27 March 2010

Western Arthurs Jan 2003, Day 2

Junction Creek to Lake Cygnus

Well, one good thing about climbing 600m up Moraine A in the rain and drizzle, is that you don't get as hot as you would on a sunny day. Even so, if we weren't already saturated by brushing past so much wet foliage, we'd have probably been saturated by our own perspiration. It is very strange feeling so hot when all around you is so cold. Clouds clinging to the top of the range reduced visibility to about 50m, and at times the whole party ahead of me would disappear from view.

"Ah!", thought I. "This is the Western Arthurs weather people tell you about!"
Actually I was wrong. It's not, because it wasn't a blizzard.

The creator of these steps was either an engineer or an artist. They are remarkable either way (both up and down!). Lake Cygnus was down there somewhere. We had purposefully made each day short so that there lots of time to rest, eat, avoid whiteouts, and so on. Tassy Parks and Wildlife have been working hard on the traditional campsites up the top of the Western Arthurs. There are camping platforms at Lake Cygnus, Lake Oberon, High Moor, and Haven Lake. Whilst they take the wildness out of camping, they certainly help keep the place from deteriorating. It is such a delicate alpine environment that "wild camping" is just not appropriate.

In fact, whilst walking to Lake Cygnus, you can see some fenced trial areas where they have been measuring the wear and tear of traffic on alpine meadow. And actually you can see the traffic damage all along the track wherever they haven't done trackwork. It is a real paradox. The place is being loved to death.
After the cloud cleared, we climbed back up to get a clearer view of what we'd missed in the bad weather earlier that day. The trial areas are near this view.

Mt Hesperus is a beautiful peak. Moraine A is beyond the right hand spur. The couloir on the right drops down to Lake Pluto, which is adjacent to Lake Neptune. The picture above of Helen and the Lakes in the background gives and idea of how far that gully drops.

From couloirs and long drops to boudoirs and short ones. One thing about the "developed" campsites is that they (and Junction Creek) each had these "atomic" dunnies. They are fantastic! Just unscrew the lid, turn around without looking down, do your business, and then screw the lid back on. Net time taken, about one minute with the right sort of diet! These things alone have done much to reduce the incidence of giardia and similar bugs up in the mountains, and certainly reduce the incidence of poorly buried paper all over the place (witness some of the emergency huts around Dove Lake at Cradle Mtn).

As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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