30 April 2010

Frenchman's Cap Jan 2003 - Day 1

Bus stop to Loddon River

The first day was supposed to be a leisurely late afternoon stroll into the Loddon River from the Lyell Highway - arriving before dark - which became less leisurely as bus-mishaps delayed us, leaving us to start at 7.30pm. Close to the start of the walk, we crossed the Franklin River (pictured left). The Franklin has become a symbol in Australia of survival of the bush from corporate greed and rampant "progress". It and the Lower Gordon River were going to be dammed - but after many protests - the decision got overturned. We were to return to the Franklin - which curls west and then south around Frenchmans Cap - when we walked out from Frenchmans northwards over the Mary Creek plain.

Things have changed a bit on the track. The bridge over the Loddon is no longer a log and a wire (tricky when the river is up a metre or so). On the right, you can see the log at the back spanning the width of the river. The wire has been removed. The bridge is now a suspension bridge, shown below.

We arrived at the Loddon River just on dark, bumping into Glen and Jenny and their kids who had also arrived just minutes before us. So we all scrabbled around in the dimming light to find some tent sites before catching up with each other and then going beddy byes.

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

29 April 2010

Frenchman's Cap - Jan 2003


This five day trip to Frenchmans Cap (south-western Tasmania) was the first of two walks, designed to get us fit enough for the second and more gruelling seven day walk, a traverse of the Western Arthur Range. Knowing that the novelty of chocolate and lolly-laced scroggin was fading, we resorted to a double-whammy of distractions/attractions for the boys by doing this walk with another family - Glen, Jenny, Matt and Sally - and two more lads, Liam and Jack (we were staying with Liam's wonderful family before and between these walks). This turned out a good distraction for Helen and I as much as for our boys, and has whet our appetite for more similar convoys.

The walk we took was not the usual in-out route which covers the Loddon Plains twice, but a through route, catching the bus at Victoria Pass. This took us 1000 metres down from Frenchmans Cap to the Franklin River, crossing it at the Irenabyss, a beautiful chasm of still water, and then out over the Mary Creek Plains, Flat Bluff and the Ragland Range. This presented a unique set of challenges, including a potential swim of the Franklin river with packs, and an extremely damp and leech-infested campsite.

Frenchmans CapFor Helen and me, Frenchman's Cap was a long-awaited return of about 25 and 22 years each. It's amazing what one can and can't remember about such things, after such a time. I had vague recollections of the Sodden (or is that Soddin'?) Loddon Plains - mainly that they were drier than expected, with lots of burnt trees. Neither was true this time. They were muddy and green. My first impressions of climbing to Barron Pass were pretty unforgettable, though. As you straighten your back after a "bit of a grunt" (a steep climb), you are whacked in the face by the south-eastern face of Frenchmans Cap, a 1000 foot sheer quartzite cliff. This was true again this time.

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

01 April 2010

Western Arthurs Jan 2003 - Day 7

Lake Vesta to Huon Campground

So we got down Moraine K quickly enough, and soon found ourselves negotiating a "shortcut" to cut off several kilometres of track. We had picked a route that minimised scrub bashing, but had no option but to plunge through some pretty think stuff. I think in the end we perhaps saved half an hour. We were rewarded, however, with some beautiful intimate shots of nature at her finest, made more luscious by the fact that the rest of the day was spent trying to get from shady spot to shady spot, as the Arthur Plains warmed up to high 30s.

Because my shots here were more about the scenery, I neglected to tell you that we had enoyed the pleasure of the company of Liam Correy for our trip. Liam was patient with us and knew how to wait. And I deny all rumours that we invited Liam along with us so that he could take our family snap!

Atop Mt Scorpio, with only the sky above us.

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