Cradle Mountain 2015 Dec

This trip into the wilderness had a completely different feel to it than normal excursions whose intent is to summit a mountain.

This one had no summits (and no points), and added nothing to any of my collections. It wasn’t even a workout – I had already had a run and done Pilates that day, although I did climb up a couple of hundred metres. And it wasn’t about fellowship with kindred spirited friends: I was solo. It was just about being there, up high in the vastness of nature and having it all to myself. Somehow you merge more easily with the expansiveness of infinity when you are alone.

I love my solo routine. It is so unhurried. I had fun photographing before I retreated further to my own private spot in the light that was left to me: unreachable and invisible up high. I wasn’t hungry – I hadn’t really done much work – but decided I like the ritual of boiling my billy and eating my dehy concoction watching the last of the fading light, so carried it through.

At 3 a.m. I got up to check out the stars. I had my tripod all ready to do some night photography, but I have never seen such a black night: not a star in sight. I clung to the tent in case I should somehow lose it before retreating back inside.

The morning schedule mimicked that of the evening: boiling water, consuming a little hot food, taking lots of photos around sunrise and then exit. Even with that early start, I came across the first of the tourists on their way up the mountain about half way down the Marions Lookdown route – an Austro-Italian combo. They seemed nice; we had a small chat as we passed each other by, but I felt less friendly towards them when I found a fresh pile of human faeces nestling right on the edge of the track, along with two filthy bundles of toilet paper.

When back at Dove Lake, I went down to the water’s edge to decide whether I wanted a photo there: sublimity, clarity of water, shapely pebbles, one of the world’s iconic mountains …. and another pile of human faeces. There is a toilet block 100 metres away. I was disgusted!! How can you go to such a beautiful area and then wantonly desecrate it? I leave it with you to find a sensible solution to this mystery. I shall try to not let it cloud my memories of beautiful mountains, trees and water.

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