Saturday, 30 August 2014

Scott-Kilvert Memorial Hut Hike

In preparation for the Overland Track hike Adam and I decided to have a look around behind Cradle Mountain and do an overnight hike to the Scott-Kilvert Memorial Hut.

Day 1 we knew we only had a 3-4 hour walk to the hut so we didn't set any records getting up to Cradle Mountain, in fact we got there around 11am and had to wait a while to catch the bus down to Dove Lake.

Adam is fascinated at the boot wash bay as usual!

Our packs thrown in the bus and away we go.

After signing into the log book we were soon heading down to Dove Lake to start the climb. Cradle was covered in cloud but we were hopeful the weather would clear up a bit.

The first part of the walk is on the Dove Lake Circuit so its pretty easy to start and caters for the hordes of tourists.

Its not long before the track turns to the left and starts heading up towards Hansons Peak and we are on our own away from the crowds.

It is a bit of shock to be climbing so early in the walk as I like to warm my joints up a little before getting into it too much but we slowly head up anyway.

As usual on hills I am sweating and my heart rate is is my distressed look!

But up we keep going.......

And up.......

The views of Dove Lake and Cradle are very good from up here, its a shame about the overcast weather.

Once we got to the top of the first little summit we had a rest and a bit of lunch while deciding if we should go over Hansons Peak...the short way or go around via Twisted Lakes...the longer way.

The Highlands in Tassie is full of 100's of Lakes and Tarns, it would be near on impossible to die of Dehydration up here.

We decided that we have plenty of time so we head down towards Twisted lake and go around the longer way.

The track was wet, muddy and at times quite a scramble to get down.

Likewise, going back up was steep and at times quite a scramble to get up the other side.

But once we were up the top it was more water and beautiful scenery.

And once around the side, Cradle Mountain didn't look so large. We were keen to summit it the next day.

At the base of Cradle the track junctions off where you can walk across the face of the cradle on the 'Face Track' oddly enough or take the track we were taking down to Lake Rodway where our hut awaits us.

But first we went and checked out the little emergency only hut that is at the base of the mountain and found a French man in there waiting for his mates.

And then we were full steam ahead and going all the way down to Lake Rodway.

And way in the distance is in fact Lake Rodway down in the valley. The main thing going through my mind is that we have to walk back out up that mountain behind it the next day!

Getting closer!

As I have already said, there is an abundance of water around here.

And not long later we finally arrived down at the lake and to our hut for the night.

It is quite a sad story as to why the hut was built. There is plenty of reading material inside it to remind you why its there.
Here is a link if you want to have a read about it.

This hut, like many in the highlands that are looked after by Parks is quite a nice stay. They usually have either gas or coal heating, plenty of bench space for cooking and eating, tank water, a long drop toilet near by and either bunks or some type of platform to lay your sleeping mat and bag out for the night. 
Although I have to say that in my opinion it is better to use the hut for cooking and socialising and then go and sleep outside in your tent if you want to actually sleep and not be kept awake by snorers and then woken up by the snorers at some silly early hour because they were the only ones that actually slept LOL

The composting Loo with the back of Cradle Mountain behind it.

The upstairs sleeping area, where Im sure we could here a couple of blokes using a chainsaw during the night ;)

Down stairs seating, cooking area and coal heater.

A time lapse video of the last couple hundred metres walking to the Hut.

So anyway, Adam and I arrived just in time to set up our gear, get some food ready and listen to the footy on the radio being pretty happy that we had the hut to ourselves.

But not long later a large group of gents arrived and then shortly after that another couple arrived. We all spent the night around the heater chatting away. They were all very nice people although a couple of them could snore the hut down ;)

There is plenty of wild life around the hut and the views out the window are pretty good too ;)

Day 2. The next morning we were all up early and after a very lethargic start it wasn't long until we had all said our good byes and every one set off in their direction for the hike out.

In our case we wanted to go straight up the mountain to the top of the Central Plateau and walk out via the Overland Track.
The couple in the hut came down it the previous day and warned us that it is a scramble getting up it, so off we went.

And I can assure you it was steep and there was as much climbing as there was walking involved to get to the top but it was all good fun nothing a few rest stops couldn't conquer!

Once we got near the top it was bitterly cold and there was a slight breeze blowing with a wind chill factor of freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
But even with the weather looking like it might close in the views were still very good, even though the camera doesn't really capture it.

We walked over the distant mountains in this picture, down to the lake and obviously back up the other side.

And it was time to rug up!

Some very old snow was still laying around, pretty much proving that the temperature doesn't get too high up here.

However by the time we got right up to the plateau the weather was starting to clear up just enough to expose the very prominent Barn Bluff in the distance.

Once we walked down past Barn Bluff and to the Overland Track junction we stopped and had some lunch. Strangely enough we also had quite good phone reception.

It was then time for the long slog along the Overland Track and to hopefully climb the summit of Cradle Mountain.

The track was most of the time very hard on our ankles and feet as it is mostly just natural ground with lots of exposed rocks and roots etc.

But as usual the views are the reason most people come up here.

After a while we arrived around to the junction to the Cradle Summit but the weather is just too cloudy to bother climbing it. 

So we head down towards Kitchen hut.

You can't see it but that is Cradle Mountain covered in fog in the distance.

And Barn Bluff still very predominate in the distance.

One good thing about getting all the way around here is that the track starts to improve because this is the main area you get day hikers so they want to look after environment by putting board walks etc down.

The weather is really closing in now so its just a matter of going up and down until we get to the top of Marions Lookout.

We have been higher and climbed more metres before but this hike was never flat. We were either going up or going down.

But we kept at it through the fog until we finally arrived at a white out on top of Marions!

But we headed down below the clouds and the views opened up a bit.

Crater Lake to the left and Dove Lake to the right.

Then it was a matter of crunching down the knee jarring track that goes from Marions back to Dove Lake.

And not long later we arrived back at Dove Lake.

The Boat Shed.

We caught the bus back to the visitor centre where our car was parked and treated ourselves to a nice greasy burger and chips!

And here is some data and a google earth image of the Hike for those that may be interested. As I already said there were no huge elevation changes but it was constantly up or down.

Once again another enjoyable hike. We are getting closer to being able to do the full Overland Track ;)