Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

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Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Tue 17 Jul, 2018 10:40 pm

Part 1 is here: http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=28187

Day 3: Pigsty Ponds, La Perouse & Reservoir Lakes

Despite the forecast heat, the trio (well, Tortoise and PBA to be more precise) were keen to visit the first Abel of their trip. And so they continued on to the famed Pigsty Ponds, which would be their base for a couple of nights. A beautiful area with water and tent sites a-plenty. But infamous for wild wind, funnelled in by surrounding mountains.

Pigsty Ponds.jpg
Pigsty Ponds


Checking out one of the Pigsty Ponds, PBA exclaimed that it tasted of tadpole excrement. Tortoise wondered how she knew exactly what tadpole excrement tasted like, but was happy to follow suit and drink instead from the sweet water from the Deep Hole.

Short Step didn’t think sitting it out in the heat for a few hours would be that much fun, so she joined the others in their pursuit of La Perouse. The plateau arrived sooner than expected, despite oodles of view and camera stops. Even more magnificent views were to be had than on the plod up, when “Wow!” was already an oft-utilised word.

Pindars from La Perouse climb (1).jpg
Pindars Peak from the track up La Perouse


After a welcome rest and lunch in the shade afforded by the not insubstantial cairn, Tortoise checked out numerous bumps, rocks and cairns, in an attempt to ascertain the actual high point. The others perhaps more sensibly enjoyed more shade.

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La Perouse summit cairn, Pindars Peak behind


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A true rock garden of mountain gentians


Forgetting a friend’s recommendation to check out Swallow Nest Lakes to the north-east of La Perouse, and forgetting what the map said, Tortoise found her jaw dropping at the unexpected and spectacular view as she explored the eastern edge of the summit plateau. Eventually she dragged herself away, and the continuing views of famously wonderful places kept their steps springy on the easy descent. Paradise!

Swallows Nest Lakes 4.jpg
Swallows Nest Lakes


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Federation & Eastern Arthurs from La Perouse

Reservoir Lakes

Wonderfully wet as the Pigsty Ponds were, they were too shallow to be really refreshing on the still-hot afternoon when the intrepid three returned to their campsite. So Reservoir Lakes, with their deliciously cool waters, were just attractive enough to overcome the inertia that quickly set in for Tortoise and PBA. And what a joy they would have missed out on had they not been persuaded to be bothered!

As they headed back through the forest, a young Frenchman (or perhaps Belgian, or Swiss) materialised in their path. His small backpack was adorned with items intriguing and scary – like the Kmart-esque pop-up beach tent. His water bottle had gone unnoticed when it had fallen off just prior to this encounter. Hopefully not too many other items underwent the same fate. PBA had the plausible theory that he was a backpacker who was fruit picking in the area. Somebody may have mentioned that Reservoir Lakes are nice to visit, so he thought go on a little walk to check it out. Hopefully he got out safely in the intense heat, the day before the storms hit, as his gear would probably not have survived more than a couple of minutes in extreme south-west conditions. He didn’t make an entry in the logbook at the track head, so nobody knew for sure. Still, no missing backpacker was reported in the news, so it looks like he got away with it this time.

The Five Fit Young Women Part 2

As the first of the Five Fit Young Women returned from Pindars Peak, the Three Perhaps-A Little-Fitter-Than-Average Older Women were eager to benefit from their experiences of the day. And so they picked their brains for any information regarding priceless sources of water, how long it took them, that sort of thing. (Tortoise added a couple of hours to their time, which turned out to be about right for her, not including Knife Mountain that the FFYW traversed as well.) As they chatted, PBA made mention of how Short Step was into doing easier walks now that she’s completed the Abels. With a barely perceptible raise of one eyebrow, one of the FFYW queried: “Easier walks?” “Yes”, was the reply. “These days they mostly have tracks.”

Eventually the FFYW were able to extract themselves from the conversation, and continued on to their camp at Reservoir Lakes - which would perhaps still be warm enough in the rapidly cooling evening for a dip to cap off a very satisfying day.

Day 4: Pindars: A matter of heat and hydration management

Gas cylinders safely stashed, food bags hung in a shade of a thick scoparia bush, and tent guys slackened, the adventurers set out at first light in search of their next Abel. At least they would be able to have a fair bit of climbing under their belts before the worst of the heat took hold. The mercury was forecast to be nudging 40 nearby, and indeed the day did break some Tasmanian records.

Tortoise was a little concerned, as both the others had experienced heat exhaustion or possibly even heat stroke in less drastic conditions in the past. So she mother-henned them, regularly checking on input of water and electrolytes, output of wee, and any sign of things a little out of the ordinary.

Maxwells Ridge would have been a lovely place to explore more fully, but they were single-minded in their focus on the goal.

As oven-like conditions developed, their parasols (thanks to Moondog for the reminder of these when hiking in the heat) proved to be quite useful. If there’s going to be minimal shade, it can be very handy to take some with you. Tortoise also made the fascinating discovery that even after she had drunk as much water as she possibly could before leaving Lake Ooze (their last source of water), she had no trouble immediately downing another 600mls of hydralyte. “Interstwesting”, she thought, as she filed away the handy piece of information for future reference.

Tortoise and PBA were prepared for the “Three Big Steps” that apparently needed to be negotiated to reach the summit of Pindars. In fact, they encountered just one Quite Tricky Step. A bit of a scout around revealed no easier way than climbing onto the top of a wobbly cairn in order to access some hand and toeholds up a slot. Okay for going up, but there was a little nervousness about the inevitable return. Still, the summit was within spitting distance (not that they would have wasted a drop of precious spit that day), so up they grunted, with the prize almost upon them.

Tricky Step.jpg
The Tricky Step on the wobbly cairn


Whoops of joy resounded from this spectacular mountain, which overlooks Prion Beach and New River Lagoon, with Wylly, Victoria Cross and PB standing very tall nearby. (PB = Precipitous Bluff, not Peak Bagger nor Peanut Butter in this instance.) Excited to be so close to the famed PB, Tortoise was also faced with the reality of the route beyond the cautionarily named Leaning Tea Tree Saddle. Victoria Cross slipped quietly down her bucket list, and, not keen on wading 8 km chest high down New River Lagoon, she wondered aloud if it would be possible to be dropped off by boat at the base of PB. “Nah, it’s full of submerged logs and tree stumps. I know people who got bad injuries wading through that.” Short Step brought her back to earth with a little bump.

Thus Tortoise was not able to call out her usual cheery greeting to a nearby mountain, “I’m coming!” Instead it was a little hesitant, “Hello, PB! I may come and visit, but I’m not quite sure…”

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Prion Beach, New River Lagoon, PB, Wylly, Victoria Cross


Suddenly, the celebration was cut short by wasps or similar flying creatures of some sort. First PBA, then Tortoise, did the erratic I’ve-just-been-stung-and-I-don’t-know-if-the-wretched-critters-responsible-are-still-lurking-under-my-shirt dance.

Party Pooper stinging waspy things.jpg
Party Pooper stingy things


Making a quick exit, they were disappointed to find some of the swarm following them. Fortunately, by the time the women reached the wobbly-cairn slot, most of their tormentors had given up, and the remaining few could be swatted away without further ado.

Belying her ‘Senior’ years, Short Step scrambled down the slot so swiftly that neither of the others had a chance to see how she did it. Not a climb with great exposure, but a slip could still lead to a long and leg-breaking slide down a steep, rocky slope. It required a Hobbit to dangle over the edge in search of the nice toehold, then to lower herself gently onto the top of the teetering cairn below. Tortoise and PBA were grateful for Short Step’s guidance for their feet to get them safely down.

After a rest in the bit of shade provided by a rock and their trusty parasols, and after consuming plenty more hydralyte, they continued on their way. Stunning views urged them on, and gravity was kind.

At Ooze Lake Tortoise found a deeper bit that would allow complete immersion, and set about her cooling procedure. As she sank in above her knees in the indeterminate slimy substance that made up the floor of the lake, her prior question regarding the lake’s nomenclature was satisfactorily answered.

Back at the Pigsty, all three decided a shallow dip would do, as the heat of the day was finally starting to ebb away.

And so it was that Tortoise, true to name, was thrilled to make it to the top of two Abels, in very hot conditions, without actually getting puffed. A steady rhythm of breath and steps allowed her to maintain momentum (small though it was), and to maintain her capacity to breathe through her nose, saving precious moisture and maximising the Bohr effect - whereby a higher level of CO2 in the blood paradoxically results in an increased release of oxygen into the tissues that need it. With brief stops now and then, and going at her ideal pace, she had enough energy to take photos, pop up to the summit of Lake Mountain on their way past, and hugely enjoy a day whose forecast appeared to keep all other walkers out of the stunning area on a bluebird day in peak season.

Overview Res Lakes, Pig Ponds, Adamsons, Moonlight Ridge.jpg
Reservoir Lakes, Pigsty Ponds & Moonlight Ridge from Maxwells Ridge


Day 5: Electricity, Cyclonic Winds and Return to the Flatlands

The forecast of possible thunderstorms ‘in the morning and afternoon’ had the party keen to get away early the next day, putting the utterly exposed, iron-laden (real or imaginary), lightning-attracting mountains of rock behind them.With the “Carnage at Pigsty Ponds” thread title ringing in Tortoise’s ears http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9496&hilit=Carnage+at+Pigsty, she unsuccessfully attempted a quick getaway. It began to sprinkle. Short Step and PBA tried admirably to reassure her, as she faffed around, no more capable of packing up in 5 minutes if her life depended on it. Calls of “We’re happy!” and “No stress! Our choice to take our tents down early and eat our breakfast in the rain!” did little to penetrate the fog of confusion and frustration that had Tortoise going in metaphorical and literal circles within the confines of her little abode.

There’s nothing like a bit of physical exertion to break unhelpful circles of thoughts. So when Tortoise was finally ready, she scampered up Hill 4 with the others, as fast as she her little legs, spurred on by adrenalin, would take her. Halfway up, however, they were hit with torrential rain and gale-force winds. The rain pelted down so hard that it stung through rainjacket and thermal. Next came the first of the lightning and thunder. Years before, Tortoise had found herself on top of Mt Feathertop in an electrical storm, when a lightning bolt struck the ground close by, with sizzlings and odd flashes of light and hair doing unusual things. So when the flash & bang were now pretty much simultaneous, two of the women sought the best refuge available - crouching, feet together, in the low alpine vegetation rather than on the rock, having abandoned walking poles temporarily – just in case. Paradise lost.

One of the Hobbits reminded PBA that she was at a distinct disadvantage for lightning strikes, being as tall as she was. The other Hobbit, for reasons unknown, decided to brave the lightning and remained upright. Protecting PBA, perhaps.

Thankfully, the electrical aspect of the storm soon left Moonlight Ridge and the women alone. They continued on at their PB (personal best) speeds, frequently interrupted by the need to extract themselves from the vegetation into which they had been thrown, and to do their communal next-cairn-spotting in the swirling mist.

“They don’t call them the Roaring Forties for nothing!” yelled Tortoise at one point, to the friend at her side. “What??!” came the very-loudly-uttered-but-barely-heard response. “I can’t hear you!!” Hand signals proved much more useful under the circumstances when communication was actually necessary.

Finally, the storm passed, and Hills 4, 3, 2 and 1, and Moonlight Flats were traversed. The rest of the world was getting closer. Short Step, more aptly referred to as Quickstep when she shifts into greyhound mode on descents in favourable conditions, was relegated to second spot by PBA, whose internally scarred knees prohibited a rapid descent to the car. Tortoise claimed the ultimate position, so she could relax in the certainty that nobody would tailgate her, at risk of being impaled on her walking pole if a muddy slide sent limbs and pole flying in an unrestrained manner. Injury-free, they arrived back at the car just as rain began to fall. A quick change, and they were away, dreaming of their next adventure, with half-planned trips vying for attention.
Last edited by Tortoise on Thu 19 Jul, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Lizzy » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 7:02 am

Very entertaining! Well done & some lovely snaps. Thanks
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby north-north-west » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 10:48 am

Them thar hills sure do well at attracting the weather, don''t they? Nothing quite like staggering along sideways trying not to get blown over the edge.
Some lovely shots there. Such a wonderful place.

Still, a little encouragement is in order. First, it's really not that scrubby between Pindars and Wylly. As long as you don't go off-line it's fine. Hell if you lose the pad, but that just means you have to pay more attention than usual to where you're going, and backtrack as soon as you realise you've got it wrong.
Kameruka has a few awkward boulders to get over/around, but it's still an easy enough day from Wylly Plateau to PB high camp. Or vice versa.
Also, New River Lagoon is not a chest deep wade, even for Hobbits, unless you try it after or during very heavy rain. I'm only three inches taller than you but in two trips I've never been more than knee deep, and that was just for a short period when crossing the mouth of one of the larger side creeks. Most of the time at normal levels you would be no more than calf deep. Just make sure you have polarised sunnies to see clearly where you're putting your feet and time the trip right.

And you still have to go back to knock off whichever of the Hills is the highest (#2??) and The Hippo, which is great fun. And Knife (bit scrubby on the ridge between Lake and Knife, but the nav's easy). ;)
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 12:15 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, nnw. :)
Them thar hills sure do well at attracting the weather, don''t they? Nothing quite like staggering along sideways trying not to get blown over the edge.

They surely do! Do you mean to say that you stayed on your feet at all times??
First, it's really not that scrubby between Pindars and Wylly. As long as you don't go off-line it's fine. Hell if you lose the pad, but that just means you have to pay more attention than usual to where you're going, and backtrack as soon as you realise you've got it wrong.

That's good to know.

Also, New River Lagoon is not a chest deep wade, even for Hobbits, unless you try it after or during very heavy rain. I'm only three inches taller than you but in two trips I've never been more than knee deep, and that was just for a short period when crossing the mouth of one of the larger side creeks. Most of the time at normal levels you would be no more than calf deep.

I could be wrong, but I thought you have 5 inches on me. Not that that makes the difference between chest and calf. I've seen some pics of taller chaps waist deep - so those must have been after lots of rain.
Are the water levels a bit of a balance between having enough up top, and not having too much in the lagoon? One of the things that has me worried is that now I have much less in the way of circulation in my extremities, I get numb feet quickly in cold water, and can't feel where I'm putting them (despite full cushion Darn Tough socks). Sometimes the pain from it just crossing creeks is so bad that I barely make it. I guess if it's only shallow it won't be that cold.
And you still have to go back to knock off whichever of the Hills is the highest (#2??) and The Hippo, which is great fun. And Knife (bit scrubby on the ridge between Lake and Knife, but the nav's easy

Nope, I did the lovely little detour to the top of Hill 2 while the others waited. Roughly planning an easy trip this summer to the Hippo (it does look like great fun!) and Knife Mountain. A bunch of friends want a nice walk if the weather can be arranged... Short Step wants Leillateah, so I'll probably do that with her while I'm down south. Looks another steep scrubby bash, or is there a secret?
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 1:01 pm

Lizzy wrote:Very entertaining! Well done & some lovely snaps. Thanks

Thanks, Lizzy. I wanted to remember the fun stuff that made it such a special trip - as well as the gorgeous place it is. :)
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby north-north-west » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 2:22 pm

Tortoise wrote:They surely do! Do you mean to say that you stayed on your feet at all times??

No. Been along that ridge six times and never managed to go all the way without getting knocked over at least once.

I could be wrong, but I thought you have 5 inches on me. Not that that makes the difference between chest and calf. I've seen some pics of taller chaps waist deep - so those must have been after lots of rain.
Are the water levels a bit of a balance between having enough up top, and not having too much in the lagoon? One of the things that has me worried is that now I have much less in the way of circulation in my extremities, I get numb feet quickly in cold water, and can't feel where I'm putting them (despite full cushion Darn Tough socks). Sometimes the pain from it just crossing creeks is so bad that I barely make it. I guess if it's only shallow it won't be that cold.

I'm 5'3", thought you were dead on 5''? Whatevs, at normal summer levels it's still only the creek crossings that might give you trouble height-wise. Detouring inland is usually possible, although it will slow you down a bit. Or do the circuit starting at Cockle Creek and 'borrow' one of the rowboats . . . ;)
Understand about the circulation in the feet, but in summer provided there isn't too much of a flow coming down the river, the lagoon isn't that cold.
Short Step wants Leillateah, so I'll probably do that with her while I'm down south. Looks another steep scrubby bash, or is there a secret?

I think the secret is to use a helicopter to get in and out.
Access the base via the appropriate forestry roads and make sure you take the same route down. I know sbs and that mob ran into major problems when they did it as they decided to take a different line down to make a circuit and it turned into an 18 hour day with a torchlight finish. Think it's more forest than scrub but haven't tackled it yet.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 3:22 pm

17.5 hrs to be correct...

The only other 2 groups I know who've done it took 11 and 13 hrs return. There is some open forest but the scrub near the top is fierce.
Nothing to see here.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 4:06 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:17.5 hrs to be correct...
The only other 2 groups I know who've done it took 11 and 13 hrs return. There is some open forest but the scrub near the top is fierce.

Oh goodie! :( Maybe we could coerce a bulldozer of mountain leapers to go up a week or two earlier to collect their lousy 2 peak-bagging points. :D It wouldn't be anywhere near my list except Short Step has been so good to me - I owe the Eldons and many other wonderful walks to her, and there's nobody else we know who is crazy enough to want to do Leillateah (or to do it again).
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 4:15 pm

north-north-west wrote:No. Been along that ridge six times and never managed to go all the way without getting knocked over at least once.
That's more like it!
I'm 5'3", thought you were dead on 5''?
My mistake. I may have shrunk a tad, but I'm not checking to find out. As somebody told me once, 'You don't act short!' Whatever that means. But I took it as a compliment.
I think the secret is to use a helicopter to get in and out.
Ah, I must look into that. It could be my best option for Fedders, too. Though the endorphins would be less.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby mountainhigh » Sun 14 Oct, 2018 3:18 pm

Wonderful trip report, thanks for sharing it! I'm planning a wander through the southern ranges as part of a three week walk in December and January coming.

Which month was this adventure, Tortoise? I see your posted here in July, but you reference hot conditions and limited water.

Last time I was in the area was late January 2016 and there was nothing but water! We turned back at Ooze Lake on that occasion, when the weather clapped out completely. :roll:
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Sun 14 Oct, 2018 6:21 pm

mountainhigh wrote:Wonderful trip report, thanks for sharing it! I'm planning a wander through the southern ranges as part of a three week walk in December and January coming.

Which month was this adventure, Tortoise? I see your posted here in July, but you reference hot conditions and limited water.

Last time I was in the area was late January 2016 and there was nothing but water! We turned back at Ooze Lake on that occasion, when the weather clapped out completely. :roll:

Thanks, Mountain High. It was 25th - 29th January. Never know, I might bump into you. Got some unfinished business. 8)
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby mountainhigh » Sun 14 Oct, 2018 6:55 pm

Tortoise wrote: ... I might bump into you...

It'd be a great honour to enjoy a yarn over a Pandani bush :D
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Sun 14 Oct, 2018 11:17 pm

Thanks, Rick. I'll look out for you if I make it down that way. :) Gotta watch that Weather! I went for it because of the good forecast. They didn't decide there'd be thunderstorms till we were already halfway through the walk. Ah well. These days I usually have plans A, B and C, depending on forecasts. I'm a bit over very soggy, deep muddy, viewless, icy walks, when I can choose spectacular views in sunshine.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby eggs » Mon 15 Oct, 2018 9:34 am

Very entertaining read tortoise - and beautiful photos.
I was warned by scrubmaster that it was a location where he had seen water flowing uphill due to the winds.
We had a mixed bag of weather on our trip - but thankfully avoided the high winds.
However, we did meet another traveller who had been blown off Pinders just before we got there.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Mon 15 Oct, 2018 4:35 pm

eggs wrote:Very entertaining read tortoise - and beautiful photos.
I was warned by scrubmaster that it was a location where he had seen water flowing uphill due to the winds.
We had a mixed bag of weather on our trip - but thankfully avoided the high winds.
However, we did meet another traveller who had been blown off Pinders just before we got there.

Thanks for your kind words, Eggs. It was fun writing it - over rather a long time. :roll:
Did you write up your trip? I found your Federation one (thanks!), but not the Southern Ranges.
I sure can believe it about the water being blown uphill. Shame we couldn't get in on the act, but it was a cross-wind. Glad your fellow- traveller was still intact when you met. :)
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby eggs » Mon 15 Oct, 2018 10:43 pm

Tortoise, I did write this up at the time:
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=3451&hilit=pindars

Though I am getting way behind it trip reports now :(
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby Tortoise » Tue 16 Oct, 2018 10:50 am

eggs wrote:Tortoise, I did write this up at the time

Ah thanks. I shoulda thought to search for Pindars.
Though I am getting way behind in trip reports now

Hopefully that means you're out walking more?! :)
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 2

Postby eggs » Tue 16 Oct, 2018 10:59 am

Yes, I manage 3 or 4 major walks a year amongst a lot of training ambles.
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