December 15, 2007

Lake Wadley

James Down

Freycinet, Mt

James Down

December 14, 2007

Bobs, Mt

Mt. Bobs from the northern end of Lake Sydney. - Stuart Bowling

Brendan Young

Andrew Sinclair 

Andrew Sinclair 

Andrew Sinclair 

Quamby Bluff

Western Face of Quamby Bluff taken from a corn field in the Meander Valley. March, 2007. - Stephen O'rourke

Taken from summit. - Robert Franken

December 12, 2007

Frazer Creek Hut

Frazer Creek Hut in Western Tasmania - Jarrah Keenan

December 8, 2007

Mt. Bobs in a day

Stuart Bowling 

Peak: Mt. Bobs
Height: 1111
Maps: 1:100k – Huon; 1:25k – Burgess, Bobs
Ref: 671062
Distance: 22km (horizontally).
Points: 5
Starting point:Farmhouse Creek track car park, Southwest National Park.
When: Saturday 8th Dec 2007.
Time to summit & return: 11.5 hours (including lunch & rests).
Party members: Stuart Bowling, Jeramie Spong.

Mt Bobbs


Warning: Mt. Bobs as a day walk is a fairly serious undertaking, requiring the long days of summer, & is only recommended to fit parties with some off track experience. The track only goes to Lake Sydney, beyond there times could vary dramatically depending on how quickly a party can move through scrubby terrain & the luck of the route through the green stuff. Please be cautious and walk within your limits.
Our mission for this weekend was probably our most ambitious for the year, but having, in our first serious year of walking & in true peak bagging style claimed over 52 peaks each (a new years resolution of 52 peaks in 52 weeks coming true a couple of weeks earlier on Mt. Hugel), felt up to the challenge. We understood that most parties who summited usually took 3 days, some 2 days with 1 very long day, so had decided on a turn around time of 2pm, if required, leaving plenty of time to get back before dark (as always, head torches were on board, just in case).
Usually punctual to the minute, Jeramie arrived at my place in New Town at about 5:45am, 15 minutes late and evidence of a much earlier start than our usual 7am. A quick trip down, via Banjos in Huonville for the usual coffee & lunch supplies, and we arrived at the Farmhouse Creek car park just before 8am, and after a quick chat with a couple of friends, who were also heading into Lake Sydney, we were away at 8:15am, across the bridge & turning right onto the Farmhouse Creek track in fine summer weather.
Making pretty good time we zipped up the gently inclined track, which snakes along the banks of the creek, arriving at the track junction to Lake Sydney at about 9:20am. A totem pole of various coloured ribbons and shredded over pants stands at the track junction like some tribal warning. The sight of cutting grass overgrowing the track and some immediate cutting of flesh saw the real game afoot, the pleasant creek track now behind us.
Although overgrown the track is generally easy to follow, gently climbing towards the northern ends of Mc Partlans bluff through forest, the rooted, log riddled track delivering its usual gymnastic saves & spills. Towards the top of this first section we ran into a couple of guys who had camped the previous night along Farmhouse Creek and were on their way to Lake Sydney, or so we thought.
We took the chance to have a quick break at 10:25am to have a chat, as one of the chaps had been in to Bobs before, apparently, claiming a mere 1 hour each way from Lake Sydney to the summit; none the wiser we accepted his advice and some beta on keeping to the forest on the eastern shore of Lake Sydney rather than around the lake shore itself; much obliged we were off again 5 minutes later.
The track continued to display a field of monkey-puzzles through the forest, and we were glad not to be lugging 20kg pigs on our backs, which would have considerably slowed us down. Making good time we gradually descended towards a brief boggy section, and briefly into the forest again arriving at Lake Sydney at 11:20am, just over 3 hours from departure. The track is well tagged, if overly in sections, and easy to follow to this point.
Our first clear view of Mt. Bobs bathed in morning sun and eyes quickly darted for an easy route up the face, none seemed to exist without perhaps going up to the saddle between Bobs and The Boomerang and following gentler inclines to the plateau above – a much lengthier proposition. Instead we chose to take a straight line as close as possible to the lake to expediate our return, more or less aiming straight up the face and starting to doubt the validity of the earlier estimated times, even before entering the scrub.
A quick feast of pharmacy jelly beans and fresh mountain Gatorade mix saw us sugared up and away at 11:30am, initially sticking to the eastern shore of the lake before heading into the forest on the advice of the other party. Although generally pretty open forest and scrub, any time in this terrain, amongst knee and ankle shattering booby traps is slow and I wished we had tried to push around the lake shore a little further. Past the southern end of the lake and we continued through the scrub, setting a straight line for the base of the cliffs where we had a brief rest. Sidling south along the cliff line we zigzagged our way up through terraces of rock and scrub, in spots vertical until we reached the gully containing the creek that we had aimed for, and stopped to replenish our bottles. Crossing the creek to the north and heading straight up more or less, the terrain opens up as does the view, and we made good time up the series of slabs and terraces, topping out onto the plateau at about 1:35pm well on time and next to a small cairn, evidence of taking the line of least resistance. We explored the vast summit plateau before deciding on a lunch spot at the northern end with grand stand views of The Eastern and Western Arthurs and Mt. Hopetoun amongst a vast panorama of Tasmanian wilderness at its best.
We set down for lunch and a hot cuppa at about 1:50pm, relishing the opportunity to collapse and refuel. Very happy to be at the top, but feeling unmotivated for the long return journey – that post summit slump. With groans of pain and stiffening muscles we set off for home at 2:30pm, quickly across the plateau and returning to the creek below via our upward route. Crossing the creek again, we sidled through scrub for a hundred metres or so before starting the descent, monkeying down through the green cliffs and then, quickly diverted back to the creek where it touched back down at the base of a small waterfall. We decided to generally follow the course of this creek on our return to the lake, and apart from the usual spills made great return time to the southern end of the lake where the creek spilled out, a much better route and the recommended one in my mind.
We had had enough of the scrub and so decided to stick to the lake shore which was generally pretty easy going, arriving back at the camp sites at the Northern end of Lake Sydney at about 3:50pm to a well earned break, admiring Bobs and soaking in the rays of the afternoon sun – a really great little camp site and a future destination for a less energetic trip. No signs of either of the other two parties left us a little puzzled.
We were away again just after 4pm and 15 minutes later ran into our friends from the car park who had been a lot more leisurely on their approach, taking about 7.5 hours to where we met them and happy to hear that the lake was so close. They mentioned trying for the summit and we quickly talked them out of it at this late hour; they didn’t seem too upset with their second option of a swim. The other, and more advanced party who had given us the dodgy beta were still nowhere to be seen and had probably diverted to Pine Lake. We chatted for 15 minutes and were away again just before 4:30pm, happy to be back on a track and knowing it would just be a long plod back. We kept up good pace, despite our dwindling energy reserves and the full body ache these missions tend to produce and arrived back down at the Farmhouse Creek track junction at about 6:30pm, taking a 15-minute rest by the creek.
A quick trip down the far easier track next to the creek, across the bridge and back at the car at about 7:40pm. Happy, happy, Joy, joy. We had succeeded and at around 11.5 hours it had been our longest day for the year, tho probably not our hardest physically. The long drive home saw several food stops, the sort of food that shouldn’t go into a body that depleted, but the sort the mind craves. We were back at about 10:15pm; it had been a full day and a great little adventure. 

September 7, 2007

A Scrub Bash to Mt Cuvier

Andrew Wellington Posted on 2007-07-09
17th April 2006, 3 Points
Mt Cuvier is a slightly out of the way peak in the southern end of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. It’s located a couple of kilometres North of Mt Byron with the two peaks connected by a scrubby ridge. There’s no track, and the scrub is thick in places, so this trip is recommended only to parties who are experienced in off track navigation and don’t mind taking on scoparia.
After a frantic drive from Launceston, I made it in time to catch the early boat on Lake St Clair. It was a fantastic clear day, with snow capped peaks making for excellent views on the way down the lake. There had been a big dump of snow a couple of weeks before, and the boat skipper reckoned there had been 400mm of rain in the previous two weeks. I left my pack at the hut and headed off towards Byron Gap at around 9:45.
It took around an hour to reach the top of Byron Gap, climbing steadily through rain forest (mind you, the climb is probably harder with a full pack, rather than the day pack I was carrying). There are a number of creeks on the way up, but not a great deal of water at the Gap itself. There’s a campsite for about two tents right at the top, with an excellent view of Frenchman’s Cap. The weather was still excellent, with the Cap gleaming with its usual pattern of snow cover.
I had climbed Mt Byron some years before and recalled following a pad most of the way. I spotted what I thought was the start of the pad a few hundred metres down the hill toward Lake Petrach. There’s a section of track with a drain to the right, look for the log crossing the drain. Following the pad up the hill, it immediately improved and was marked with tape in a few places. After a few hundred metres, the pad entered a pandani grove, where it was difficult to follow. The person taping the track must have run out at this point, as there seemed to be a lot less markers. More by good luck than anything else, I found the track again at the top of the pandanis and continued through a mixture of rocks and scrub. There were patches of snow, which was melting and rather wet.
The route was now marked by cairns, which led to the start of a scree slope making for easier going. I followed the route for a while, but decided to traverse across the slope to the North, bypassing Byron’s summit. The traverse led to a flat shelf on the Northern edge of Mt Byron (this is very obvious feature when viewed from the North, and is a good point to aim for on the way back). The view from the shelf was excellent. The objective Mt Cuvier was visible for the first time, as were the peaks of the Du Cane range, Mt Ossa and other peaks to the North, plus the Eldons and other peaks to the West. There was some low cloud to the North, but out West the weather still looked great.
The plan from here was to descend to the ridge between Byron and Cuvier and basically follow that all the way. The ridge looked reasonably open, with patches of thicker looking scrub and even some rainforest. The descent from Bryon was very steep, and quite slippery due to the melting snow. At the base of the hill, a small creek was crossed, followed by a scrubby cliff of around 2m in height. Finding a spot to tackle the cliff was tricky, but once on top, good progress was made along the ridge. There was plenty of scrub, but it was possible to follow small pads for much of the time. There were a few passable tent sites along the ridge, but no water until a second creek was reached in a patch of rain forest close to the flanks of Mt Cuvier. From this creek, I began to climb again, passing through a gap in the sandstone cliffs that surround the peak. Once above these cliffs, the scrub thinned considerably, making for excellent progress. Mt Cuvier viewed from this approach has a rounded side which certainly looked easier than the dolerite cliffs which were the alternative. Following the ridge, there were still indications of a pad in places but no cairns.
I reached the top at 2pm, still in great weather. There were a few clouds to the North, but most of the Du Cane range, Ossa, and even Barn Bluff and Cradle Mountain were visible. Frenchman’s Cap and the Eldon range were clear as well, and the view back to Mt Byron, Mt Olympus and Lake St Clair was interesting too.
It had taken around four and a quarter hours to get this far, and with some basic maths I would have worked out that if it took the same time to get back, I’d arrive just after dusk. But you always go quicker on the way back, right? And I’ve got a head torch so, no worries. I figured having come this far, I’d attempt either Mt Manfred or Coal Hill before heading back.
Manfred looked quite hard, as the vertical cliffs looked as if they went all the way round. Coal Hill was closer, and only appeared to have scrub to impede progress. So Coal Hill it was, and I headed off down the Western side of Mt Cuvier and picked up a fairly constant pad that lasted to the flat part of the ridge. The area between Cuvier and Coal Hill was dominated by scoparia, but the difficult scrub was around the flanks of the Hill itself. Even with a fair degree of patience, this section was hard to find a route through. Once on top, the scrub thinned again, and it was a relatively easy walk across to the summit, which is on the Western edge. Good views, particularly of Mt Olympus, Lake Petrach and the Cuvier Valley, plus another two points and the summit of an out of the way peak. It had taken 45 minutes from the summit of Cuvier.
A quick map check and time check, and I realised I was going to be doing a fair bit of walking in the dark. I quickly considered descending into the Cuvier Valley and picking up the track near the top of Lake Petrach, but decided against it as it looked rather wet in the valley, and there had been a lot of rain in recent times.
So, it was back along the ridge towards Cuvier, which I decided to bypass. This proved to be a bad idea, as the scrub on the low route was considerably thicker than anything encountered so far. It probably would have used less energy to go up and over the peak again. It also seemed to take longer to get along the ridge between Cuvier and Byron, as I missed the high part of the ridge at one point and ended up battling much thicker scrub lower down. By the time I got back to the base of Mt Byron, I was pretty tired and I wasn’t looking forward to the steep climb ahead. The snow had mostly melted though, and the climb was easier as a result.
Reaching the shelf, the weather was still clear, but not much daylight was left, and I didn’t pause long for a last look at the view. Traversing round the peak, I met the cairned route up Mt Byron at around 5:30. Back on a route, should be OK from here. The route was easy to follow, and with much of the snow gone from the Southern side of the peak as well, progress was good. However, I lost the track in the Pandani grove, and rather than mucking around trying to find it, I just headed straight down (its always easier scrub bashing down hill, right?). This tactic didn’t work out too badly, as I hit the main track about 100m west of the start of the Mt Byron pad.
From here the job was simple, get down the hill as far as possible while it was still light, then go carefully and try not to lose the track. There’s a variety of track markers, from red and white paint blazes to reflective metal markers nailed to trees. The reflective ones were very good, but perhaps could have been closer together. I had one major scare, where I circled for around ten minutes looking for the next marker, but other than that, the descent wasn’t too bad. Head torches don’t work very well in twilight though. Meeting the Overland track meant around 20 minutes to go, and a much easier track to follow.
I was back at Narcissus Hut by around 7pm, and had hoped someone would be there with the fire going. The hut was packed with around 25 people, and luckily my pack on a bunk had been respected and I still had a sleeping spot. It had been a long, hard day, but very rewarding to get out to two out of the way peaks and get some fantastic views.

Mt Cuvier from a walk in April 2006.

August 5, 2007

A Week at the Walls

Mark Smith Posted on 2007-05-08

Having completed a number of trips up and down the Overland Track we were keen to visit somewhere different in Tasmania and so decided to try our hand at a visit to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park at the end of March 2007. Travelling to Tassie from Perth, Western Australia, transport always proves a challenge; this trip was to be no different. Flights aside, trying to organise land transport from Launceston airport to the Walls car park was our first predicament - essentially there is no public transport to the area. At day's end we caught a taxi into the outskirts of Launceston, jumped on a scheduled coach service to Deloraine and then in Deloraine caught one of the two local taxis who ferried us to the Wall's car park, the local taxi company has a fixed price cash fare for bushwalkers and apparently has regular custom on the route. The total journey took us near on three hours to travel the 120 kilometres from Launceston and cost us about $90 each.

Day One

Arriving at the Walls car park at around 2pm there were at least half a dozen vehicles left in the car park, there was also broken windscreen glass on the ground, some poor unfortunate having no doubt returned from a few days away to discover their car had been broken into, it provided some sense of relief that we had decided not to rent a car. Setting off, the weather was positively balmy, most unlike Tasmania. The heat and absence of any breeze made the hike up to Trappers Hut harder than it should have been, after nearly 90 minutes we arrived, hot and very grateful for the opportunity for a short rest and the chance to take in the history of the hut and surrounds.
Not long after leaving Trappers hut, just prior to the trail winding out onto the plateau we arrived at the Lake Loane junction where the trail divides, to the right the trail heads South to Lake Adelaide on the Junction Lake trail, to the left the trail continues on into the Walls. We headed on into the walls via Solomon's Jewels, by this time it was after 4pm and the sun was getting low in the sky, it was a beautiful afternoon and made for some enjoyable walking into Wilddog Creek, there were unobscured views out to the horizon and to the West we could take in glimpses of the Cradle Mountain National Park. We finally rounded a bend in the trail and saw the boardwalk winding its way across the short plain to the Wild Dog Creek campsite, a few fluorescent coloured tents dotted the southern side of the valley, the first evidence of other walkers we had come across all day.
Wilddog Creek Campsite proved a great spot to spend the night, considerable thought has been put into building the three levels of platforms that span the valley side to ensure visitors can enjoy a level of seclusion and not overly inflict themselves on their neighbours. There is a drop toilet and running water provided through an array of reticulation pipes that at some point must draw water from a stream above the campsite, an unusual, but very welcome luxury in such a remote location. We enjoyed the entire set up and took advantage of the facility. In terms of sustainability it appears this may be the only way to be able to successfully manage the impact of an increasing number of visitors to the area, even in the short time we walked within the Walls and area surrounding Dixons Kingdom the detrimental impact of walkers is becoming self evident. If we had not been walking through, it would have been an ideal spot to use as a base and complete day walks up into the Walls.

Day Two

With clear skies over night the temperature plummeted and we awoke to find frost coating our tents, during the night a Tasmanian Devil had forayed nearby the platform, brief thoughts about a spotlighting excursion quickly outweighed by the animals blood curdling screams as it scampered off down the valley. The weather was cooler, slightly overcast and there was already a persistent wind that meant the shorts and t-shirts of the previous day were replaced by more substantial layers. By 9.30am we were packed up and after a brief climb to the head of the valley we emerged through Herod's gate into the Walls. Despite having seen numerous pictures of the view looking out over Lake Salome, we were still not adequately prepared for how stunning the scenery was.
The trail winds its way slowly down the base of the Western Wall, the dolerite crags jutting menacingly overhead adding to the impact of the wilderness amphitheatre that surrounds you. The Walls is not a big area and the relatively short walk down to the pencil pine forest bordering the approach to Lake Bethseda throws up a range of scenery, I readily imagined myself in Scottish glens or hiking through Tolkien's Middle Earth, it is difficult to find an adequate description to do it justice. We dropped our packs just off the trail and completed a side trip across to Lake Siloam on what can be described as an ill defined route through the scrub that we picked up on the edge of the forest. It was definitely worth the effort, Lake Siloam is nestled between Mount Ophel and Zion Hill, pencil pines dot the shore and there is a conspicuous sense of tranquillity in the area. We explored around the lake shore and took numerous photo's before returning back to the main trail where we had lunch at around 12.30pm.
After our lunch stop we headed up the short climb over Damascus Gate heading for Dixon's Kingdom. We had decided not to climb the Temple or Solomon's Throne, electing instead to head for Mount Jerusalem. Arriving at Dixon's Kingdom at 2pm we had a brief look over the hut before making camp in the forest nearby, (signs in the hut ask walkers not to camp in the area immediately adjacent to the hut). It was disappointing to come across evidence of a recent campfire, it is difficult to comprehend how some visitors can put themselves and this environment at threat by lighting open fires in such a fire susceptible and fragile area, the greyed skeletal outlines of dead pencil pines a constant reminder of the irreversible damage fire has inflicted on different areas of the park over the years.
Having pitched our tents we then took day packs and headed off up the marked trail towards Mount Jerusalem through Jaffa Gate, the trail winds its way up onto a nearby ridge and then slowly ascends through a series of interlinking ridges and tarns before emerging on the summit of Mount Jerusalem, a fairly easy walk and certainly worth the effort given the spectacular 360 degree views, taking in the Walls and Lake Salome to the West, Lake Tyre to the North and out across the Central Plateau and the Lake District to the East, again the weather had been kind and we enjoyed great views framed against a backdrop of blue skies. We descended from the summit, disturbing a particularly large Tiger snake sunning on the trail, this proved to be the first of half a dozen snakes we saw over the duration of the walk. We returned to camp in the late afternoon and spent the last hour of daylight exploring the pencil pine forest in the lee of the Temple, at this time of day there were a large number of paddymelons active. Overnight some weather rolled in from the West and we spent a disturbed night listening to the wind howling in the trees.

Day Three

The following morning we packed up and headed South down Jaffa Vale towards Lake Ball, there is no marked trail between Dixon's Kingdom and the lake, however a procession of walkers have trodden out a clearly marked route which is easy to follow in the open country, again walkers are encouraged to pan out in this area so as minimise the impact of their passage. A band of forest presents a short interlude between the Vale and the shores of Lake Ball, it is easy to lose the track in this area, pressing on, Lake Ball should be reached in well under an hour, the familiar triangular track markers can be seen marking the start of the Lake Ball track. There are a few good camp spots along the shores of Lake Ball, if we ever do this walk again I would skip the over night stop at Dixon's Kingdom and camp at Lake Ball, there was a particularly nice spot just East of the hut, on a natural promontory jutting out into the lake amongst the pencil pines. Reading the entries in the log book at Dixon's Kingdom the lake is also renowned as a good spot for trout fishing. We spent 20 minutes resting at the hut, looking at some recent restoration work before heading off again, making our way West along the lake shore. Going was slow in places as the trail winds its way over boulder falls and the track is strewn with rocks and tree roots, to compensate there are some great outcrops to stop and overview the lake, particularly at the Southern end. The trail leaves the lake shore and briefly skirts an area of small but deep tarns and marsh before crossing a creek where there are the startling remnants of a small burnt out pencil pine forest, it then commences the descent down towards Lake Adelaide. The Lake Ball trail ends with a steep descent to meet the Junction Lake trail, some 100 metres from the Northern tip of the lake. There are a couple of very nice camp spots, one directly on the shores of the Lake and one set back in the pencil pines, adjacent to where the trails meet. We stopped to have lunch on the shore of the Lake, it was just after midday, there was not a cloud in the sky and similar to our first day the temperature was unseasonably warm.
The walk down along the shores of Lake Adelaide was a slog, the track is undulating, the surface uneven and root bound and apart from frequent glimpses of the Lake itself, is not very interesting. There is a brief respite about halfway down the lake as you are forced to clamber up and around a massive rocky outcrop that impedes the trail. The walk along the length of the lake took us just short of 2 hours, in the heat, without any breeze it proved hot and dusty and we were tired and footsore by the time we rounded the South Eastern tip of the lake. We stopped on the Lake shore for a brief break before heading off on the last 1.5 kilometres across to Lake Meston. As we left the shores of Lake Adelaide we noted another very eye catching camping area on a small bay on the South Eastern shore.
The walk across to Lake Meston is through a marshy open plain, the trail is well trodden and in places there is evidence of significant footfall where the track has broken through to form muddy potholes, reminiscent of the 'sodden Lodden' en route to Frenchman's Cap. In what seemed like no time we emerged through a clearing and found ourselves on the Northern Shores of Lake Meston, three walkers were already camped in the prime spot at the head of the Lake but there are numerous very good campsites in this vicinity. We set up camp and then soaked aching feet at the sandy shore, taking in the breathtaking views down the lake. It was a superb setting, a very relaxing end to a long day of walking.

Day Four

We were up early and packed up heading for the Lake Meston Hut, it took us about 40 minutes to reach the hut which is actually at the point where the Lake Myrtle track emerges (The map we had incorrectly showed the hut a further 0.5 kilometre down the trail). It was our plan to walk up onto the saddle directly above the Hut and then to try and locate the route to Mount Rogoona. Doing our pre-trip research we had come across some track notes that indicated that there should be a cairned marker on the side of the trail to indicate the 'turnoff'. The walk out from the Lake Meston Hut was initially steep, but the slope soon levelled off. We emerged into what could be described as a small gully with large flat rocky outcrops on both sides. On the left, atop one of these slabs there were at least two cairns that climbed off into the scrub, the flattened bush indicated other walkers had previously used the route. It was 10.30am, we secreted our packs off the trail and then pushed off into the scrub. At first the bush was thick but it only proved hard going for the first 5 minutes or so before we emerged into an area of rock outcrops in dispersed with low bush and Snowgums. Navigation was fairly straight forward as we gradually ascended first one ridge, then another, the route becoming increasingly exposed as we got higher up. By 12 noon we thought we were almost at the summit, it is worth mentioning that walking up from Lake Meston you cannot see the summit of Mount Rogoona for at least a couple of kilometres into the walk, there are a series of ridges that you have to climb before the summit looms in the distance, hanging over Lake Myrtle. We underestimated the walk and did not leave enough time to make it all the way to the summit, we ended up a kilometre short on one of the adjoining ridges, it was windy and cold and whilst we had to make a concession to the summit we satisfied ourselves with the excellent views from where we were and then headed back down, knowing we still had a good deal of walking ahead of us through to Lake Bill. Realistically you need between 3 to 4 hours from the main trail to do this trip, it is about 7 kilometres round trip without any marked route, a compass or GPS is essential.
It took us over an hour to get back to our packs, by the time we arrived we had emptied our water bottles and so decided to push on to Lake Myrtle to have lunch. In essence the walk down to Lake Myrtle runs parallel to some of the ridges we had just come down off in our attempt to reach Mount Rogoona, so our lunch leg proved longer than we anticipated and it wasn't until early afternoon that we finally managed to swing our packs off at a great spot on the shore of Lake Myrtle. The lake actually wraps around the base of Mount Rogoona and as a warm wind blew in from the North West we lay on the grass resting and taking in another memorable outlook of the peak above and the view off down the lake. Leaving Lake Myrtle around 4.00pm the initial half hour or so provided some easy and pleasant walking, the trail follows a stream and is reasonably open and flat. Crossing Jackson Creek the trail then gradually climbs back up into the forest adjoining the Eastern shore of Lake Bill and winds its way along the length of the Lake, similar to Lake Adelaide this section of the walk, though short proved equally uninspiring and we were happy when the forest gave way to the open plain at the head of Lake Bill. There are a couple of areas suitable for camping at Lake Bill, much will depend on the weather; one area is set back just off the shore in an open button grass clearing with access to the lake, the other site is much more sheltered and lies just on the edge of the forest bordering the Western shore. Again, we were confronted by a recently used fireplace that someone had thrown together, burnt logs still strewn amongst the stones - why is it that some of the people who will go to the effort to get out to these remote areas still insist on being so blithely ignorant to the dangers of open fires, particularly given the bad bush fire season Tassie has endured this year?

Day Five

Camping overnight at Lake Bill there were some light showers during the night, the wind sprung up for a while but generally it was very peaceful, it was surprising that we didn't see or hear any wildlife. We got up at first light and after packing up headed off across Blizzard Plain towards the edge of the scarp and the descent to the car park. Blizzard Plain is marked on the map as a marshy area but the walk out was noticeably dry, there were numerous tarns void of any water and no evidence of the muddy network of trails that typically crisscross these sections. Following the trail markers we made good time, the trail starting to gradually descend through the forest we stopped briefly to sign out at the walker registration box before plunging down the scarp. We encountered a couple of near to vertical sections, we were very grateful for the fact we were descending this trail, going up by this route must be a heart breaker. We reached the Lake Myrtle car park in a little over an hour and a half - a solitary four wheel drive was parked in the corner of the car park.
The return journey to Launceston airport proved relatively uneventful, we were collected by a company called Outdoor Recreational Transport, the company specialises in transporting bush walkers, kayakers and the like. The bus arrived on time and whilst the trip was comparatively expensive costing over $100 each the driver proved very helpful, including allowing us a stop at the Deloraine caravan park, where for $4 we managed to grab a welcome shower before heading for the airport. He was also keen to share with us some local bushwalking knowledge and outlined alternatives routes and access points to the Walls should we return to the area. When I head this way again I will certainly use this company for both forward and return trips.
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