Convicts were known to use Frenchmans Cap as a guiding beacon when escaping their imprisonment at Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, but we just wanted to climb it. Even though it was forty two degrees in Hobart the day before, we had some of the best weather Tasmania has just about ever seen on our three day hike. Although the weather was perfect, the conditions still weren’t amazing.
Getting to the peak and back can be done in two days, the first and third of which are half spent in either waist high mud, if you have the luck of the devil, or knee high mud if no one is doing a rain dance on the island of Tasmania. The middle day was just as much of a punish, we spent around 10 hours that day walking on our return trip to the summit. Some parties we came across were doing the whole thing in 5 days, and in inclement weather it is necessary to take this long.
Nick on the suspension bridge across the Franklin River.
Our first sighting of the cap, brutally obvious as to where it was we were going, we were psyched.
Dick Smith, of electronics fame has donated a lot of money to creating and maintaining tracks on the walk. Cheers Dick.
After a long day, we sat by the hut at Lake Vera and stretched it out in the afternoon sun. Little known fact, wearing a bandanna aids stretching.
Day two and we were headed for the cap. Here’s a taste of what morning threw at us.
We reached this saddle and we were literally breathtaken, we didn’t say much more than “woahhhh” “dude wooooooah” “oh maaan” for a few minutes. You can see the cap on the right of the picture, ever closer.
Ben and Nick posing on one of the steep sections, we didn’t count the stairs but I estimate about ten squillion.
Lake Tahune! The base of the cap. Nick had a skinny dip here on the way back, but I’m going to keep it G rated.
In a grim turn of events, Ben had some troubles with his knee and we had to slow it down. He wasn’t to be held back though, and soldiered on like a boss.
The cap was momentus up close, this is what the view was like for about three of four hours.
Another saddle and another lake, Tasmania has some epic scenery.
Part time male model, part time cyclist, full time bro, Nick Wilson at the summit. Seen here wearing a shirt the wrong way, most likely delirious from the altitude.
The view to the south, the saddle on the far left is where we were lost for words, we had come a long way, but had to head back to camp. It was me who made the predictable joke about the Lord of the Rings at this point.
To the north and it was just mountains as far as I could see, to the west we could just see the ocean. Pretty sure Isengard was in the east.
As a rad reward for making it to the top, there was a prize of snow for the first 1,000,000 visitors, or until climate change gets to it, whichever comes first. Tasmania has it all.
Back to camp just in time for Couscous around the world before the sun set. Absolutely exhausted.
The cabin at lake Vera was awesome, but full on the only two nights that we were there. It emptied out as soon as we were leaving of course, great timing.
Day three was rough with Ben’s knee and his pack, but we soldiered back through the mud to the Franklin River for a bath. When we got there of course there was a party of seven retirees using the bridge one at a time, they couldn’t believe their eyes when three sweaty, muddy boys emerged out of the bush like wild animals. They took roughly twenty eight years to finish crossing the bridge before we could race across it all at once, rip our packs and shoes off faster than the speed of light, and jump straight in. It was so so so good, and I won the skipping stones comp.
We had an excellent time and met some interesting people along the way. In this case interesting meant a naked bearded man, neck deep in mud and filth, kilometers away from the nearest clean water source. He was later referred by another group as “Oh was it that crazy dude with the red beard? Yeah him and his mate were so weird”. I think our swim was nicer, if only because we came out cleaner than when we went in.
Tasmania is unreal, we had no idea what we were getting into when we took the HMAS Grimboat, aka the Spirit of Tasmania, but in the end we were blown away. Photos were taken with my iPhone 4s and click through to Flickr!