Cradle weekend 2022

This weekend had so very much packed into it, it is extremely challenging to select less than twenty photos, so I have had to omit a great deal. There were wombats, mountains, of course, waterfalls – one of which is a blue line on the map with no name on an unnamed creek, so for reference I have called it Kirsten Falls. (It empties into Crater Lake, but Crater Falls already exist, down lower, with their own upper and lower versions.)

Wombat; Cradle. Always adore seeing them

There were sunsets and dawns, a visit to Sutton Tarn, which I have never previously sighted, a swim for my daughter Kirsten (in Crater Lake), and, perhaps ridiculously, I visited Wombat Pool for the first time, too. How can I have been in this area that used to be my almost weekly playground before the government handed it over to tourists and made it exceptionally difficult for Tasmanian residents to enjoy any more, and not been here?

Kirsten Falls that feed ultimately into Crater Lake. Crater Falls (Upper and Lower) are below the lake. These falls are just a blue line on the map.

Does anyone else remember the good old days when you could scoot up here after work, have a quick bite by Dove Lake and then go up into the mountains before it got too dark to see? We used to regularly pop in to Waterfall Valley Hut for the weekend. I used to park at the lake and run repetitions up Marions Lookout for training for my mountain running. And so much for astro, sunset or dawn photography by the lake: all just events in the memory of those of us who lived before the tourist invasion. Before the government turned natural beauty into a saleable commodity, sucking out its soul in the process.

En route to Little Horn

The waterfall shots aren’t my favourites, but I do like documenting waterfalls I have visited, so you’ll have to humour me on that one. Only one fungus has made it into this small selection, although more were there to be seen.

Little Horn summit
Little Horn summit

It is a weekend present in my brain not in words, but rather in a series of images and feelings that I have not wanted to reify by reducing them to words. I will let the photographic images function as poetic images to hint to you at a wider whole that transcends its adumbrated representation here.

Little Horn

Our itinerary is as follows:
Friday evening: arrive; wait for the boom gate to open and then walk to our hut (almost in the dark).
Saturday: a loop that included Kirsten Falls, Sutton Tarn, Little Horn, Lake Wilks, Ballroom forest, Wombat Pool and Crater Lake.
16 horizontal kms + 600 ms climb which yields 22 km equivalents.

Climbing down to Lake Wilks
Lake Wilks Falls Upper were flowing well today

Sunday: unfortunately we only had half a day, so went towards Barn Bluff in freezing, fierce wind, and returned in beautiful sunshine with a crisp autumnal feel to the air. The light was beautiful. We rushed the first half, hoping to squeeze in the summit before our turn around time.

Aurantiporus pulcherrimus
Evening light Saturday
Sunrise, Sunday

However, one of our trio was freezing and decided to turn back. Kirsten and I continued on, but we had lost too much time by then, so opted to give the summit a miss and just enjoy being up high on the Bluff Cirque and Cradle Plateau, and taking in the scenery at a more leisurely pace.

Moody Cradle Mountain

I have already climbed it three times, so didn’t really need a fourth – well, that will happen, but not today – and Kirsten summited it with me when we both ran up it several years ago. After lunch, she would have a huge drive to Hobart, needing to be back in time to have dinner with the children and get ready for work the next day, so it was better to have a relaxing morning than rush the summit.
19.1 horizontal kms + 230 ms climb yields 21.4 km equivalents.

Cradle Mountain. Sadly, it is time to descend for lunch …

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