July 20, 2002

Mt Parsons and Mt Baudin

Marian Harradine 
Saturday 20th July 2002.
Weather fine, mostly sunny, breezy.
We parked the car at Sleepy Bay, (Freycinet Peninsula) at 10am. We were aiming to get to Mt Dove from Mt Parsons, but were not too certain that we would be able to do that today.
We set off at a good pace, locating the track from Sleepy Bay and starting the climb up to Parsons. At first it was easy to see cairns everywhere, even where they were not meant to be, but gradually our main navigation came from some old, faded white broad lines on the rocks. We had climbed Mt Parsons before and loved it, as it is very panoramic once height is gained, and it is also a little challenging in part, climbing up and over rocks in airy places.
One place in particular on our first ascent freaked me out just looking at where the painted lines went, until Brian went across and up and assured me I would be able to do it, and to just keep my eyes on my hands and feet or up ahead. It was Mt Parsons that helped me gain confidence on rock that I did not have before that first ascent.
We got to the top of Mt Parsons at 11.05, in good time. We looked about for some more markings on the rocks to go further, as we had seen them on our earlier visits but never followed them down the gully, which had little trees and scrub growing in it, towards the next higher rocky peak.
We soon found them and we followed them down into a gully and then up again. It took us 25 minutes just getting down and up the gully. We climbed up chimneys, and narrow gutters and along open rock face. Always there was that lovely panorama around us, below, and in the distance. And we were very happy to see the faint marks on the rocks continuing on.
There were some interesting helps up the rocks, besides the well placed strong shrubs and roots. One place in particular we had a fairly long drop off a rock with no foot holds except a young small gum tree below, growing a few feet from the rock. We had to trust that it would hold our weight and hope we would not have to come back that way. We also had to walk through a split in a huge rock. One wouldn't want to be too large in girth or one might get stuck doing that.
We eventually reached the top of the first peak of Mt Dove at 12.25. We found out later that, as from 2001, this peak has now been called Mt Baudin, as it is quite distinctive in its own right, maybe even more so than Mt Dove, although that is higher. Just before you get to the top of Mt Baudin there is a large cavern under a huge rock, which is interesting. Camp fire remains showed that others had found it interesting.
We followed the track a little way on and then to our great disappointment found a painted sign on a rock saying END. We hoped it was not so, but after searching around found nothing conclusive, so reluctantly decided we would have to try again another time as we thought we would be short of time this time. We are not too confident finding our way without marks or tracks through the rocks and boulders. A dab of paint on the rocks would have been great.
Anyway, we had our lunch in a very scenic spot on Mt Baudin that was also a bit sheltered from the wind. We left for the return journey at 1.30.
We took it slowly, knowing we had plenty of time, and we managed to negotiate all the hairy bits again with not too much trouble, including our little gum tree. We got back to the top of Mt Parsons at 2.45 and back to the car park at 4pm. A very scenic enjoyable walk.

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