Precipitous Bluff Loop
(Mid December 2009)
Day 2 - Afternoon

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Susan's Diary:

Hill One and Hill Two Saddle to Pandani Knob
Tuesday 15 December
8:00 – 17:00

We got up at 6am for an 8am start. The wind was blowing quite strongly making for a cold morning, so we began in fleeces and beanies. We were hoping to make it to Leaning Tea Tree Saddle today, although not really expecting to, in order to give us a shot of making Precipitous Bluff before the expected rain for Thursday. The walk from Hill Two to Pigsty Ponds was fairly easy with spectacular views of everything – mountains and ocean. We arrived at Pigsty Ponds after 1.5 hours and ran into the son from the day before. As it turns out he re-injured himself the night before when they pushed to make camp at Pigsty Ponds. We had seen his and another tent from Hill Four and incredibly the owner of the other tent knew the son and told him of his attempt at Precipitous Bluff where he got lost for 1.5 hours in the vicinity of Leaning Tea Tree Saddle. He said he climbed a tree to get a bearing to follow back onto the ridge and then decided against continuing on. He warned us not to leave anything on the outside of our packs and to be very careful with the track in the coming days.
From Pigsty Ponds there was a tiring climb up past an impressive stone arrow marking the Mt La Peruse turn-off. The track then continued onto Maxwell Ridge. Past this point the track climbs steadily to a rocky ridge, with excellent views over the landscape traversed the day before. On the ridge top we followed erect cairns for easy spectacular walking until we reached the ridge that descended onto King Billy Saddle. The ridge gave more excellent views of the area, in particular Ooze Lake and Pindars Peak, which for the first time was in complete view (the day before you just manage to see its peak). The descent was tiring through mud and narrow corrals.
The day was heating up, in the 30s, and from King Billy Saddle to Ooze Lake we had to bash through reasonably dense scrub which had the advantage of providing respite from the sun. At Ooze Lake we stopped for lunch. Given the time was 13:40 when we finished, we didn’t think we would make it to Leaning Tea Tree Saddle so we had to stock up on water again (no reliable water before then), which was unfortunate. I found carrying a very heavy pack very tiring in the sun.
Straight after Ooze Lake there is a steady gradual climb up to Pindars Peak, which starts off on the west side and then crosses over to the east side of the range which is sheltered from any potential breezes. This made the climb very long and unpleasant for me in the scorching heat. With much relief we reached the Pindars Peak ascent turn-off after a slow progress 1:20 hours. Given the excellent weather and with no pack, I found the energy to join Luca on the climb up to the top – and it was worth it as the views of the South Coast were excellent. The beaches on the South Coast track looked very inviting, and contrasted starkly to the rather dry and hot ranges we were on. Much “talk” was had about abandoning the ‘loop’ and cutting across to the coast – mostly by Luca, and only in jest. Tassie bush bashing is best left alone! The views from Pindars Peak spanned 360 degrees: also including the Arthurs, Mt Anne, Precipitous Bluff, New River Lagoon, the Southern Ranges, and more.
Eventually we started descending off Pindars Peak, the heat of the day had lessened considerably by this stage, and a breeze occasionally picked up. The track stays pretty close to the cliff face on the west side until the cliffs peter out and you regain the ridge. Not long after we reached Pandani Knob we decided to call it a day. The campsite was very pretty, surrounded by sculpted scoparia, and there were some small pools of dodgy water, probably only suitable for cleaning (given they were on the track).
We figured that the temperature must have been 30 degrees that day so we were a bit worried about how we would fair the next day, expected to be in the 30s again, where we would be scrub bashing for the whole day. We decided we should get a very early start and hoped there would be another cold and windy morning.
The evening was glorious as we cooked outside with views of Precipitous Bluff and Federation Peak. We spoke about waiting for the sunset but given our impending early start - and fatigue - we decided to get an early night. The weather was warm and Luca was only in a T Shirt until 8pm. We even attempted to sleep with the fly open but the wind caused an annoying flapping sound, so it was closed sometime in the early hours of the morning.

Day 2 Walking Map

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