Monday 15 December 08 to Friday 12 December 08
A 3 day walk to Mt Hugel, camping near at a tarn on an alpine plateau.
We waited a couple of days until the weather forecast was good and had the great advantage of getting the first break of three days of fine conditions for quite a few weeks. On arriving at the Lake St Clair visitor centre one of the first things we noticed was the removal of the two gums that had been just outside the cafe. They used to have decking around them and we thought looked much better than the now bare look of the area. A note was also on the door about not eating outside due to animal problems; so it appears the currawongs have probably been getting handouts from visitors and now become a nuisance. It is back to old days when you had to be very wary of them outside the kiosk. Parks told us that an arbourist had checked the trees and condemned them but our guess is that this is a way of justifying the removal.
The walk however was just fabulous as we climbed gently to Shadow Lake and onto Forgotten, with lots of bird song and flowers aplenty. Just before the scree part of the Little Hugel ascent we dived off into the scrub and worked a way up to the crest of the plateau and thus avoided the scree altogether. However this did entail a little bit of pulling oneself up a few short slopes. Just before the top two little tarns were noticed on a shelf that usually would not be seen from most other routes up.
After setting up the tent in a spot with a simply awesome view there was plenty of time for a cup of tea and a wonder about the plateau in what was very pleasant conditions even though we needed our thermals to ward off the cool air. The evening light was good and kept the camera busy as did the next morning. Initially we wondered over to an attractive natural garden east of the main tarn and then decided that it would be just as easy to head directly uphill to the upper plateau rather than work a way around the scrubby slope. This proved to be a bad decision because when finally arriving on what was
thought to be the top we were presented with a drop down into a scrub filled cleft. However after a bit of scouting about a route along the crest was negotiated bringing us to the regular way up. And just as well we did do that because from that vantage point another decent gully beyond the first one. During the climb up the summit area of Mt Hugel the clamour of Crescent Honeyeaters could be heard from the slopes on all sides and at the top the noise from waterfalls on the Franklin River 400 metres below could readily be heard.
That afternoon and early evening were warm so no thermal was needed this time, but again it got cold enough for light frost on the tent. We were both up early and headed off at 7:30 for the return journey and a thoroughly enjoyable one it was. In calm and pleasant walking conditions a pad not far from our
inward route was discovered and this enabled an easy descent to Forgotten Lake. It was lovely in the forest and lakes were enchanting and reflecting their surrounds beautifully. Numerous birds were calling and a lot were seen as well. All in all it was about as agreeable as the bush can be.
Photos can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com.au/PeterJFranklin/MtHugel
or at Jalbum