April 7, 2006

Mount Rufus

Marian Harradine

A Kept Secret

The Mt Rufus walk has to be one of Tasmania's best kept secrets. Maybe it is the uninspiring name. I was very surprised when we walked it for the first time and it is one of my favourites. The views are stunning and the whole circuit though long, 7 hours, is most interesting and enjoyable.

Getting there

We drove the two hour trip from Hobart arriving at Lake St Claire at about 9am. It was very cold at 5°. There was a light dusting of snow on Mt Rufus.

The Summit

We left at 9.50, deciding to walk the circuit clockwise. It was still very cold. The walk up was very nicely graded with quite gradual climbing all the way. It was also very pretty walking in the rainforest for the first hour, continually crossing little running streams and the occasional bigger one. We gradually came into more open country and encountered some very light snow drifting on us.
We climbed up to the exposed ridge, which we would follow up to the top of Mt Rufus, and we suddenly saw amazing views west and south of us, as well as east and north east, even though it was a bit cloudy and misty. By this time it was snowing a bit more and a cold wind was blowing.
Another walker - a Sydney New Zealander - was coming down Mt Rufus and stopped to talk and identify the peaks. He had set out to do the circuit, and became concerned about the weather, but changed his mind and continued the circuit when we said we were going on, for as we were talking it had stopped snowing and the sun was making an appearance.
We continued on and eventually arrived at the top about 3 hours from the start. We enjoyed the 360° views, so spectacular, seeing some of the the mountains on the Overland Track, the Walls of Jerusalem, Frenchman's Cap, Mt Olympus, Mt Ida, Mt Hugel and Little Hugel and the King William Range as well as a whole lot of unidentified peaks in South West.

Return via Shadow Lake

We stopped and had some lunch on the top of Rufus, and as we were leaving, another two people arrived, American students also visiting from Sydney. Maybe Mt Rufus is not such a well kept secret in Sydney!
The descent was steeper than the ascent, so we may have taken the easier way. There were some interesting sandstone rock formations on the lower slopes. Then we descended to a delightful mossy little valley between Mt Rufus and Mt Hugel. It had thick moss with water running in a little creek two or three feet underground and exposed in places. We also saw a spring of water bubbling prolifically out of the moss in one place. The place was dotted prolifically with richea. The area is known as Richea Valley.
We gradually descended more and eventually arrived at Shadow Lake and then in to more myrtle rainforest until we got back to Watersmeet where the track joined the Overland Track. Another twenty-minute walk saw us back at the visitor's centre. It was just under 7 hours of easy walking, including stops.


1 comment:

  1. Great post.

    Do you think you could camp at Shadow Lake?

    ReplyDelete

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