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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Western Arthurs Hike - Day 3 - Lake Oberon & Square Lake

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We awoke to good weather and no wind and quickly agreed we should go for Lake Oberon today. We tried to wait for the sun to reach our tents before leaving to dry them, but a solitary cloud thwarted us by hiding the sun. the views of lake Cygnus and to the northeast and southwest were awesome as we climbed out from the lake. There were clouds in both directions in the distance, but none overhead.
The track became very rough after leaving lake Cygnus, and often muddy again. We traversed the range through a series of peaks and saddles, with one of the descents being down a steep scree slope. The views of jagged mountains were amazing.

After about two and a half hours, we arrived at Square Lake. It is very impressive, since it has dark cliffs surrounding it on three sides, some of which drop straight into the water.
The sun came out while we were eating lunch by the shore of Square Lake, so we laid our wet tents and gear on the rocks and plants, and managed to dry everything before the sun disappeared behind the clouds again.

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The climb from Square Lake toward Lake Oberon was steep and slow, but had good views of Square Lake. When we reached the saddle between the two lakes, the views were breathtaking. Lake Oberon is a very beautiful lake flanked by jagged mountains on all sides. It is quite large compared to the other lakes, and has a small extra lake on its outlet. There were lots of Pandani in the valley.
The descent down into Lake Oberon was very very steep, at times more like rock climbing than walking, but felt reasonably safe when done slowly. Soon we were on the valley floor, and found all the flat land was actually bog, and generally covered by a few centimetres of water. For this reason, the four campsites are wooden platforms. We chose one (they are all about 5m x 3m) and managed to fit all three tents onto it.

After dinner we had an unusual visitor, - a Spotted-Tail Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus) it had a beautiful pattern of white spots on its body and tail. It appeared twice, and the second time, it poked its head under the fly of my tent, into the vestibule, then stuck its head into one of my plastic bags. I got to briefly touch its fur as I shooed it out. I was a bit worried that it would return in the night and go for our food, but it didn't.

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