Huon River Campground-Lake Oberon
It rained lightly on and off the whole night. We started packing up at our usual time around 7am when it starts to get light. I was using a little digital watch for the time and had yet to turn on my phone. Griggs looked at the time to notice that it was an hour earlier than we expected and it was 6:15am. We forgot all about daylight savings. It doesn’t change much for us because the total amount of daylight is still the same. We just shift to starting an hour earlier. The rain stopped perfectly as we packed up, and we were hiking by 7:30am.
The heart of the Western Arthurs traverse is on a ridge line, but we first needed to do a couple hours of hiking on the Port Davey Track, which tends to be a bit marshy and muddy. At least it wasn’t too brushy. Fall is on its way here, and it was a brisk damp morning in the mid 40sF/7.2C. I had Ziploc bags over my socks to insulate my feet a bit more knowing we’d be walking in a lot of cold standing water, and I feel like it helped some.
As we approached our climb, we could see low lying clouds sticking to the tops of the range. Fortunately, it lifted just as we were making the climb up.
Once up on the ridge, the rest of the day was pretty great. The route traverses the range passing many rocky peaks and alpine lakes. It was quite scenic, and I liked the tones the overcast day gave it all.
The forecast we last saw said there wouldn’t be rain this week, which is a main factor for a safe traverse on the rocky scrambles ahead. When we stopped for lunch, it was still quite cold, so it was a quick lunch. Once we got our food out, the wind kicked up and some sprinkles came down, which eliminated the option of drying out our tents and sleeping bags from last night. We both had a decent amount of condensation, and would have liked to dry things out a bit over lunch, but it was not to be. We continued on with many layers on and warmed up quickly.
Since this range can have strong weather, and it is quite exposed on the ridge, our days are determined by where we can camp. We knew we’d be stopping pretty early today, but didn’t have time to make it to the camping after Lake Oberon, so we headed there. Just as we passed Square Lake, a cloud and some light rain moved in for our last hour.
The scramble down to Oberon was steep, and we took our time on the wet rocks. The fog was mostly covering the lake as we came down, but it made for some mystical views.
We arrived just after 4pm, and two other guys were there. Most are taking almost double the 4.5 days we anticipate taking, so they were surprised to hear we started at the parking lot this morning. Our total for the day was 20km/12mi of hiking, which is actually quite a lot to do in this range. We were happy to stop at 4pm, which is technically 5pm according to the sun level we are accustomed to. I was happy to end early, get out of the rain, and get warm in my sleeping bag. I also got to finish another episode of Downton Abbey. I swear, is no character safe from getting the boot or dying!?
It was dark by 6:40pm. We are pitched on one of the three tent platforms near the lake. Each platform is surrounded by a lot of brush that dumps water on you if you bump into them. If I want to walk away to pee, I also have to push through a brush lined path that will surely soak me with cold water. That will be fun, but at least we are safely sheltered. We are hoping to get some sun tomorrow to dry things out, but aren’t getting our hopes up. The forecast has one more colder day tomorrow before things warm up a bit. We just hope the clouds stay high tomorrow so we can see the views. It already seems to be clearing, so that’s a good sign. Tomorrow has much more scrambling, so hopefully things will dry out a bit. It’s just before 9pm, and I’m drifting off. Very happy to be warm and dry in my sleeping bag. This first day definitely lived up to expectation after all I’d heard about the Western Arthurs. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing more. It’s just before 9pm, and I’m drifting off. Good night.
Looks amazing! Great trio of photos showing the cloud/mist moving in.
Looks like some pretty muddy spots in your day today – great pictures in spite of the weather and maybe also because of the weather!! Hope things get dryer for you.
Ha ha! I was going to warn you not to get too attached to the characters in Downton Abbey. They do have a habit disappearing from the show, in one way or another.
This last trip looks to be outstanding. I hope it’s the perfect topping on the multilayered cake you’ve baked for yourself this year. Travel safe. And thanks so much for taking us along for the ride.
Tassie has been on my wish list for years, seeing it from your perspective is fabulous, I am so glad I am one of your groupies.
Enjoyed your description of the Port Davey Track: “A bit” marshy and muddy?” Judging from the pic, that seems to be kind of an understatement LOL. Also, I can’t recall if you’ve said anything about using maps. The Arthurs look pretty remote — is the trail (“track”) marked so well that you don’t need maps?
i’ve truly enjoyed your posts. Hope you have a safe finish and a smooth trip home.
There’s the Chapman guidebooks for most everything out here. We also found a gps track for the first half. There are conveniently places cairns and piles of rocks blocking the way NOT to go. Sometimes, like the ,
Chasm, we looked everywhere else in hopes it wasn’t that way, but by process of elimination, figured it out. It was funny to also go the wrong way hopefully on something tame following a worn path. Others obviously had hoped the same thing.
Praying for good weather for you and Griggs!! GoGoGo
A little CDT practice for Griggs, though the trail appears obvious unlike much of the CDT. Enjoy your last few days.
He actually can’t wait to get on the CDT in New Mexico to totally cruise in open space.
Such mystical views.. But I do hope you get some ? sun to get things dry.. It really does look like winter is approaching there, but you will be coming back to.. well, a variety of situations, I guess, but trending toward spring and summer.
The time change only matters when you got out..
So Pleased you two got to the Western Arthurs with reasonable to good weather. Enjoy it’s stunning scenery 🙂
I just found your blog on 1/1/19 and realised I met you and Griggs when you overtook us climbing A moraine on 2/4/17! I was celebrating my 50th by doing Western Arthurs with my two sons 15 & 16.
You probably don’t remember us struggling up that incredible incline but we certainly remember you. We were really impressed by your pace and ultralight gear. I noted your runners-we were in expensive goretex boots which sure enough got wet through in the mud and took days of fair weather to dry. I noted your ziplock sock covers which you said kept your feet warm when wet. I’ve since tried that trick cycling in the cold – it does work, a little at least.
Anyway we had great luck with the weather that week didn’t we? I had done that walk in February 2000 and it snowed. When we returned to Huon campground we were blown away by how reading in the logbook how much distance you covered – more than us, and in 2 less days! The boys and I spoke about you a lot over the next week, with awe and reverence.
The internet is amazing. I was just reading with great interest your blogs on TA and saw the link to Tassie, read the Western Arthurs bit, and realised our times coincided. Incredible!
Oh so cool! I have said time and time again how amazing this little world is. We had the same discussions on the Arthur’s trek (and do remember crossing paths with you guys!). We knew most out there weren’t lightweight backpackers, but were really impressed with what you could do with a heavier pack. It would have scared me to death to carry much more weight on those exposed climbs. For that I was too impressed:)