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.

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