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Thursday, May 13, 2004
Overland Track - Day 2 - the Labyrinth and Acropolis
Today I was aiming to go to both the Labyrinth and the Acropolis.
I left the hut at 7:45, and climbed up toward the Labyrinth. The climb was fairly steep in parts, and first went through Myrtle, then into Snow Gums, with Pandanii and Fagus. The Fagus was interesting – One of Australia's only deciduous plants, they were all yellows and reds.
A little before I reached the crest of the ridge, cloud closed in. I stopped and sat down at the ridge, to see if the cloud would lift. After an hour, nothing had changed. I decided to continue on to the first lake, to see if I could see anything. Things seemed to be improving, and I continued a bit further, and as I got to the turnoff for the lookout, above Cyane Lake, the clouds started lifting.
I climbed to the lookout, which was further than I expected, and from the top, there were some excellent views emerging from the cloud, of the lakes and mountains of The Labyrinth and, across the valley, The Acropolis. I stayed at the lookout for about an hour, as the cloud lifted, then decided I better head back if I wanted to do the Acropolis, as it was already later than I'd intended going back.
On the way back, I had a quick closeup look at one of the lakes. It took quite a while to get back to the hut, and I arrived at 12:50. I ate a very quick lunch, and was off again for the Acropolis at 1:05pm.
The Acropolis track went through rainforest for a few minutes, and came to Cephissus Falls, which were fairly pretty. After a littler more distance on the flat, in lush rainforest, the track started ascending steeply. The ascent continued for quite some time in the rainforest, before changing to Eucalypt, and then briefly to Fagus. There was a section of Fagus, where the ground was carpeted with yellow leaves.
The track then reached the ridgeline, and there was sparse Eucalypt, and great views of the imposing Acropolis.
After walking alon the fairly flat ridge toward the Acropolis, I started climbing the foot of it. There were small patches of snow around, and on the track. The snow was getting more prevalent as I ascended, and after climbing the foot of the mountain, the track contoured for some time, through mostly snow, with some rocks. The snow was quite soft and fresh in places making the walking a bit difficult.
Finally the track headed up for the top, and was hard going, as there were sections of snow over vegetation, which collapsed underfoot, or grass under snow, which was very slippery. Therew was one slightly sketchy rock part to climb, and eventually gained the summit ridge, and it was only about a 100 metre scramble over rocks to the summit.
I reached the summit right on the turn-around time I'd set myself, of 3:15pm. As I came up to the summit, a breathtaking vista to the north greeted me – Mount Geryon, which has a sheer Dolorite face composed of rock pillars. It was right there, very imposing. Also visible, was almost all of the Labyrinth, and many other mountains like Falling Mountain, and also Lake St Clair.
I only got to spend about 10 – 15 minutes on the summit, since I was past my turn-around time, before I started on the descent. There were several sections where I slipped and slid down the snowy track, as it was very hard to get reliable footholds. I had gone up virtually without pausing, and the descent was the same.
When I got into the forest, it was sunset, and as I got into the rainforest, some parts were quite dark, with the trees blocking the light. I got back to the hut at 5:10pm, and wouldn't have wanted to have got back much later.
One of the couples in the hut stoked the coal stove up during and after dinner, and the temperature went up to 26C! Unfortunately it wasn't very nice when we went to bed, since the temperature dropped so far.