Saturday, June 03, 2017

Western Arthur Winter Amble - Part 1

Day 1 - Huon Campground (Scotts Peak) to Junction Creek

An atrociously exciting weather forecast for a few days last winter prompted a trip into a Western Arthurs winter wonderland.  Having been a couple of decades since my last walk in the area it was good to see the new track setting out from the Huon Camp near Scotts Peak Dam.  (For the youngsters: The track previously set out from the quarry on Red Knoll.  ...and for the oldies: Yes, I acknowlege there was an even earlier era of epic bushwalks in this area when there was no Scotts Peak Dam or Road - that's a subject for another day.)

Forest near Huon Camp, Scotts Peak
The 'new' tack passes through some beautiful rainforest before swinging south onto the old track.  Due to a particularly tardy start from home nightfall engulfed us well before arriving at Junction Creek.  It became a running joke where I would declare in the darkness that, "The next creek would be the last one before Junction."  As it turns out we crossed about 6 'last creeks' before arriving at our camp for the night.

While flowing swiftly the creek was not high so an uneventful crossing preceded the short walk up past the toilet to the upper campsite.

Day 2 - Alpha Moraine

Passing hail showers prompted another slow start to the day.  At one point it settled like snow around our tent.

Settled hail at Junction Creek campsite

By mid-morning we were making our way over swollen streams towards Alpha Moraine.  At the stream flowing from Lake Neptune a strategically placed plank assisted our crossing.  Next a break in the weather gave us a glimpse of surrounding ranges and a lunch opportunity before tackling the afternoon's climb.  Our noble and, perhaps, naive goal was to reach Lake Cygnus.

Lunch approaching Alpha Moraine with a brief glimpse along the Western Arthur Range

Most of the ascent was incident free.  However we should have heeded the roaring sound above us as we approached the top in thigh deep snow and minimal visibility.  While we were thinking the flat tops would be easy walking Hughie* had other ideas.  Icy snow driven by a howling southerly attempted to blow us off the mountain.  Adding to our challenge there was no sign of the track under snow once the terrain leveled out.  Neither of us felt like pulling out map and compass!

After sheltering few minutes behind a rock discretion became the better part of valour and we headed down to a tent-sized ledge just over the leeward side of the range.
Ascending Alpha Moraine
* On Australia's north island Hughie is the god of rain.  In Tasmania Hughie doesn't stop at just rain.  He frequently blesses Tassie bush walkers with hail, sleet, snow (slushy snow, not the nice, dry powdery stuff) and howling gales that would blow the milk out of Kylie's instant coffee.

More photos available on FaceBook here:

1 comment:

Marty Felber said...

G'day Clint. You just "messaged "me earlier today.. funny that I look at yr fb name and voila.... you have done the western Arthur's... which is what I intend to do after lees paddock tramp to overland track! Geez, the snow! Is it going to be worse in mid August?!