June 15, 2006

Lake Seal

Jamie Lawrence

June 8, 2006

Mt Olympus

Marian Harradine
Tuesday 25th January
We got on our way from our camp site at Narcissus Bay at 9.15, following the overland track towards Echo Point. We filled up with water at a little creek and I found a little leech on my finger soon after and got rid of that quick smart.
We passed the Byron Gap turn off 25 minutes later and intended to head up Mt Olympus about 2 k past there. If starting from Echo Point it is 2k from there also. Mt Olympus is untracked so there was not going to be a starting cairn. We estimated we had done 2ks by about 10.38 having passed a couple of little beaches close to the track, the first one twenty minutes earlier. I set the compass bearing from the enlarged map at 210 degrees, aiming for the east side of Lake Oenone (pronounced ohnonee) and set off up into the tall rainforest. The area we started on was not too bad and we had little trouble finding a fairly clear way up for the first 10 minutes. Then we came to a very high, steep, mossy rock face, which seemed to go as far as we could see to the left and to the right. After some reconoitering towards the south eastern (left) side we found a place where with the help of a few foot and hand holds from roots and trees we could scramble up. We were up and on our way again by 11am.
Then 15 minutes later we came to another similar rock face, not quite as high but seemingly imprenatable. Luckily we found a quicker way up that and continued on. After an hour of climbing, at 11.38, we stopped for a drink and a snack. It surprised us again how quickly time goes when not following a track, it did not seem like an hour of climbing. No time to get bored looking for the clearest route and checking the compass bearing.
At 12.25 we noticed that the bush changed to being more open and scrubby, with pandani and tea tree and snow gums. The route also became more scrubby, still climbing, but we managed to keep moving quite well. There were pads here and there which became more definite as we climbed.
At 12.50 we came into what looked like a large basin, with the cliffs of both north and south Mt Olympus plateaus on either side, and the ridge joining them up ahead. There was a lot of bright green low fagus and pandani and ground cover tea tree type of vegetation and fragrant heath in full flower. But we could not see Lake Oenone ahead. We kept to our bearing and a few minutes later saw a small waterfall about a hundred meters ahead. We reached that at 12.55, passing a few small tarns and green grassy areas. We stopped for a welcome cool drink and a face wash and replenished our bottles.
At 1.10 we reached the eastern side of Lake Oenone, not far upstream from the little waterfall. It is a lovely little lake, not so little really. Our compass bearing had been spot on, much to my delight. We were starting to realise that we may be short of time so we did not stay as long as we would have liked at the lake.
We left the lake and headed for the saddle between the two plateaus, using our eyes for navigation. We actually came across a rough track as we climbed up which led us to some boulder hopping again at 1.35. After 20 minutes of boulders we gained the top of the ridge.
The views from there were extensive to the west the Cuvier Valley, Pyramid Mt and Gould's Sugarloaf, Little Hugel and Cheyne Range and the Eldon Range, with Frenchman's Cap and the West Coast Range in the distance. To the east was Mt Ida and Mt Gould further north with the Acropolis and Geryon and the Walls of Jerusalem further northeast.
Brian was quite happy to stay there and enjoy the views and I was a bit concerned that having got this far we might not get to the top of Olympus because of time. We had a bit of lunch and then decided that I should head off on my own as I am quicker that Brian, or maybe more motivated, and try and meet Brian back at Lake Oenone at 4pm. That would give me nearly two hours. I had to be quick but also careful  using the adage It is quite safe if you are careful. when I walk on my own .
I headed off along the top of the ridge to the northern plateau which had the highest point at 2.05. For the first 10 minutes I made good time following a rough track through scrub with occasional rock hopping.
Then the boulder hopping started, around one high point that did not lead to the plateau, and continuing on for another 25 minutes after that to reach the plateau. The boulders were very large and it was not always easy to find a way round or over them. Once I reached the plateau, I headed for the northern end, and eventually reached the highest point, marked by a large cairn, at 3pm. The only cairn on the trip. It had taken me 55 minutes after leaving Brian. The views were very good, but as the high point is on the plateau only the northern views gave a feeling of height. The GPS said the height was 1481m.
I stayed there for only a few minutes to catch my breath and left again at 3.05, getting into a bit of trouble on the boulders when I was not as efficient in direction, as I did not have the plateau in my sight, as on the way up. Once I thought I was completely stuck, but found a way round with the help of some fervent prayer. Then I headed off down to Lake Oenone too early and got caught in the fagus. Not a good idea! I made a hasty return to the top of the ridge and tried again further on. I rock hopped down towards Lake Oenone and eventually came across the rough track through the scrub as I neared the lake. I got there at 4.20, hot and bothered but happy that I had made it to the top and back to Brian in reasonable time to get back in daylight.
Brian was very happy to see my safe return and I had a short rest and cool off near the waterfall before making our way back down. I felt much better for the rest and taking the opposite bearing to the one up, we started our return back down at 4.45. We followed the pads where we could but soon lost them and continued on with the compass. Soon after leaving when looking north we saw Lake Helen in the distance, at a lower level than Lake Oenone.
At around 5.40 pm we came to the first sandstone wall and lost a bit of time finding a way down. We managed it without too much difficulty and at 6pm we came to the big sandtone wall drop, at least 15 meters, straight down. We lost 20 minutes looking for a safe way down. I found a couple of risky ones which Brian vetoed. We moved along the wall in a south easterly direction, to the right of us, and eventually, a hundred meters or so from where we started we found a safe descent when the rock suddenly stopped and a very steep, soft leaf litter descent alongside a log was able to be made.
We continued down and within 10 minutes, at 6.30 reached the Overland Track with plenty of time to get back in daylight. We stopped at a little nearby beach on Lake St Clair and enjoyed ten minutes in that peaceful place. Then we were on our way, passing the Byron Gap turn off at 7.30 and back at Narcissus Bay at 7.55. It was a beautiful evening, a good end to a very satisfying day.

Mt Direction

Marian Harradine
I left the car park at Risdon Brook Dam at 9.37, I crossed the dam wall to the left of the car park and followed the track around Risdon Brook Dam for 500 meters past the dam wall. I turned off to the left on the bend where a green bench seat and a gate is, and walked through the gate and joined another road which was running roughly parrallel to dam, further up. I continued up that. This is slightly quicker and certainly easier than taking the old way, deviating up through a gate just after crossing the dam and going up and down a hill on a winding road.
One of the features on this walk were the birds. A very large egret type grey bird flew away from the dam as I was passing there and sat up in a nearby gum tree, looking most out of place to me. There were also a great chorus of other birds in the first half hour of the walk.
Continuing on the road starts to climb quite steeply, and at about 10.03 halfway up a hill, I came to the turn off point, where the road up Mt Direction runs up to the left towards and under the high tension lines. From here it becomes steeper still and continues to climb for about 15 minutes.
At 10.17 I passed through a gate across the road. There were a group of kookaburras making a racket around there. Most of the up hill climb was in the sun so I got quite warm even if the temperature was not high. I continued on climbing, though not as steeply, for another 4 minutes when the track leveled out somewhat for a while and then resumed climbing at a more gentle gradient for a few more minutes before coming towards the knob which was the top of Mt Direction at 10.28.
There were quite good views of Hobart through the tall gum trees, looking south. After another seven minutes of climbing, turning off the track at a cairn to the left, the BIG CAIRN marking the top was attained and climbed up. Easier up than down because of loose stones on the top. This was at 10 35, just under an hour since leaving the car. The views to the north are very good, but the views south toward Hobart are obscured here by the tall gum trees growing below.
I returned after 15 minutes up there and got back to the car at 11.40. A pleasant winter walk.

Lake Skinner and Mt Snowy South (1314 m)

Marian Harradine 
We arrived at the car park at the start of the walk at 10.05. We had driven down towards Huonville to the Ranelagh and Judbury turn off and continued on for another half-hour through very picturesque country, following the Huon River for a while also. We stopped at a road fork, wondering which way when a forestry man, pulled up behind us and told us to take the right hand fork. The last quarter of an hour was through forestry plantations and clear felling.
We started on our way at 10.25. It was quite cool, 12 degrees;. The first 12 minutes of the walk was along a brand new track that was only opened yesterday, February 1st. It was rather springy and uneven, over sphagnum moss and cutting grass and other debris. Then it joined the old track and soon after that started steadily climbing at a nice gradient.
The area we walked through was very lovely, with rainforest trees mixed with very large gum trees ( Regnans I think ). I would imagine that the track could get quite wet in winter, but it was fairly dry most of the way.
At 11.25, after an hour of walking, we got to the top of a ridge, where it was more open and a view of the edges of the Snowy South range could be seen. We went downhill a little and then gradually up and over another ridge to lovely Lake Skinner, set in a large natural dish, with cliffs on the western side and gentle wooded hills around the rest of the perimeter. There was good volume of water coming from the lake into a creek which we followed for the last few minutes of the walk to the lake. There was quite a substantial rock shelter made near the lake, which was an indication of the winds and cold weather prevalent in the area - hard to imagine on the beautiful sunny mild day we were enjoying.
Lake Skinner was surprisingly large, at least a kilometre long and over 500 meters wide at the widest point. It is a popular spot for trout fishing. We saw a couple of people fishing.
We arrived at the lake at 11.50 and spent a bit of time just enjoying the area and filled our water bottles and had a snack.
We located the continuation of the track to Mt Snowy South just across the outlet creek beside the lake and resumed our walk at 12.35. It soon became quite steep, the track being quite rough, over rocks and roots, but quite easy to follow. After half an hour of climbing we clambered over large boulders and rocks to reach the plateau of low scrub and rocks and boulders. Snowy South was now visible to the south west of us.
We continued following the track, which passed an interesting area of a very big hole with huge boulders, at 1.15. When we reached the area where it got to the stage of mainly rock hopping the track petered out, no cairns to follow. Just an odd cairn in odd places. We continued on visually keeping Snowy South as our goal. We eventually reached the summit cairn at 2.10.
The view was quite outstanding in all directions. Mt Anne not far away to the west and the Arthur Ranges and Federation Peak to the southwest. Its got to be just about the best place to get a full view of all the Arthur Range and Federation Peak. Mt Weld was just south west of us. Nevada Peak looked pretty close and I was wishing that we had allowed a bit more time to go over to that while we were so close, but it would have taken us a few hours extra probably, judging from how long it took us to get to the top of Snowy South. To the north was Mt Field East and West and the Rodway Range and Florentine Peak. We could see the Franklin Range and Lake Gordon. To the north west looking dramatic even in the distance was Frenchman's Cap.
We left the top at 2.55, going back in a direct line to where the track was. It took us 9 minutes shorter coming back down than going up. We located the track at the end of the rock hopping, 40 minutes later, and were back at the start of the steep descent down to Lake Skinner 15 minutes after that, at 3.50, arriving at Lake Skinner at 4.15.
We filled up with water and investigated if there was any Huon Pine growing along the lakeside. There was some pine there but I don't think it was Huon Pine. We spoke to another couple fishing. They told us that the area can have extremely strong winds which whip up waterspouts on the lake.
We left Lake Skinner at 4.30 and enjoyed the downhill return back to the car park through the rainforest. We reached the car park at 5.45 and the temperature gauge on the car said 24 degrees. A very enjoyable walk.
Walk times:
Car park to Lake Skinner: 1 hour and 25 minutes Return: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Car park to Snowy South: 3 hours 10 minutes Return: 2 hours and 50 minutes

Knights Creek Trail to the Big Bend.

Marian Harradine 
We drove up Tolosa Street as far as the street closure.
We were going to walk up to the Big Bend Trail via Knights Creek Trail. These 4WD trails had been forged through the Mount Wellington area after the 1967 bushfires
We left the car at 3.40 and walked for 15 minutes up the road which soon became a dirt track, when we came to a bend in the road with two tracks leading off to the left, one going off behind us and the other angling off to the left. A few meters further on, we took a right hand track which descends rather steeply across a small creek and then ascends steeply up a spur to where it joined Knights Creek Trail. There were mountain bike races on where we were walking and we kept out of their way. We got to a fork in the track going back towards Knights Creek dam, where the cyclists were riding from, and continued on the steep climb going up the spur. Soon after that it veered north for a while before going west again and continuing steeply up.
At 4.13 we descended for about 5 minutes before resuming the steep climbing. We eventually reached the top of a spur with a bit of a view at 4.43. We followed the track further up for a couple of minutes, which took us to the top of a shoulder and then we descended again for about 3 minutes. The bush around us during most of the ascent was really lovely, trees looking healthy and shrubs and bushes flowering. Birds were also ever present.
Then it was climbing up again and at about 5.05 we came to a section of the track that was very badly eroded, impassable to vehicles. This went on for a hundred meters or more. There has been work on the track further down and further up too but this certainly needs some major work.
The track levelled out at about 5.15 and within a couple of minutes we came to a creek, which was very different from what it looked like when we were up here about 8 years ago. A bulldozer had flattened the shady trees and ferns that were around it and now it was a large rocky expanse of track under which the creek ran.
Soon after that, at 5.21 we reached the Big Bend Trail. After a few minutes rest and a drink we continued on, turning left, towards the Big Bend. It was still very steep and a rough and rocky track. It was very pretty though, with waratahs flowering and lots of other white and orange blossoms everywhere. There was a big flock of noisy currawongs too.
After about ten minutes of climbing we saw Tom Thumb, a rocky feature, ahead of us looking very high, We came across the cairns to the start of the walk up to Tom Thumb 8 minutes later at 5.40. If we had trousers on we would have gone up there, but we decided to save our legs from scratches and leave it for now.
The road levelled out a bit for about 10 minutes and then we had another 30 minutes of steep climbing. There were good views down below to Glenorchy and later to other suburbs and the Derwent. We also saw the cairns to the Collins Bonnet walk. That track goes along the north side of Thark Ridge and Collins Bonnet track goes a little way on it before heading over towards Mt Connection.
About 5 minutes from the Big Bend the road levelled out again and we saw the cairns marking the track to the hut on Mt Arthur's' northern side, which we had seen earlier. We arrived at the Big Bend at 6.20. We had climbed up 1000 meters. We also noticed how much the trees had grown in 7 years, in the kilometer before the Big Bend. It was then just an open area with low shrubs and trees, now it was more like young bush.
We left to return at 6.25 and noticed the great views of mountains to the north of the state. Tom Thumb wasn't looking so high from there either. By this time it was a bit misty between us and the views below to the east.
We made good time coming down, arriving back at the Knights Creek Trail junction at 7.05, 40 minutes down as against 55 minutes up.
We got back to the Tolosa St upper road at 8.05 and back to the car at 8.22. A very enjoyable walk in nice bush, in spite of its steep terrain. We were happy that we had left it till later in the day when it was cooler, although climbing up in the sun was pretty warm for the first hour or so.
It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get up to the Big Bend, and just under two hours to return.
It is interesting to see how the mountain is recovering from the 1967 bushfires.

Hartz Peak, 1254m , and Mt Snowy, 1190 m.

Marian Harradine
We had an unexpectedly beautiful day and decided to go and enjoy the views of Hartz Peak. We drove to Geeveston and down the Arve Rd which also goes to the Tahune Airwalk. There are directions on the road for getting to the start of the Hartz Peak track.
We left the car park at 1pm, the walk for the first 15 minutes gradually climbing through low bush. There was plenty of running water and the track was often on duckboards.
After about 15 minutes of walking we came into more open terrain, with good views behind us to the north and ahead Hartz Peak also in view. Close by to the west was the Devil's Backbone which sheltered the area we were walking along. Lake Perry, Lake Osborne, Lake Esperance and Ladies Tarn are all nestled below and east of the Devil's Backbone. The track was good, with duckboarding over any damp or wet areas, which it was, predominantly.
After about another 7 minutes I noticed that the views to the southeast were now also visible, but then the views to the north disappeared. We also passed by the turn off to Lake Esperance on our right.
At 1.30 we descended slightly into a 'dish' sort of area, and then we passed by the turn off to Ladies Tarn, on our right.
Soon after that (1.35) we started our ascent, up to the plateau below Hartz Peak. We reached the plateau ten minutes later, and that gave us a good view of Mt Anne to the north west of us, with a bit of snow. After a little while we started climbing more steeply again. The track is quite good with a few cairns here and there. I don't think it would be very visible in snow though.
We reached the top of the Peak at about 2.15, having stopped on the way up to enjoy the views of the Arthur Range and Federation Peak, Mt Hopetoun, Mt Bobs, Precipitous Bluff, La Parouse, Pindars Peak and the dozens of other peaks around, to the south, west and north west of us.
After lunch and time enjoying the views, we decided to head off to Mt Snowy, to the east of Hartz Peak. We had no directions, so we decided to just go straight down Hartz Peak down to Emily Tarn and then go on up to Mt Snowy from there. We weren't sure if there was a track.
We left at 2.50, making our descent from the dip before the final ascent to the top of Hartz Peak. It was a bit rough, and I was wishing I had thought to wear long pants rather than shorts, to protect my legs. We got to Emily Tarn at 3.20, it had taken half an hour to get down. We had a drink from the little pool of running water just near the Tarn, beautiful water, and filled our bottles.
We did not see any track there so just kept on moving towards Mt Snowy. Unfortunately there was a plethora of unavoidable Richea scoparia there, of varying heights so we could not avoid getting somewhat tattered and torn. We headed for the lowest point where the rocky scree started, and then made our way up. We got to the top of Mt Snowy at 4.15. We decided not to go back the way we had come up, thinking to go back along the high ground along the ridge and along staying close to the top of the crest of Hartz Peak.
We left at 4.25, and we noticed a few cairns as we came down and we followed them. We got to the shoulder between Mt Snowy and Hartz Peak in only 15 minutes and then followed the track on to to Emily Tarn very nicely, without any scoparia to bother us. We got to Emily Tarn at 4.55. So the return trip to there was 25 minutes quicker and much less trouble than the way up. The track from Emily Tarn was not very easy to find really, so it was not surprising that we had missed it on the way up. A cairn that was there, south of the tarn was not very visible.
We eventually found another cairn to the north of the tarn, and after a drink and enjoying the beauty of the area we left, at 5.10.
The track led to nearby Arthur Tarn and then continued on north down a steep decline with a small stream of running water on it. This continued on across some rocks and then along another wider creek when it was hard to know if we were on track or not. It proved to be part of the track and we continued on.
The main track we had come along past LadiesTarn and Lake Esperance was visible in the distance, and we presumed, correctly, that the track was heading for that. However it was not an easy track to follow, disappearing and very rough in parts, with scoparia growing right across the track for about 100 meters of the track. This made us wonder if we were actually on it still, but the ground looked like it might have been a track..
Eventually the cairns resumed and the track became quite clear again and soon after that we hit the main track not far south of Ladies Tarn. It was 6.05.
We stopped at Ladies Tarn and also Lake Esperance on the return trip. It was lovely there at that time of the evening and we could see splashes and rings from what we thought might have been platypus in the distance.
We got back to the car at about 7pm.
A most enjoyable day.

Freycinet Peninsula Walk

Marian Harradine
The morning was cold and we left the car park at 8am after signing the book. We made good time up, covering the 1.5kms to the top of the saddle (about 200 meter elevation) between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson in twenty minutes, passing those interesting large boulders and small eucalypts on the way, and with good views of Coles Bay behind us. Those boulders were a feature along most of the circuit in greater or smaller numbers.The track was very good, formed steps, steeper at times but mostly nicely graded. There is a good lookout a couple of minutes to the left, but we did not deviate there as we would be getting good views further on.
Then came the descent down towards Wineglass Bay and sea level, arriving there at 8.40.
Crossing the 1.5 km Wineglass Bay beach was not as bad as it sometimes is, as the sand was a bit firmer, and only took 20 minutes. It was so soft once that it took us 35 minutes of hard slog. So we made good time in the first hour. The other end of Wineglass Bay looked very lovely, a sheltered quiet spot.
We went behind the beach on a timber ramp, nearby was a toilet, and crossed the creek along the track and started the climb up Quartzite Ridge. The climb up was quite steep for the first quarter of an hour and then eased off for 5 minutes before becoming steeper again for about 8 minutes. Then it went slightly downhill for 200 meters or so and then up steeper again.
At about 9.45, where the track levels out for a bit, we came to the big lookout rock to the left of the track, which looks out northeast towards the Hazards. There are also good views to the north west side of the track too, Mt Mayson, Hazards Beach, Maulting Lagoon and Oyster Bay. The views are good anywhere up the track for a look and a rest. We did not rest much though, as we were either feeling very fit or it was the cold air that kept us moving.
We climbed on and after another 15 minutes, passed a part of the track that goes along a narrow rock pass above the gully which is not dangerous but needs a little care. Wineglass Bay looked like a lovely jewel of jade blue through the trees.
At 10.05, after climbing 3.5kms from Wineglass Bay, we got to the top of the ridge where the track crosses the gully and Graham Creek and climbs out onto the plateau. We stopped at the creek for a while and had a drink and filled our bottles with the lovely water and also had a bit of a snack. There was not much water in the creek as this winter has been very dry in Freycinet, unlike last winter. The cold moved us on after about 10 minutes.
We passed a small camp site not far away from the creek and climbed onto the plateau. There we walked for about 12 minutes along a bowl shaped small valley which was damp and had small trees growing and rather rocky, then we climbed out of that and into another area with button grass and rocks. Very pretty. Plenty of birds about. After 8 minutes we climbed out of that into another area, again rocks and button grass and wet on the track in parts for another 6 minutes. This gradual climb was about 2 km and took us to the start of the Mt Graham ascent. It was 10.47, a little over half an hour from Graham Creek. The track does not go to the top of Graham, but there is a deviating track a couple of minutes to the top, which we reached at 11am. The views were great, but it was cold and windy up there so we did not dally and continued on.
The track then descends steeply down Mt Graham, losing 240 meters in elevation, to the saddle between Mt Graham and Mt Freycinet. It isn't pleasant going down so steeply in places, but its probably better than going up!
We reached the turn off to Mt Freycinet at 11.25. Climbing Mt Freycinet is very scenic, especially in the second half of the 290 meter elevation climb. It is not difficult, if one can find the dots on rocks or the ribbons in shrubs or trees or the orange markers on tree trunks. We reached the top at 12 pm. Again lovely views. Matsuyker and Maria Islands looked great and we could see Mt Wellington with a layer of cloud above it. To the north west we could see St Pauls Dome and Stacks Bluff and Elephant Pass Hill to the north coast, plus the Peninsula looking spectacular. On two previous occasions when we have been there we have seen two eagles floating above us but not this time. We found a sheltered spot with a view and had lunch.
We left the top of Mt Freycinet at 12.35 and reached the main track at 1pm. From there on it is mostly descending, reasonably graded. In the first 15 minutes there were a lot of trees blown over by recent winds. That whole area is rather messy with fallen trees from past topples. Then we came across a nice ferny area, those little ferns that florists like, and we crossed a creek with almost no water and a camping spot. Then we climbed out of the creek gully into prettier bush, walking between the Mt Freycinet foothills and another ridge, lots of birds still around. We stopped here for ten minutes then continued on.
At 1.55 we saw Cook's Beach down below and then the track got very steep and rather slippery with the loose gravel and stones. This only lasted for about 10 minutes and then continued on descending at a more comfortable grade. We came across another creek, with some water soon after this and and reached Cooks Beach at 2.23.
We stayed there for a while, having another snack and a drink
We left Cooks Beach at 2.35, and arrived at Hazards Beach at 3.20, a pleasant part of the walk, fairly flat and about 3.5 km in length. We walked the 2.5 km along Hazards Beach to where the isthmus track starts, going over the dune at a sign easily visible on the beach. The track is quite flat and pleasant walking, helped by duckboards across some boggy parts nearer to the start of the track. After 20 minutes we came out onto Wineglass Bay, looking lovely as always.
We climbed up to the saddle, coming across a school group of ten children and two teachers who were camping for 5 days on the peninsula. They would have had to have hurried to get to the other side of Wineglass Bay and set up tents before dark. We also met a jogger who was racing along keeping fit or training for something.
It took 45 minutes to get back to the car park from Winelass Bay, 25 minutes up to the saddle and 20 minutes down the other side. It was 5 pm when we got back, 9 hours from the start. The walk was about 29.5 km. A long day, but very pleasant winter walk. Actual walking time was about 7hrs 50 min.
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