January 15, 2003

Hopetoun, Mt

Jan 2003, Federation Peak behind. - Brendon Lee

January 9, 2003

Mt Field East, Seagers Lookout and Lake Nicholls.

Marian Harradine
Thursday, 9th Jan. 03, Weather cool and windy,12 degrees
4 ¾ hours including 40 minutes of breaks. 11 kms.
We left the car park at Lake Fenton, off the Lake Dobson Road, at 1.10. Initially we crossed the small Lady Barron Creek at a spillway from Lake Fenton. The track was good, a bit rough. After about 10 minutes and about 500 meters of climbing we turned off to our right to go to Seagers Lookout. We reached the Lookout at 1.35. We spent 10 minutes there. It was a nice area with good views to the east and worth the deviation. We were back at the junction of the Mt Field East track by 2pm, so the deviation only took 40 minutes.
There was a bit of track work done recently just further along, with some duckboards. We got to the first part of Windy Moor at 2.15, and at 2.30 into the wetter boggier part of Windy Moor, but not too bad. This section of the walk was relatively flat. We had a bit of a break in a sheltered part of the track at the end of Windy Moor at 2.43 and enjoyed the sense of remoteness there. After 7 minutes we continued on.
Another 10 minutes of walking brought us to the junction where the rocky, final ascent up to Mt Field East started, 3 kilometres from Lake Fenton. The last 300 meters rises up 90 meters but it is not so noticeable as the track picks its way rock hopping up following cairns and poles.
Some people who we had met as we were walking in to Seagers Lookout were just leaving the top as we got there at 3.15. It was blowing a gale and we were thankful for the substantial shelter someone had made from stones, which kept us out of the wind. The views were surprisingly extensive. We saw the Wellington Range and the Derwent Valley and Bishop and Clerk on Maria Island, and the Freycinet Peaks and views to the North. Immediately west and south of us it was heavily clouded and misty and raining. We were just on the edge of that weather.
After half and hour we left the top. We got to the junction 15 minutes later, having picked our way across the rocks, following the cairns and poles. The track headed east on the plateau through rocky alpine moorland and after another 15 minutes the track started to descend into a lovely deep cirque, where below we could see Lake Rayner, a small tarn and Lake Nicholls just below it. The track was on rocky scree, and snow gums grew on the sheltered rocky slopes of the descent.
After 15 minutes of descending, the rock hopping stopped and the track continued on, steeper, but still rocky. Another 5 minutes saw us at the short detour to Lake Rayner and 5 minutes later we got to Lake Nicholls and the 2-bunk hut. It was just a lovely area there. The high cliffs to the north-west of the lake were very steep and had an interesting circular formation on part of it.The cliffs were well foliated in spite of their steepness. The people we saw earlier were at the hut intending to spend the night there.
We crossed the outlet of Lake Nicholls which is the source of the Russell Falls Creek. It did not have much water flowing out.
There was a 5-minute climb up the shoulder above the lake, during which there were lookout points down to the lake. I sat on a log for a minute on that section in the sun and the wind looking across to the high cliffs on the other side. A halleluiah moment.
Then it was down again, until we eventually reached the Lake Dobson road at 5.28. We walked the 2.3km up the hill and reached the car at Lake Fenton at 5.55. We realised later that we missed out on Beattie Tarn, a deviation on the descent from Lake Nicholls. Another another day maybe.
A very enjoyable walk. 
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