Monday, 20 January 2014

Tasmanian Wilderness Hiker - Day 7

Friday 17 January

This was to be our final full day of this trip. The week had gone so fast it was hard to believe that we would be home the next day.

Three options were offered to the group for this final day. Options:
1. Starting at Dove Lake car park: Ascent to Hansons Peak (some airy sections and steep gradients), along the face of Cradle Mountain, down the Overland Track back to the Dove Lake carpark. This was rated as a 10km, moderate to challenging walk of 6-7 hours.
2. Starting at Ronny Creek car park: Overland Track to Crater Lake, Wombat Pool Track to Lake Lilla, Lake Lilla Track to the junction with the Dove Lake Circuit then clockwise around Dove Lake. This walk would have been about 10kms, too.
3. Circuit around Dove Lake starting at the Dove Lake car park and taking the shuttle bus back to the Visitors Centre and then walking the couple of kms back to the Chateau.

I opted for option 1 while Trevor chose option 2. You will find details of both these walks in this post.

Lorraine's Dove Lake Circuit

The forecast was for a hot day. With this in mind I added my small thermos to my pack in addition to 2 litres of water and a 200m juice pack. I also left 600ml of water on the bus. I stripped as much as possible out of my pack, including my rain jacket, although I did put my fleece in to stop things moving around. It still seemed heavy but then perhaps I was beginning to feel tired.

We were attempting to get an early start and got away from the Chateau just on 8 o'clock.

The four hikers doing option 2 were duly dropped at Ronny Creek with Marie as their guide.

Three hikers had opted for option 3 and they set out from the Dove Lake car park with the option 1 group.

Our group of five hikers had the required 2 guides (Lisa and Monica) and both pointed out features to us through the hike.

Much of the walk today was across terrain with low level plants and very few trees. What trees there were were generally quite small.

When we arrived at Dove Lake there was cloud cover which persisted for most of the morning. The air was still and the reflection of Candle Mountain and the other peaks on the lake was near perfect.

There are lots of tracks accessible from the Dove Lake car park

It is hard to tell where the lake starts due to the clear reflection of the surrounding features
The bumpy  and pointy bits in the background is Cradle Mountain ... from left to right
We headed off along the Dove Lake Circuit Trail as far as Glacier Rock.

Cradle Mountain reflected in the still surface of Dove Lake

Glacier Rock is a large rock which has been deposited on the edge of the lake. The views from the top of the rock across the lake to Cradle Mountain were stunning.

View from Glacier Rock across the lake towards Cradle Mountain
A short distance from Glacier Rock we left the the Dove Lake Circuit Track and headed off uphill on the Lake Rodway Track. This track climbed steeply from the lake level, around 950m mark to just on 1170m near Hansons Peak. The track had good views out to the east with the Walls of Jerusalem standing out on the horizon as we looked out over Lake Hanson.

The cloud overhead decided that it would give us a scare and started to drop spots of rain. Fortunately it was only a few spots as most of us had opted to leave our rain jackets behind today.

On this section the front markers saw a white lipped snake. It got out of our way very quickly so most of us missed seeing it.

Looking out over Lake Hanson towards the east
The alpine flora was showing off in all its glory:

Christmas Bells
These flowers were clinging to the rock
The track had risen quite steeply and one section had a chain support to help get up a steep, rocky section of the track.

Negotiating the chain section of the climb
We continued to have views across Lake Dove as well as other lakes in this area and the face of Cradle Mountain.

Looking down on the end of Lake Hanson with the land falling away at the right hand end of the lake
The track continued past Twisted Lakes before we arrived at a hut near a tarn where we stopped for morning tea. At least I had a cup of tea.

Morning tea with the hut in the background
Leaving the Lake Rodway Track we picked up the Face Track which took us up onto and then along a ridge line at around the 1240m mark. The track gradually rose to about 1260m just before it met the Overland Track.

Looking back on the track we had walked
Looking down onto Dove Lake from the Face Track
While most of the track was well maintained this section needed a bit of attention
Looking up to the western end of Cradle Mountain. The rock structure can be seen in this photo
More of the colourful display that met us as we came down along the Face Track

These bushes had flowers ranging from orange through pink and red
We turned north and head down the Overland Track stopping at Kitchen Hut for lunch and its welcome toilet.

The track junction: Overland to the right, Summit and Face Track to the left with Cradle Mountain looming above

Looking down onto Cradle Plateau with the toilet over to the left with Crater Lake visible in the distance above the toilet; Kitchen Hut and the Overland Track to the right

At this point the track was quite busy with overlanders heading south, Cradle Mountain summit climbers heading up and down the mountain, those just doing high circuits of Dove Lake as well as people coming up to this point.

Kitchen Hut

Brett, one of our group, dearly would have liked to tackle the climb to the summit of Cradle Mountain. Unfortunately, because we were in a guided group, we all had to stay together and two guides would have had to accompany those in their group who were tackling the climb so no go. The summit of the mountain stands at 1545, almost 300m above the junction of the Overland and Face Tracks. The Cradle Mountain Summit Track is rated steep and, looking at the topography, would have been a fairly hard climb. I'm not too sad that Lisa and Monica turned Brett down.

By early afternoon the cloud had begun to clear, except foe the smoke which was drifting in from fires, and the temperature started to shoot up.

After lunch we followed the Overland Track to Marions Lookout. This had views across Dove Lake. We also managed to see the option 2 group who were down on the edge of the lake doing their circuit.

Just below Marions Lookout we met our second section of chains for the day. On the whole they did assist in the steep descent of the track that they serviced.

The tracked provided good views of Crater Lake before we turned off on the Wombat Pool Track which eventually took us past the rather small Wombat Pool and on to the northern tip of Lake Lilla.
Wombat Pool

Wombat Pool with the reflection of a tree highlighting the brown colour of the water

Picking up the Lake Lilla Track heading south east we eventually met the Dove Lake Circuit Track which we followed clockwise until we found the option 2 party lounging beside the lake, some with the bare feet cooling off in the lake.

A final view of Cradle Mountain across Dove Lake
This ended the walking part of our trip.

... and now for Trevor's day

There were 3 options today. I decided to take the second one which started from the Ronny Creek car park. This is the normal start of the Overland Track. 

There were four walkers in the group along with Marie as our guide.

We headed off along the Overland Track towards the foot bridge.

The following photographs are an indication of the flora in the area.

After reaching the foot bridge we continued along the boardwalks of the Overland Track to Crater Falls

Crater Falls
From Cater Falls we headed to Crater Lake.

More flowers
At Crater Lake there were some striking cliffs and reflections of these in the water.

Reflections in Crater Lake

Continuing past Crater Lake we turned onto the Wombat Pool Track. 

Before reaching Wombat Pool we had views overlooking Lake Lilla and Dove Lake.
Lake Lilla

Lake Lilla with Dove Lake in the distance
Wombat Pool was a pleasant body of water with great reflections and Cradle Mountain in the background.

Beautiful reflections on Wombat Pool

Cradle Mountain
We turned onto the Lake Lilla Track which took us to the Dove Lake car park. There were toilets at the car park and most of the group took advantage of these.

Looking down onto Dove Lake
Suitably refreshed (or relieved) we headed off to do a circuit around Dove Lake. The views across the glassy water were wonderful.

Cradle Mountain reflected in Dove Lake
Cradle Mountain reflected in a ripple free Dove Lake
Glacier Rock sits on the edge of Dove Lake a short distance from the car park.

Looking across Dove Lake to Cradle Mountain from the top of Glacier Rock

Looking across Dove Lake to the boat shed

The walk around the lake was a combination of boardwalks and rock hoping.

Halfway around the lake we stopped and had lunch which was overseen by a Currawong.

A brooding Dove Lake
We continued around Dove Lake until we came to Ballroom Forest which is a temperate rainforest.

Ballroom Forest is a tangle of trees and understory plants

The Ballroom Forest gave a different aspect to the Lake walk.

After passing through Ballroom Forest we continued past a beach and the Boat Shed before arriving back at the Dove Lake car park and our bus.

The boat shed nestled on the shore of Dove Lake

And a final parting shot of Cradle Mountain

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