Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Shadow Lake & Little Hugel

My last post described a failed trip to Lake Rhona* which ended up being a Florentine Valley Road recce with a short walk to Richea Creek.  I left that story with us camped in public forest at Catagunya looking for an alternate adventure.  We certainly found one!

Mount Olypus from Little Hugel
After checking Lake St Clair ferry prices we decided a trip to Shadow Lake would be a good option.  The walk traverses a variety of Eucalypt and Myrtle forest on the climb away from the Hugel River until a flat, sparsely vegetated area is traversed.

Hugel from Little Hugel
Upon arriving at the lake a number of large, established camp sites can be found along the track leading to Forgotten Lake and Little Hugel.  We selected a dry, sandy spot to pitch our tent and enjoy a relaxed lunch.

Sunrise on Little Hugel and Shadow Lake
In the afternoon we had a lovely walk up Little Hugel.  We encountered settled snow in the Pandani forest overlooking Forgotten Lake.  By the time we arrived on the dolerite scree slopes it was quite deep in places.  At the summit the sun warmed us up as clouds intermittently unveiled views to the north and east while the western horizon remained broody.  Mounts Hugel and Rufus peeked out for the briefest of moments while the bulk of Olympus was a more willing focus for our gaze.

Shadow Lake camp
Reluctantly we retreated back to our tent and settled in for the evening as flurries of snow started to look a little serious.  Much to our delight, while the sun was setting, snow started settling on our sandy patch.  By morning it was half a metre deep.

Kylie clearing a path
Thoughts of spending a second night and/or returning back via Mt Rufus were quickly abandoned as we wallowed through delightfully deep, fresh powder all the way back to Cynthia Bay via the most direct route.  What seemed scant vegetation the previous day presented a much more formidable obstacle with every branch and sapling bowing under the weight of the snow making the track tricky to locate in places.

Snow monster on my back
We returned to our car just as roads in the area were being declared open so an uneventful but stunningly beautiful drive back to Hobart quickly ensued.  Settled snow accompanied us all the way back to the southern end of the Fourteen Mile.

Fourteen Mile Road
* We have since had a successful winter trip to Lake Rhona.  How we dealt with the flooded Gordon is, as they say in the classics, another story.

No comments: