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Monday, April 12, 2004

Western Arthurs Hike - Day 5 - Lake Cygnus to Junction Creek

Today we got up and the sun was shining, just catching the tops of the mountains on the western side of Lake Cygnus. It was very pretty.
We laid our stuff out on rocks and bushes again to dry, and managed to almost completely dry everything before we left around 10:00.

The views south were excellent during the climb from Lake Cygnus. At the top of the climb, we saw views we hadn't seen before due to the previous bad weather. The views across the ridges of the end of the range were quite beautiful, with alpine meadows strewn with glacial boulders. We also saw Lake Fortuna, which we hadn't seen before, and saw the surrounds of our camp site for the first night.

The walking was still very muddy over the tops, and soon we came to the top of Alpha Moraine. There were great views of the plains, surrounding the mountains, and Lake Pedder from the top and during the descent. The descent was hard and slow due to the greasy slippery mud. On the few sections where there was a rocky path our speed increased by a factor of two or three.
While we were coming down the moraine, we saw a big Wedge Tail Eagle cruising back and forward across the side of the moraine, slope soaring. It came over to us briefly and seemed to be checking us out.
At the bottom, we met a group of three headed for Lake Cygnus, which we didnít think they would reach before dark. We then had lunch at a small stream.

Heading into the mud again, we covered about 20 minutes before Jennifer realised here sleeping mat had gone missing (it had been strapped to the outside of her pack). she went back to the lunch spot, but couldn't see it there, so had to decide to carry on without it, as it could have been anywhere. Just before this I did something similar, discovering that a pair of socks which were so muddy that they had to be strapped to the outside of my pack had gone missing.

After about another hour of slogging through the slippery mud, we made it to Junction Creek again, where we planned to stay the night.
The camp site was in a grove of trees where there was no mud. Fortunately there was heaps of dead plant material for Jennifer to "MacGyver" an insulation pad out of.
For the first time on the trip we got a sunset, which beautifully lit the Western Arthurs range in the distance.
Jennifer and Gaye were virtually in ecstasy when I produced some M&M's and later a big block of chocolate which I shared with them today, it was pretty funny.

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