AT THE FRANKLANDS
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Christmas 1952 did not give the usual opportunity for me to make an extensive trip. As I had but twelve days in which to fulfill my plans, it was insufficient to permit me to link up with other parties and, consequently, I was obliged to travel solo. I elected to journey into the South-West again - this time aiming to climb the Franklands, Wilmots and Propstings as far as time and circumstances would permit.
Thus I left Launceston at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 24th. with Jim Turner as a passenger to Granton. The day had been warm and sultry with the sky half-clouded and much haze around. Leaving Jim at dusk, I turned westward for Maydena as the sky began to clear. The road was very busy with traffic, even as far as Maydena, where the road was being widened. The narrow "road" leading up to the Port Davey Track was fairly dry and I had no difficulty in driving through to park near the creek at its end (860' - 157m. 10.15 p.m.). The mosquitos were as hostile as ever and took cleaning up in the car before supper was completed and I retired beneath a cloudless sky (11.15 p.m.).
A light early morning mist greeted me when I arose on Christmas morning but it had dispersed before I left at 7.3 a.m.. My pack was extremely heavy as solo travelling always decrees and my first set-back was the discovery that I had omitted to bring any braces, necessitating the substitution of less popular means of trousers' supports. The cloudless sky soon made it evident that I was to experience a warm day. I took my first spell at Four Mile Creek (970' - 2m.- 7.50-57a.m.), after encountering my first snake (a tiger) as early as 7.45 a.m.. The ferns and encroaching scrub were rather wet and, although my knees were soon wet through and cold, perspiration ran freely from the upper pores. After a further adventure with another tiger snake, I passed the Divide camp (4¾m. - 9.7 a.m.) and took my second spell on the rise above (1730' - 9.11-23 a.m.).
The heavy pack was affecting finger circulation and the humid atmosphere robbed the walk of any pleasantness. Only the desire to get the day's job over became the propelling force. After reaching the summit of the divide (2030' – 6¼m.), another fruitless chase after yet another tiger snake preceded another spell (10,2 a.m.), followed by another break at the spring beyond and some "eats" at the Styx River (1930’ – 6¾m. - 10.31-55a.m.).
The appearance of a few clouds provided a little relief from the sun's heat. The track was fairly dry and soon descended steeply towards the Weld. Many large trees had fallen across the track recently, necessitating several slight detours and scrambles. Dinner was taken at the first of the Weld tributaries (1600' - 9m. - 11.50 a.m.). My resumption was delayed by the arrival of four Sydney walkers returning from Mt. Anne and the consequent natter.
The northerly breeze was strengthening and there were numerous high, wispy clouds when I departed at 2.22 p.m. and almost immediately entered a very extensive and recent "burn" which continued for over a mile along the track with a depth extending some distance towards High Rocky. Gaining False Alarm Creek (11?m. - 3 p.m.), I had a short rest beyond. The distant roll of thunder indicated all was not well with the weather, although the clouds did not look ominous. The next Weld tributary was passed by (11½m. - 3.15p.m.), and I continued on to Damper Inn, where I halted for another rest (1400’ - 12m. - 3.29p.m.).
I was scarcely inside the hut before heavy thunder began rolling almost continuously from the direction of High Rocky and a short shower commenced. The shower was over by 4 p.m. but heavy thunder raged for another hour and then all cleared as suddenly as it began. Meanwhile, I had delayed setting out from the hut as its shelter appealed in preference to a possible wet camp. Now it seemed too late to make a resumption worth while, so I prepared an early tea and was abed by 7.30 p.m..
It rained a little through the night and was cloudy next morning with a strong breeze and low barometer. I was away at 8.50 a.m., accompanied by a warm northerly, but I was soon obliged to don my rain-cape. A few minutes was spent perusing the mail at the South Gordon track junction (1620' – 2¼m. - 9.45-55a.m.). Passing the old hut site (2¾m.), I reached the end of the re-cut section (3¼m. - 10.18 a.m.) and sampled the discomfort of encroaching wet scrub. The "2-mile" sign was passed (4¼m. - 10.45a.m.) just before crossing the second substantial creek. I had a rest on the open section of the route (11.7-11.11 a.m.) which precedes the open camp-site amidst the gums, but rain soon cut my spell short. The "3-mile" sign appeared on one of the sharp corners on the slopes of Mt. Bowes (5¼m. - 11.29 a.m.) and dinner was taken between showers at Cot Case Creek (1800' – 5¾m. - 11.56 a.m.).
Low clouds were speeding by overhead and the wet and cold urged me into an early departure at 12.37 p.m.. The "4-mile" sign showed up just above the turn-off route to the mountain (6¼m. - 1.5p.m.) and a short rest was taken at the old camp-site near the crest of the hill (2200’ - 6?m. - 1.10 p.m.). The strain eased somewhat as I descended through the sassafras, re-appearing in the scrubby "opening" where a recent "burn" had done little to relieve the track of the trespassing bauera. The "5-mile" tree quickly appeared on the rise ahead (7¼m. - 1.30 p.m.), to be followed by the tiring climb to the top of the pass (2100' – 7¾m. - 1.50p.m.). Progress improved immeasurably on the pleasant descent through the forest and out on to the plain below, where the old "7-mile" peg was passed (9¼m. - 2.30p.m.). The afternoon was quite cool and the incentive to keep going was much greater than yesterday, although I took a short rest on the level plain (3.3-12p.m.).
Sandfly Creek was crossed (980’ – 10¾m. - 3.42p.m.) and on Blandfordia Rise I met a party of three H.W.C. members returning from Lake Pedder. After a lengthy chat, I continued down to Manuka Creek (12m. - 4.40 p.m.) and on towards the Huon. A few new "burns" of diminutive proportions were encountered farther afield. Following the track down to the river at the Huon Crossing, I passed over to the camp-site just beyond (950' - 14m. - 5.45p.m.), my objective for the day. The wind had swung to the S.W. during the day and was cold and moist although few heavy showers fell. The weather was fine when I arrived and showed signs of clearing. Preparing a good fire, I was able to dry out all my wet gear and produce a good repast. The usual army of mosquitos and sandflies were present to greet me, but the bottle of "Dimp" donated by the H.W.C. party dissuaded them from staying. Originally, I had planned to reach Lake Pedder on the second night, but the set-back on the first day had prevented this. There was a light sprinkle when I retired at 9.45 p.m. but .... the barometer was rising.
The early hours of Saturday morning were fine and sunny, but it was overcast when I set off at 8.18 a.m. - despite a 5.30 a.m. rising. I left the track soon after emerging from the forest which cloaks the western bank of the Huon (1m. - 8.45 a.m.) and headed across the broad button grass bowl towards the western tip of Isolation. Despite the general dryness, there were a few swampy patches to be dodged and I took my first rest on a small rise (9.10-18 a.m.). The light wind from the W.S.W. was opening gaps in the cloud ceiling. Mt. Anne and the Eastern Arthurs were cloud-capped but Isolation, the Wilmots, Scott's Peak, the Western Arthurs, Snell's Ridge and the small peaks nearby all were clear. It was a good view. I saw a plane arrive at Pedder and two take off at 9.45 a.m..
I had a little trouble with a marshy patch before I crossed to the more solid surface under Isolation, taking a further rest under its central peak (4m.- 10.0-9 a.m.). The sun was beginning to take control and Mt. Anne had nearly cast aside her vapoury mantle, but conditions weren't good for photography. Heading straight for the location of the prospectors' camp, I encountered strife amongst the network of lagoons. Threading my way through the shallower leads, I swung more and more to the right and came to the shores of a broad lagoon (probably Lake Maria). Then I tried to extricate myself from my dilemma by working to the left, but there was much zigzagging and wading ere I gained Lake Pedder (1.3 p.m.) and then some distance south of my goal. But the going was easy now and I soon made the prospectors' camp (900' – 8½m. - 1.10 p.m.).
Here I had a late dinner and a long chat with the two prospectors, Marshall Penny and Trevor Burrell and a party of four Hobart walkers bound for Port Davey. Bill Davie of Maydena and a companion arrived by plane later. It was refreshing to catch up with the latest news of the outside world and learn of the progress made by other walkers passing through. I left a substantial cache of food at the camp and did a little photography before getting away at 4.25 p.m. with a comfortably proportioned pack at last. My immediate objective was the central and western sectors of the Franklands, so I exploited the easy beach walking in that direction. The sun was hot and the sky almost cloudless. I hadn't gone far before I saw the 7th. and 8th. plane land on the beach for that day. For the nth. time that day I resolved that I'd never be talked out of the air-lift again. The early streams met around the southern side of the lake were easily forded but, approaching the south-western corner, a multi-mouthed creek with many reeds and much oozy mud forming its deltas and its water-courses well over knee-deep at their best fords, created a problem. I would have done much better to have left the lake at least a mile earlier and have swung fairly close under the Franklands.
Beyond the swampy creek I crossed a damp button grass flat and headed for a low shoulder on an out-jutting spur from the range, where a reasonable camp-site seemed probable. I had developed a slight limp over the latter section. I experienced a small heel rub just before reaching Pedder but had neglected to remedy it during my stay as it appeared very slight. However, the wading and consequent rub of wet socks greatly accentuated it towards the end of my journey. I discovered a good camp-site alongside a tiny creek in a "burn” of a couple of years ago (920’ – 12½m. - 6.25 p.m.). The spot was well-sheltered, fuel was abundant and there was plenty of eucalyptus re-growth for mattressing. The moon was shining clearly and the wind negligible when I retired at 9.30 p.m..
I was astir soon after 5 a.m. on the Sunday [29th] morning to find that both cloud and wind had increased. I padded my blistered heel with cotton wool prior to my departure at 7.30 a.m. Surmounting the remainder of the low quartzite shoulder, I descended to the button grass plain, still continuing westward and hugging the northern base of the Franklands.
The plain was dry and the "burn" of two years ago had swept well along the plain, providing excellent walking. There was little sunshine, but I made an occasional stop to photograph the new series of peaks, each approaching 3000’ in feet. These I named Double Peak, The Bluff, The Lion and The Dome in order of their appearance. A creek issues from between each of these peaks and careers down towards the Serpentine. I crossed the first stream, which emanated from the gap between Double Peak and The Bluff, and then the second stream, which came from the western side of The Bluff (1m. - 8.25 a.m.).
A fifth peak had appeared between The Bluff and The Lion, a little farther back into the range and thus previously obscured by The Bluff. This new peak, which I named The Citadel was the most ostentatious peak of the group, its frowning cliffs soaring high above a dense dark green forest and culminating in an attractive spire. With The Dome, it would be one of the higher peaks of this sector. All the other peaks gave promise of a hard climb with both cliff and forest barriers, but I passed them by as it appeared certain that all could be approached much easier from the south via Jones Pass with a base camp on the plateau behind them.
Crossing the third creek, which drained the gorge between The Citadel and The Lion, (1½m. - 8.48 a.m.) I halted a short way along for map-drawing (8.57-9.25 a.m.). A broken cord on my rucksac caused a further delay soon after resumption. The fourth and largest creek, which emerged from the deep ravine between The Lion and The Dome, was then crossed (2½m. - 10 a.m.) and, like the preceding stream, it possessed several excellent camp-sites along its bank. Another out-jutting low spur now lay ahead and I struck off across the open plain towards a low col near its northern extremity, which gave the illusion of forming the end of the range.
A keen westerly was blowing and the clouds were thinning a little. Gaining the crest of the col (10.25 a.m.), I found the low foothills continuing ahead with no indication of the existence of a break. Resuming at 10.35 a.m., I descended to the plain and skirted the base of the foothills westward. I turned a corner at 10.50 a.m. and sighted a spectacular, gleaming quartzite peak behind a gully in the foothills. Although I knew not whether it was part of the Franklands or the adjoining Wilmots, I realised immediately that I must climb this at all costs, so irresistible was its appeal. Excitedly, I pressed on around the base of the irregular foothills until I reached the foot of a low shoulder.
Ascending this, I discovered a clear sheltered basin beyond, extending right to the base of the grand crag and constituting a broad gulf of low plain in a land of rugged terrain. No break in the continuity of the mountain chain was apparent and it appeared that the high country ahead was yet another section of the Franklands. Besides the fine peak already mentioned, "Mt. Spectacular", which lost none of its appeal on closer contact, there was another peak further to my left, a little higher and also rather attractive. I descended to the basin and crossed the plain of the "Inner Sanctuary" to a substantial creek (980' – 4¾m. - 11.57 a.m.) and stopped for dinner.
Here was a perfect camp-site alongside the stream, amidst the shelter of the burnt gums and ti-tree, with an abundance of firewood and mattressing material. Its position was ideal for climbing the two nearby peaks and I resolved to try conclusions with "Spectacular" in the afternoon and camp here overnight. As there was still a slight doubt about the weather holding, I erected the tent before leaving at 1.35 p.m.. The peak was protected on all sides by steep walls and gave promise of an interesting climb. At the base of the short cliffs was a dense thicket of ti-tree, below which was a reasonably easy ridge running down to the plain. Mapping my course for the climb and including a couple of alternatives, I moved in across the plain to the base of the ridge (5½m. - 2.5 p.m.). Crossing a tiny creek, I mounted the button grass slope, which later led into light ti-tree. From the top of the ridge (6¾m. 3.5 p.m.), I swung a little to the left to tackle the dense ti tree on the steep slope below the cliffs. It was a hard tussle through this vegetation to the base of the rocks (7¼m. – 4 p.m.), and I swung well up under the N.E. wall, seeking a suitable chimney. The first chimney tackled soon became extremely difficult and I decided to retreat and try farther around. The next chimney was more fruitful, although it was necessary to swing back around the adjoining arete on to easier rock. At length the rock wall was surmounted and a short ascent through tapering gullies choked with stunted myrtle and scopari brought me to the summit (3180' – 7½m. - 4.42 p.m.). [Coronation Peak]
The clouds had broken a little and just cleared the surrounding peaks. A panorama of unusual interest encircled me - wild, rugged ranges rolling away to the distant horizon. To the south-east, about a mile away, lay a higher peak of the range, "The Throne" and between it and me lay a deep gorge, thickly wooded with myrtle and ti-tree, near the head of which a remote little tarn was tucked away. Lake Pedder presented a fine sight to the east. The Serpentine River was an unusual spectacle as it twisted and turned in its multi-channels through the swampy button grass of the broad plain. No break was evident in the long range of the Franklands, although a gully to the eastward of The Throne gave the appearance that it may cut right through. I was still uncertain whether I was really on a peak of the Western Franklands or the Eastern Wilmots and the sight of Mt. Sprent, not very far westward, provided no solution. There could be a pass further west between this peak and Mt. Sprent, but that would make the Wilmots rather short. It was obvious that The Throne was the highest peak of this vicinity.
A magnetic check from the summit of Spectacular furnished the following
I left the top at 5.45 p.m. and retraced my climbing route back down the cliff-side. The trip back was uneventful and the approach of nightfall hurried me along. The wind had dropped and the clouds were vanishing. I reached camp (890' – 10¼m. - 7.35 p.m.) and commenced preparations for tea. The evening sky was clear with a bright moon when I retired at 10.15 p.m..
The same weather cycle continued on the Monday - low clouds everywhere at daybreak, to lift with the morning breeze and become ¾-cast and clearing away late in the afternoon. I arose a little late for my proposed ascent of The Throne. My blistered heel still caused some anxiety as no amount of padding seemed to prevent its slow deterioration and I seemed to be favouring it a little more each day, especially on the steeper grades.
At 9.18 a.m. I set off southwards, covering the small portion of flat plain to the foot of the easy button grass ascent ridge. Morainal debris occupied its base. A little growth was encountered farther up the ridge. Transferring to a high clear section of the ridge, a glacial cirque occupying the eastern side, I looked down into a high basin, and yet another one farther south, connecting with it through a deep gorge fenced in by high ridges to the east. It was these hidden basins and the gorge of their outflow streams to the northwards that formed the illusionary "pass" which nearly cut through the range, except for a steep ridge of nearly 3000’ altitude. The view of Mt. Spectacular, its cliffs, forest, lake and gorge, changed at each elevation, its glory increasing (if anything) from each successive vantage point. Old fires had cleared the high ridge of most of its vegetation as several bleached tree skeletons bore witness.
Reaching the rocks, a steep climb ensued to the summit of the first high rocky rampart. Blandfordia was blooming amongst the rocks. Fine views were opening up in all directions. The second basin to the S.E. was in sight now, along with its tiny lake. Great cliffs frowned in all directions. Glacial cirques mixed with the grotesque contortions of ridge and abyss which only quartzite architecture can produce. Three outer ramparts, each one joined to the other by low cols, had to be surmounted before I gained the open plateau, from which the peak of The Throne arose. The final short climb was tackled from the S.W. via [a] delightful gully, cloud level being gained just before reaching the summit (3200’ - 3m. - 12.20 p.m.).
The broken cloud-ceiling hampered visibility, yet the view was truly remarkable. The panorama was much wider than from Spectacular, partly due to the slightly higher elevation, but chiefly to the peak occupying the ‘scarp of the southern slope of the range and permitting uninterrupted vision into the Rookery Plain and Doherty Ground areas to the south. The failure of the "pass" to the eastward to provide a clear passage, together with the eastern view of an unbroken array of peaks, made it appear conclusive that I must still occupy a section of the Franklands and that the Innes crossing and the pass dividing the range from the Wilmots must be still farther westward. A small adjoining plateau summit to the westward was a little lower, possessing a tiny rock archway almost on its crest. Fantastic rock formations mingled with graceful glacial cirques along the range eastward, whilst the southern slopes fell gradually away through scrub and clearing toward the Frankland River. The extent of the recent summer fires in the Jones Pass-Davey River area could be traced far and wide: to the button grass down the eastern plains of the Davey River, across the Hardwood River, running up the Hardwood Creek and along the natural climbing ridge of the Propstings, along the southern slopes of the Franklands, soaring almost to the top of the high southern peak. Doubtlessly, it would help to open up the way to the Propstings and, at worst, had only singed the edge of the forests. Turning back towards home, Lake Pedder provided a superb picture and time was found to run the eye over the vast array of peaks seen yesterday.
I had a snack on top and, for the second successive day, constructed a tiny cairn on a new peak. Leaving at 1.35 p.m., under a sky which was beginning to clear under the influence of a S.W. breeze, I retraced my outward route back down to my camp (890’ - 6m. - 3.16 p.m.). Here I had some lunch, packed up and was away at 4.20 p.m., still heading westward and hoping to make good position from which to attempt Mt. Sprent on the morrow.
I crossed the first small creek (6¼m. - 4.35 p.m.) which flowed down from the lake high up under the cliffs of Spectacular, and then a large creek (6¾m. - 4.50-55 p.m.) which drains the gorge on the western side of Spectacular. The hot sun was depressing on the plains. Crossing the shoulder of a small rise ahead, I left the Inner Sanctuary behind and continued through more plain. I was unable to hug the base of the range so closely owing to the irregularity of the foothills. Ahead lay an eminence of some 2500' which I aptly named "The Starfish". It was semi-detached from the range and its long tapering pedicels enforced an even wider detour and the crossing of low shoulders and wide "bays" of button grass.
Crossing a small stream (8¼m. - 5.35 p.m.), I encountered boggy going to the far side of the "bay" (8½m. - 5.45 p.m.), where one of the Starfish's pedicels was shouldered to re-enter a further "bay" of flat plain (8¾m. - 5.55 p.m.). This plain had not experienced a fire for decades and tall button grass, low ti-tree, tiny watercourses and uneven, swampy surfaces, allied with my ever worsening heel, made progress slow and laborious. At last I gained the base of The Starfish's next tentacle-like offshoot (9¾m. - 6.30 p.m.) and ascended a little. A couple of large pools (which at first I thought was the Serpentine) showed up on the plain to the right. I started to look for the usual excellent camp-site but this unburned area possessed no such spots. Another uninviting plain lay ahead in the direction of Sprent, with no healthy stream or site in view. I probed around for water and found a tiny stream in the thicket of banksia, ti-tree and bauera, and elected to pitch camp on a damp, exposed spot on the open button grass (890’ - 10m. - 6.45 p.m.).
Poor firewood, a strong breeze and poor mattressing did not contribute to my comfort. The worsening going ahead and poor progress made the climbing of Sprent on the morrow appear less hopeful. Towards dark, heavy clouds started to roll up from the westward, and strong wind and light rain prevailed most of the night. Morning arrived with an overcast sky, low cloud, showers and a low barometer. Thus I had a cold breakfast in my sleeping bag whilst considering the wisdom of continuing or returning homeward. I still had a couple of days to spare, but how much more my heel could stand was an unpredictable problem. Certainly its pain was robbing the walk of much of its enjoyment. Coupled with the possibility that bad weather may delay my pushing into the Wilmots, it turned the scales against continuing westward. The unburned button grass, with banksia, swamps, etc. was not a welcome sight ahead. Farther northwards, the broad plain of the Serpentine seemed to be coming to an end and the river's course towards the Gordon seemed indefinite although it appears it must either break through the hills on the extreme northern side by means of a timbered gorge or it must swing substantially to the southern side and skirt the hills about three miles ahead.
I packed up and set off for home at 7.40 a.m., the clouds still being low, but a little broken. I crossed back over the shoulder and across the rough "bay" of plain to gain the foot of the next rise (l¼m. - 8.30 a.m.). On the other side of this "pedicel", I halted (1½m. - 8.45-9.0 a.m.) as the shower had ceased, and filled in a few gaps in my sketch plan of the range. Beyond the tiny creek on the next patch of plain (1¾m. - 9.9 a.m.), I enjoyed easier walking although it became boggy soon after. From the next tiny creek (2½m. - 9.34 a.m.), good going was obtained as I reached the beginning of the "burn".
Keeping a little farther out from the range, I reached a tiny detached rise just clear of a long promontory (2¾m. - 9.40 a.m.) and stopped on its far side (3m. - 9.45-55 a.m.) to adjust my heel padding. I crossed the small creek which drained the high lake under Spectacular (3¾m. - 10.15 a.m.), then the large creek alongside which I had camped (4m.- 10.25 a.m.), and reached the small promontory which formed the far boundary of the Inner Sanctuary (4½m. - 10.35 a.m.). I was making good progress now and the clouds were breaking up considerably.
The clouds were exposing quite half the sky and conditions were much warmer as I stopped for a rest at the next little stream (5¼m. - 10.55-11.2 a.m.). After continuing around the edge of the low ridges and cutting corners where practical, I came into view of the peaks of the central sector rather unexpectedly and, as I was practically opposite The Citadel, I felt at first that I must have used a different route until I realised that, through keeping a little closer to the intervening low ridge, my view of The Lion and The Dome had been obscured until I came into the open plain. I stopped at the substantial creek which emanates from the gap between The Dome and The Lion (6¾m. - 11.48-57 a.m.) before continuing on to the next creek (7½m. – 890’ - 12.27 p.m.), where I had dinner and dried out the tent.
Resuming at 2 p.m., I crossed the next creek which rises between The Citadel and The Bluff (8m. - 2.12 p.m.). Then I closed in on the low promontory ahead after passing the further stream (8¼m. - 2.21 p.m.). Passing the vicinity of my campsite (9m. - 2.48-3.1.0 p.m.), I headed across the damp plain towards the highest peak of the Franklands. By keeping well away from Lake Pedder until about half-way along its southern side, I avoided most of the swampy area and had a good passage through to the beach (11½m. - 3.55 p.m.). The weather had improved considerably and was rather warm. I spent some time with a couple of visitors before continuing on to the prospectors' camp (900’ - 13m. - 5.18 p.m.), where Bill Davie, Trevor Burrell and the wireless news was a very welcome change to the solitude of the past few days.
Tuesday night was spent at this super camp and the following morning gave indication of a warm day with a high barometer and few clouds. Away at 7.40 a.m., I spent the first half-hour in tussling through and getting around the lagoons. The next hour was occupied in reaching the shoulder of Isolation beneath the high peak. For another ¾-hour I was shouldering the tips of the low spurs running down from the area around the highest and central peaks, after which I swung out across the plain, heading for Huon crossing. In this vicinity the plain looked at its best, fully recovered from the large "burn" of two years ago. The curbing of the sprawling tufts of button grass had permitted much other smaller plain growth to show itself and become established, enriching the carpet with a wide assortment of blooms of many shades. Reaching the Port Davey Track near the forest (7m. - 11 a.m.), I soon covered the mile of forest track to the camp-site at the Huon Crossing (950' - 8m. - 11.20 a.m.), where dinner was consumed.
The heat was rather trying when I started off again at 12.25 p.m.. At Sandfly Creek (980' – 10¼m. - 1.56-2.6 p.m.) even the breeze was warm. It was a relief to reach the tiny creek beyond the open plain near the foot of the forest (12½m. - 3.20-25 p.m.) and enjoy the cool of the forest's shade five minutes later. Gaining the top of the pass (2100' – 13¾m. 4.15 p.m.), I pressed onwards, taking my first spell in the sassafras at the tiny stream (14¾m. - 4.43-53 p.m.). It was so nice and cool there. The Bowes camp-site was passed (2200' – 15 1/8 m. - 5 p.m.), then Cot Case Creek (1800' – 15¾m. - 5.18 p.m.), the 3-mile peg (16¼m. - 5.48 p.m.) and the next halt made at a tiny creek (6.8-22 p.m.) for a snack.
Originally I had planned to camp somewhere in the vicinity of Mt. Bowes but, with cooler conditions prevailing and my blistered heel functioning fairly well, I could see a reasonable chance of gaining Damper Inn for the night. This became practically a certainty as I emerged on the re-cut section of the track (18¼m. - 7.15 p.m.) and then reached the South Gordon turn-off (1620' – 19¼m. - 7.37-46 p.m.). The myrtle forest beyond was very gloomy and it was quite dark when the hut provided a welcome sight (1400' – 21½m. - 8.60 p.m.). It had been a big day and, naturally, I was very tired. The hut contained a Launceston party of four bound for Mt. Anne and three Hobart boys were camped nearby with an indefinite objective. I was a little late in retiring that night and a foot check-up disclosed that two fresh blisters had developed on toes during the day.
Thursday morning was fine with a few clouds and a freshening wind.
I was last astir and last away at 9.11 a.m., spending a few minutes examining
the short mine shaft beyond False Alarm Creek (1m. - 9.33-39 a.m.). The
Weld River was left behind (1600' - 3m. - 10.20-28 a.m.) and the Styx
River gained (1930’ – 5¼m. - 11.23-32 a.m.). Beyond
the Divide, I met my old friend, Cecil Murray, out on a walk to Damper
Inn and to renew acquaintance once more with his “old friend”.
Many moments passed in pleasant conversation and I learned from him of
the party of two whose campsite I had passed a short distance back. I
arrived back at Rilet's Hut (860' 12m. - 2.35 p.m.) where dinner, a wash,
change and shave restored me to a more civilised appearance. Leaving in
the car at 4.35 p.m., I drove quietly out to Bridgewater (6.40 p.m.) and
then northwards to Launceston. (10 p.m.). Happily, the punished heel showed
no adverse after-effects, although it took care and a couple of weeks
in which to heal, after which I endeavoured to harden it for the severe
strain to which it would be subjected in the planned three-day dash at
Mt. Weld during the January long week-end.
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