Lake st clair 10-12th March

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Lake st clair 10-12th March

Postby Twilson » Sat 14 Mar, 2020 9:01 pm

I've had a month of leave booked in for March since mid last year. I was supposed to spend it in Thailand, but with the outbreak of Covid-19, global panic and whatnot I had to cancel my trip last minute :(
Looking to still make the most of my time off and replenish some neurotransmitters post Panama festival I figured the best option was to get out in the bush for a few days.
Only problem. My pack was in for repair from a rodent attack (didn't think I'd need it this month...)

The weather window was too good to pass up so I threw the kayak on the roof of the car and headed to lake st clair with no set plans.

Arriving at the boat ramp at about 2.30pm the conditions on the lake were perfect. The water was mirror flat and as i faffed about trying to fit my gear in the hatches large trout could be seen feeding close to shore. Setting off at 3pm i had a smile from ear to ear as my bow cut a perfect "V" across Cynthia bay. By 4.30pm I was cruising past Echo point and unwittingly startled a skinny dipping overlander. I stopped for a coffee on a beach further up and decided that with the gentle southerly behind me that narcissus hut would be a great camp option. By 6pm i had the boat parked on the "lawn", tent up and dinner on the stove.

Next morning was icy cold after a clear night but you could tell it would be another perfect day. On the track heading north to pine valley by 8am I made a quick plan to head up to the minotaur and try and summit the guardians.

I was making great time by pine valley and hit the minotaur turnoff by 10.30am I made the mistake of putting my pack down to apply sunscreen and it was covered in the infamous black ants in seconds!
The final climb up the minotaur summit was a lot of fun and the flowering white waratah made up for the sharp scrub. After stopping for lunch on top I found I was pretty low on water. Should have filled up at the waterfall!


I decided to check out what looked like a soak just to the west and found some nice cool puddles after the recent rain to replenish. From this angle i could see the clear route through the saddle toward mt Gould.

I've summitted mt gould before but the option to make a nice circuit directly back to camp was too tempting and with a full camelback i was feeling confident. I located the cairn indicating the exit of the boulder field and ascended steeply into the notch.

Mt Gould is not a place I'd like to be with a full pack so i was thankful to be travelling light. I had, however, managed to forget just how exhausting the summit parkour of boulders is and was definitely feeling the exertion by the time i got to the "oasis" at the bottom of the southern ascent. I was out of water again but the little spring here flows beautifully clear and cold. On familiar ground now i was out on the edge of the plateau by 3pm for second lunch. Navigating the descent was a little trickier than I remembered owing to many more fallen trees. The mud near the junction with the lake Marion track is still deep as ever though.

Arriving back at narcissus around 5pm i had only enough energy for a quick river wash, dinner and was in bed before the sun had even set.

I awoke on Thursday to the unexpected sound of rain on the tent. But emerged to find clear skies?! I could see dark clouds gathering to the north so the sunshine looked only temporary. Originally I hoped to stop and climb mt Ida on my return paddle. I put these plans on hold as i quickly packed up the kayak and downed a coffee. Skipping breakfast entirely. I had a brief delay as i went to deploy my rudder only to have the cord snap and trail off behind me. Luckily it didn't fall all the way off and i was able to re-tie it at the jetty.
By this stage the wind was building rapidly from the north and as I
Hurtled past echo point i was getting the feeling of being a tad out of control. Hugging as close to the deep shore as possible (in case of capsize) the waves continued to build and get faster. Lots of rudder work and several almost broaches later I got some relief from the swell once the southern shore came into view. The final 2km was quite wet and wild as the rain began to fall and the wind shifted to tail/cross. I felt great relief hitting the sand at Cynthia bay without any major incident.

All told this i really enjoyed combining hiking and kayaking in a hybrid trip. I'll definitely be looking to do more of this in the future. Perhaps Eldon peak from lake Burberry? Feel free to send me some suggestions!

Thanks for reading my trip report :)

P.s apologies for the terrible photo formatting.
Attachments
20200311_110318.jpg
White waratah
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Mt Gould from the minotaur
20200311_131245.jpg
Looking down after ascending from the boulder field
Screenshot_20200312-111946_Avenza Maps.jpg
Avenza tracking
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Re: Lake st clair 10-12th March

Postby L_Cham_67 » Sat 14 Mar, 2020 9:26 pm

Twilson wrote:Mt Gould is not a place I'd like to be with a full pack

That's something I've had the pleasure of experiencing quite recently... extremely slow going!

But an enjoyable read on what sounded like a great trip :)
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Re: Lake st clair 10-12th March

Postby north-north-west » Fri 20 Mar, 2020 4:49 pm

L_Cham_67 wrote:
Twilson wrote:Mt Gould is not a place I'd like to be with a full pack

That's something I've had the pleasure of experiencing quite recently... extremely slow going!

Sidling it with a full pack is no better.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Lake st clair 10-12th March

Postby Rick » Sun 29 Mar, 2020 6:31 pm

Great report, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Lake st clair 10-12th March

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Wed 01 Apr, 2020 8:12 am

Awesome trip and photos.
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