Snakes in torchlight

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Sunday, March 16, 2008

I mentioned in the last entry about the recent talks of treks and summits and my complete lack of clothing or preparation now that I'm living out of a saddle bag.

Well we've just got back from the summit of Mount Murchison, the west coast's highest peak and an absolute bitch when you've got out-of-practice knees and no boots. Not that any of the pain or lifelessness I've been left with hasn't been worth it. It's all been worth it.

Prior to the big day we'd agreed to get up above the tree line early, just in time for sunrise. This meant getting ourselves up at around 4am and setting off with that vacant, characterless gait you have when someone pulls you out of a deep sleep to do something mindful or testing. But when that first feint blanket of light started to emerge out of the blackness, all the sweating and panting that had dragged us out of the trees and in to the open became worthwhile.

The altitude at that point is comical compared with that at the summit, but the views and panorama we were afforded as our heads poked through the bush were unimaginable - a simple series of distant misty peaks, all carefully entwined to make up a wholesome mountainous landscape: still, silent and utterly peaceful, like the starting frame of an epic movie. And we were just in time... that is for the sun's dramatic entrance.

Pushing on to the summit was a lot harder than I 'd envisaged, not that anyone said much about it, just a bit of loose talk about watching the sunrise on Sunday morning and having a bit of a mooch about the mountain. This was certainly no walk in the park and gave us plenty of tricky scrambles to contend with, as well as a series of overhanging bluffs above nasty looking ledges, the kind that mess with your balance and draw you over the edge. This is bad enough but the ledges themselves fell away sharply, perhaps a hundred metres or so, to a sobering rocky abyss below. And not an inch of it was railed or fenced. Just as things should be.

The whole escapade took a good six hours, including chomping on a squashed cheese roll and a cheeky forty minutes kip at the summit, where the views were to die for. We could see for miles: Rosebery, Tullah, Zeehan, Strahan, the dam, the lakes (Rosebery, Mackintosh, Murchison, Plimsoll and Pieman) the Peaks (Frenchmans Cap, Cradle Mountain, dozens of others) and all the lush undulating hills in-between - all priceless and such a rewarding position to be stood taking it all in.

I couldn't have wished for a better end to my time here. Standing atop the lofty heights of any place gives you the perspective you wouldn't otherwise have the privilege of experiencing, and to do so on the west coast of Tasmania - where valleys, lakes and mountain peaks abound - is something I'll always take with me to smile about..

(More photos to come!)
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Where I stayed
Shiny's Place
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