Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

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Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:21 pm

In late April this year my wife and I extended out of our comfort zone a bit further by going significantly off track to explore around the Lake McRae area.
It was the 3rd trip to try and see the fagus in full flight. While there was plenty to see, I suspect [and some locals also informed us] that the best had been a few weeks earlier.
The timing really does vary a lot year to year. :)
Our previous fagus visit was also in late April around the Labyrinth and there was very little colour at that time.

Coming from interstate, we eased our schedule by booking 2 nights at a cabin in Waldheim.
We would be at the mercy of the weather as we had limited time, but the outlook past the first day was looking good.
It was very wet on that first day but we did explore the close in lakes and got to visit the boat shed at Crater Lake and Crater Falls for the first time in 7 visits.
We discovered that my wife's rain jacket had lost its waterproofing, so considered ourselves fortunate to be able to go back to the Visitor Centre and get a new one before committing to 4 days out.
It was also an opportunity to see Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls.
We also did a quick stroll through Weindorfers Forest in the gloom.

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The Fagus was certainly around

9212Shore.jpg
Crater Lake shoreline

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Crater Lake from the outlet near the boat shed.

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One of the 3 drops making up Crater Falls

9265Wombat.jpg
A delightful wombat who waddled next to the path to Knyvet Falls for quite a distance, seemingly oblivious to us.
Last edited by eggs on Sun 18 Sep, 2016 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:24 pm

9295wow.jpg
In Weindorfers Forest


Next day was an early start in perfect conditions. There was ice on the ponds and even on the edges of Dove Lake.
We decided to start the walk on the western side of Lake Dove past Lake Wilks for the morning sun on the fagus.

9301MorningCradle.jpg

9312bReflection.jpg
Some ice on a mirror pond

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Looking up to the falls cascading off the plateau above.

9353AboveWilks.jpg
Cradle rising above Lake Wilks
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:29 pm

Had a break at the Face Track Junction and I raced up to the saddle to view over the Rodway side.
The view was lovely but some cloud was ominously drifting over Benson Peak.
The cloud kept coming in when we made an attempt on Cradle Mt. I got to the top for my 4th ascent - but the cloud meant no clear views.

9385BackOCradle.jpg
The back of Cradle from the saddle. Cloud starting to drift over.

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Heading to the top of Cradle. Seemed harder on the 4th attempt and my wife turned back despite having climbed it twice before.


I had hoped to visit Suttons Tarn on this trip, but as my plans are rather dynamic, I took a stroll off the Overland Track to a point where I could at least get a view down to it.
The cloud cover got thicker and lower as we proceeded past Fury Gorge.

9467Suttons.jpg
Suttons Tarn

9486Parndani&Fagus.jpg
Lovely Forest along the track

9497TowersInMist.jpg
Moody Cradle as we passed it.
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:33 pm

We camped overnight at Waterfall Valley where there were very few people at the time.
[There was a discussion about the issues with the permitted access to the McRae area and the request not to use Waterfall Valley at
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=13261&p=299056&hilit=A+quick+update+borne+from+experience#p299056 ]
At 3 AM I got up for a nature call, and then got the tripod out for a rare scene over Barn Bluff.
9516ThreeAM.jpg
Barn Bluff at 3 am


Next morning was clear again and we explored some of the waterfalls of Waterfall Valley.
I could spend more time exploring this valley.

9530OssaClose.jpg
Zoom in on Ossa

9538ReflectedBarn.jpg
Reflections

9546Cascade.jpg
A minor cascade in the valley

9551WaterfallValley.jpg
A major fall in the valley
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:39 pm

9569WaterfallValleyC.jpg
The first fall below the track - loved the fagus in colour


We followed the Overland Track up to the high point past the Lake Will turnoff.
From there we started our introduction to off track proper.
Progress slows down and you notice the immediate uncertainty of how the feet will fall due to clumping and hollows, but it was low vegetation and we had good visibility throughout the trip.
We kept high but also made for a high point over Lake Agnew. Rather than heading south, we chose to soak in more of Agnew by going around it to the north.
After finding a way across the inlet creek we had lunch on a slope looking back to the lake.
Now we entered into true button grass and sought to find some paths of low heath that cut through it.
We were heading generally up, but got close enough to drop packs and gain the high point above McRae.

9638OverAgnew.jpg
Looking over Lake Agnew

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Panorama of Agnew

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Panorama from the high point above McRae


From there we plotted as best we could a path to minimise button grass and get onto the rocky ridge which is the Razorback.
This ridgeline gives grand views to the Pelion area and has an amazing unnamed lake butting up to a sharp gully in the cliffline.

9705RazorbackLakePan.jpg
Panorama of the lake off the Razorback
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:45 pm

9716Razorback.jpg
Lake and gully


The rock tended to run out as we approached the end of the ridge leading to wading through scrub well over waist height in parts.
The final approach to the Hydro Hut was the worst bit, as we picked a line with taller scrub and scoparia.

9717IntoSun.jpg
Bit scrubby


Not sure how much to say about this old hydrographers hut.
It was built to house workmen investigating the water potential for use in the mines below along the Forth Valley.
It was comfortable for the 2 of us and could take more by using floor space.
The setting was delightful.
It is on the shore of one tarn, not far from a bigger lake on the plateau near the edge, where a hard to see waterfall drops into the Forth Valley.
The afternoon views from the plateau edge made up for the missed views of Oakleigh when smoke obscured the valley on our Overland Track trip.

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What a place

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Sunset on Oakleigh and Pelion East


I took out the hefty tripod and used the lake as a feature for some moonlight & star photography.

9759Moonlit Hut.jpg
Moonlit hut
Last edited by eggs on Sun 18 Sep, 2016 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:53 pm

In the morning - some pools were frozen again and the larger lake had that drifting mist hanging over the surface.

9797ReflectingPan.jpg
More reflections

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The view over the southern lake

9805BasinView.jpg
Ossa rises above


Leaving the hut - we headed to the rocky outcrop to the north to get a view across to McRae and down to the Razorback Falls far below.
Surveying the route across to the lake, it was hard to pick an easy line, as the scrub was quite thick throughout.
But we managed to find a few lines to follow and soon broke out into the valley floor.
Had a break next to Lake McRae before going high over the next hill to pick a lighter line of vegetation.
A good run down into the next valley but going upstream we left it early and pushed through the thickest scrub to gain the tops. I think this is called Mount Harnett.
We had lunch looking back over McRae and Lake Ellen. I went higher to get views over the lakes to the north, which includes Lake Andrews.

9841IconicMcCrae.jpg
Lake McRae and Barn Bluff


We kept high above Lake Ellen as we headed back to the button grass plains that are quite extensive across to the Overland Track.
It was an interesting exercise weaving through and over the button grass seeking to keep the right heading, but we came out right on Lake Holmes where we chatted to Davo1.

9898Creek.jpg
Small creek breaks the monotony of the button grass
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 10:59 pm

That night was at a much more crowded Waterfall Valley - where we had some discussions with the Ranger about what was appropriate for accessing the McRae area.
Without an OT Pass, the expectation of Parks is that walkers bypass Waterfall Valley and camp elsewhere.
The idea is a long trip possibly right out to the lakes area and then back to at least Scott-Kilvert hut when coming back.

Next day we went against the flow early to avoid the why are you here thoughts.
Cloud was streaming past the peaks to the south, and there was a stiff wind.
But the weather was good so we left the packs to climb Barn Bluff. It was our second climb - but this time we had good views all around.
And we considered this climb significantly easier than Cradle Mt from a few days earlier.

9919MajesticPelion.jpg
Cloud streaming

9923.jpg
On the Overland Track - Can you see the hut? - its in the photo

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Cradle Cirque

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Scrambling on the top of Barn Bluff


Then back to the packs. We passed quite a few paused at the track junction, so we quickly made our way down the path towards Lake Rodway.
Decided that tenting was preferable to staying in the hut, but had a great time talking with the others in the hut during the evening.
Last day was a big one. We had failed to find any obvious tee off south of the hut to head up to Lyndon Tarns, so this day I was considering following the rocky bench from the track back to the Tarns.
Had a good look and it appears to have a pad leading off, but piked out knowing we had a lot ahead.
The fagus all through here was fantastic, but the strong winds meant no good reflections today.

a0057Saddle&PoolB.jpg
Cradle morning vista
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 11:06 pm

a0058PhonePan.jpg
A phone panorama


At Artist Pool we branched off track again to head up towards Artillery Knob. Some local ladies had advised us on the route and said to make sure we visited what they called "Dombrovski Tarns".

We wandered around the tops to get a view down to Hidden Lake before visiting the tarns, and from there cutting through some pine groves to ascend the white rock heaps of Artillery Knob.
I had a few ideas about a route back to Twisted Lakes, but as we followed a number of leads we ended up boxed in by forest.
Giving up on the idea of retracing our steps we entered a mixed forest with quite large fagus trees.
We didn't have far to go, but after ducking and weaving and then taking the packs off to either push them through or drag them over, we were certainly thinking this was a tough way to go.
But then we did eventually break out above the Twisted Lakes and I ended up wandering for some time around one of my favourite places in Tas admiring the combination of fagus, forest, lakes and mountain backdrop.

a0119DombrovskisTarnsB.jpg
Dombrovskis Tarns?

a0127ArtilleryPlateauPan.jpg
Panorama on the tops

a0145OnArt.jpg
Working our way along Artillery Knob

a0154Twisted.jpg
Twisted Lakes from Artillery Knob
Last edited by eggs on Mon 19 Sep, 2016 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 11:11 pm

a0156t.jpg
The drop off from Artillery Knob

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In the jungle

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Panorama of Artillery Knob and Twisted Lakes


The return was over Hansons Peak where the wind was ripping through.
a0202PanHansonViewsSm.jpg
Panorama from Hansons Peak


But as we drove out, we stopped to check out the small tarns I had suspected were next to the road but hidden by the moraine.
Sometimes you don't have to go far to get to some very pretty places and have them all to yourselves.
a0259CradleValleyPool.jpg
A short stroll to a view
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby eggs » Fri 16 Sep, 2016 11:14 pm

We did take the opportunity on the day we flew out to drop in on the Alum Cliffs and we arrived at the lookout in time to watch a river of cloud making its way above the Mersey River.
Quite magical and a nice way to say good bye to Tasmania once again.

aIMGP0277.jpg
Alum Cliffs over the Mersey River
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby DaveNoble » Sun 18 Sep, 2016 10:03 am

Nice photos! Looks like a colourful trip.

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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby Geevesy » Sun 18 Sep, 2016 3:04 pm

Beautiful Eggs - never get tired of that area when the fagus is out
A path! A path!
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby cams » Mon 19 Sep, 2016 10:21 am

Beautiful photos. Great report.
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Re: Fagus, McRae and Artillery Knob

Postby Davo1 » Tue 20 Sep, 2016 6:22 am

Great report eggs.
Love the photos and it was nice to meet you both.
Look forward to reading about your next adventure.
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