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Friday, October 31, 2008

Mt Field

We realised when we arrived at Meadowbank Lake that we were quite close to Mt Field, and because it was too windy to get out the kayaks, and because the car batteries needed charging, and because Thursday was forecast to be fine (with a great big high over the whole state!) we decided to go for a drive over there on Wednesday to see what day walks there were. The Ranger told us that there were good views on the K Col – Tarn Shelf walk, and even though there was some rock hopping it was no worse than Marion’s Lookout (at Cradle Mountain)…

Yes, the “…” are there for good reason. This was the most tiring walk we’ve done so far. Starting with about 1km of gravel road that ascended over 200m was not a great way to ease into the day. A scramble up and around a rocky path for 700-800m did bring us out to a boardwalk, though, so we were settling in for a nice walk, with another climb up to K Col. It didn't last long, though, and then there were boulder, boulders and more boulders!

The first snow drift we came across was over medium sized boulders. It was melting in places, and we had no idea where there might be cracks and crevices under the snow, or how soft it would be. The intrepid leader did his best to skirt most of the snow and carefully stomp out a path across the narrowest section. It was slow going, but really pretty (he kept stopping in the middle of drifts to take photos!).

We had lunch at a fairly high point that looked south and west – Mt Weld, Mt Anne, Federation Peak in the far distance along with the Frankland Range, Lake Gordon and even Frenchmans Cap. We suddenly realised that we were less than one third of the way around the walk, but were presuming that it would be mostly downhill and not so much rock hopping, so ambled on. The back third of the walk was along spongy heath and was really pretty (although a bit soggy in places).

Then we started going up again… and came across more rocks, and then more snow. It was slow going (especially for the little lady, because when her legs get tired they slip really easy and she didn’t fancy wet boots, or a foot down a crack in the rocks).

One snow drift looked nice and fun to slide down, but we didn’t want to use our raincoats and then have to carry them wet. As we walked down it, though, the track marker seemed to disappear below us. Then we noticed that there were some cracks in the snow where it had started to slide and we realised that the drift just suddenly dropped almost vertically! We backtracked and went along some rocks and then came down and around a bit further down.

Nine hours, innumerable rocks, quite a few snow drifts, 800 metres of total ascent, almost 19 kilometres, and a platypus planning in the lake later, we arrived back at the car, exhilarated but exhausted!