenty of bird's songs around. We met some people there who were from Western Australia and had come to Tasmania to pick apples and who loved to bushwalk while they were here. They had come from Mountain River. We suggested that while they were so close they should go up Collins Bonnet and gave them directions.
After a while we came across the Ringwood Trail turnoff on the right of the track. By this time it was 1.43. At 1.49 we came to the Mt Marian turnoff cairn for the climb up Mt Marian which we had been to on a previous occasion. We continued on for another 40 minutes, sometimes climbing steeply and sometimes descending steeply, but quite pleasant walking.
We then came to a big bend where we were closest to Mt Charles and we saw a clearing and a cairn, which marked the ascent up Mt Charles. It was 2.30 There was not a proper track, but various tracks which died out. We went through the thick vegetation for about ten minutes and then came to a rocky area which we followed up to the top of Mt Charles, another 25 minutes of climbing. It was 3.05 when we got to the top.
We stayed up there for about 10 minutes before returning down the mountain at 3.15 in a similar way to going up. It took us half an hour to get down back to the trail, along another clear area a bit further along the road from where the cairn that we started from was. We thought that might have been an easier way to go up next time.
The next ten minutes were pretty steep up and then it was up and down. By 4.50 we were back at the Y junction and on the Collin's Cap Trail by 5.00. We got to the track back to Myrtle Forest at 5.12 and to the car at 5.40. A long but good walk.
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