Tasmanian Wilderness Walks:
Eastern Arthurs
Full Traverse

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Day Six:   03 January 2009
Goon Moor to Hanging Lake
Walking Time - 5.5 Hours

Luca's Diary
Day 6:     Another miserable start to the day weather wise prompted another sleep in. This time Susan fell back to sleep while Luca waited for her to wake up. Drops had been heard on the tent throughout the night and morning and we were pleased to discover it was rain falling and not snow.

However, visibility was probably restricted to 30 metres.

Luca was hesitant to push on to Hanging Lake, given the weather. A view shared by Mike and Sam who had decided to stay put for the day. However, Susan would not be deterred by such a triviality as the weather, and anything short of a Category 6 super storm would have been unlikely to hold her back.

We packed our bags and were on our way at 10am. The weather was close to freezing and we were dressed accordingly.
For the first few hours, until we had crossed the first of the four peaks, the track was an easy grade and easy to follow, made somewhat harder by the patches of snow covering the track. Had there been any visibility, the views would no doubt have been spectacular. As it turned out, up to this point and for the rest of this dayís walk, we saw lots of grey mist. Many of the famed landmarks along the way such as The Gables and the Four Peaks were completely missed.

From the first peak the track became harder with some awkward rock scrambles, both on climbing and descending. However, luckily for Luca, there was not real exposure to heights, and whilst there were two or three very short awkward spots, we did not need to pack haul (although it may perhaps have been wiser to do so on one or two occasions). On one occasion Susan did not feel confident with the handholds and used Lucaís handhold! We commented after completing the Four Peaks that the awkward spots (probably only two) were slightly more difficult than the more awkward spots on the Western Arthurs. However, these sections on the Eastern Arthurs were much shorter.

The track once again became quite easy and soon thereafter we were on Thwaites Plateau. Again, although visibility was poor, this looked to be an amazing spot. In fact, so poor was the visibility, that we missed all the landmarks up here, including the Thwaites Plateau campsite turnoff, amazingly the Devilís Thumb (which apparently sticks out like the proverbial) and the Forest Chute turnoff. (We think we may have seen cairns marking what could have been the track to the campsite).

Finally we arrived at the Hanging Lake Track Junction which was luckily obvious enough for us to find. Leading up to this junction the snow had become thicker (which was probably due to the height gained since the start of Thwaites Plateau). The snow had covered many of the wooden steps leading to Hanging Lake, making following the track slightly more difficult, particularly given how sculptured the track is. Luca even sank into the snow to above his gaiters.

We arrived at the campsite at 3pm and as expected, there was no one at the campsite and the tent platforms were covered in 10cms of snow. We spent some time clearing the snow off the platform as the weather miraculously seemed to have warmed up by a few degrees. This didnít last long.
Our hope had been to explore the Southern Traverse if weather allowed, however, both the visibility and sheer coldness kept us in our tent for the remainder of the afternoon. We were lucky enough to look outside the tent as the mist opened and from the toilet platform there was a great view of Lake Geeves.

Our spirits were buoyed by the prospect of the nightís dinner which consisted of Tom Yum Goong Thai soup with coconut milk, sliced beans, half a packed of tofu cake and parmesan cheese with mountain bread on the side.

As we left the tent to wash the dishes we noticed that the mist had lifted considerably and views of Lake Geeves and the peaks along the Southern Traverse were available. We then walked out to Hanging Lake and back towards the track junction where a view of the Eastern Arthurs was had. We were quite excited by this, so Susan talked Luca into putting his boots on and we walked back to the track junction so we could finally see the Devils Thumb! We walked towards the start of the Southern Traverse but, by this stage, it was close to 9pm and the wind was freezing at the exposed track junction, so we headed back to our sheltered tent site.


Day 6 Photos:

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