Ben Lomond 2017 Sleeping on a summit

Ben Lomond 2017. Sleeping on a summit.

Ben Lomond is a perfect place to go if you live in Launceston, want to sleep in the wilderness, and don’t have a lot of time for driving – or for walking, for that matter. My dear friend Gracey and her fiancé wanted to sleep on a summit with me (well, within five minutes of one), so I decided that we should start simple, seeing’s she doesn’t have a great deal of bush experience, and I wasn’t sure how she’d go with an overnight pack. Start short and work it up is my motto.

She and Alex drove up from Hobart after lunch, and then we took a while arranging things (I was lending them quite a bit of equipment, which we needed to sort out – it’s nice owning “too much” stuff [but when it’s useful, how can it be “too much”??]). No doubt we needed to eat a little something before we left … but Ben Lomond is close, so it didn’t matter. Off we finally set up the mountain, into the clouds, arriving up the top at maybe 5 pm. And from where we parked, it really was up and into the clouds, which seemed very romantic and exciting for one’s first sleep on a summit, and Gracey’s tone of voice certainly betrayed that emotion.

Two weeks in a row, I strike a Brocken Spectre. Amazing!
I was a bit nervous as we neared where I wanted to camp, as I hadn’t done a recce, so wasn’t actually sure if we could find two tent spots (or even one) in that rocky terrain. I also didn’t know for sure that we’d find water, and wasn’t carrying any. There was time to get back to the car if all this didn’t work, but I sure hoped we weren’t going to have to go back down and sleep somewhere less exciting. This was looking like fun, and offered glorious views. The other two needed a rest, so I went on ahead to suss out the area and reassure myself that I wasn’t leading them into a rocky jumble of yuk. Hoorah, I found alpine grass, beautiful tarns and space for at least two tents – more if we’d wanted. This was the life. I hurried back to them to tell of our success.

At dinnertime, we carted our gear to the cliff’s edge to eat perched there, staring out at a beautiful sunset unfolding while we chatted.

In the morning, we scampered over rocks to get a series of excellent vantage points as the sun rose. We had breakfast number one high on the mountain, before driving back to my place for breakfast number two.

We’d had two days’ worth of adventure before most people had had their morning tea break. We’re all excited about the next one, which will be longer, but not too long. One leap at a time, and only a doable one at that. Alex and I have to curb Gracey’s excitement and desire to throw herself at the deep end. If one does that too soon, one can end up hating it, as it becomes too tough to enjoy. We need to build up bush muscles gradually, as with everything.

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