April 13, 2006

Day Walk to Barn Bluff From Dove Lake

Marian Harradine 
We set off at 10.45, from the Dove Lake car park, going via Marion's Lookout, passing Kitchen Hut at about 11.55. We got to the turnoff to Barn Bluff at 12.50 and hopped across the boggy track along Barn Cirque until we eventually rose above it on to a rising in a pretty area and on towards the start of the rocky ascent up the Bluff. At this stage we were enjoying clear weather and the odd bit of cloud.
At 1.45 we stopped for lunch at the base and watched the weather coming across from the west, with some rain soon falling on us too. We put on our rain coats and started up at 2 o'clock. We were surprised that it took us 3/4 hour to get up to the top as it seemed quicker than that because the climbing though steep, was interesting and not difficult with some rock hopping at the top. By then the weather had closed in completely, and bits of snow were flying round in the rain and sleet. Brian took a photo of me in a victorious pose on a rock as there was nothing else to see, and we descended after less than 5 minutes up there.
The mountain looked very beautiful when we had got down the steep descent to the foothills, with misty clouds moving rapidly across it. Waterfall Valley also looked lovely down below and as the clouds broke we saw a spectacular rainbow across the valley.
We got back to the overland track at 4.20 and into more pleasant weather although still very cool. When we got close to Kitchen Hut at about 5.25 we met an Austrian lad, lightly dressed and shod, carrying only a video camera about to head up to Cradle Mountain which was also in cloud.
When we got to the junction of Marion's Lookout track and Horse Track we decided to return via the Horse Track. That was at 5.45. We followed the track, deviating briefly up Crater Mountain for views over Crater Lake. Then we started to descend until we got to just past the Scouts Hut on the left and took a track to the right towards Crater Falls. A lovely area.
We continued the climb past the falls to reach Crater Lake and turned left to go towards Wombat Pool, continuing a steady climb. We heard voices and found it was our Austrian friend who had come down and was practicing his yodelling and echoes. We continued on over Wombat Peak and saw an alternative route up to Marion's Lookout (from where our Austrian Yodeler had come down), we went left and down to Wombat Pool which was lovely in the fading light.
The track then proceeded through some rainforest and passed by Lake Lilla and after some more rainforest, we eventually came out along the Dove Lake track and back to the car park at 8pm, still in daylight. We felt good after over 9 hours on the track. A very satisfying day in spectacular surroundings.
If we had returned via Marion's Lookout the walk would have been an hour and a quarter shorter

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