Although I live on the opposite side of the river to Mt Arthur, and look out at it rather than out from it, there is another sense in which I feel I almost live on this mountain, I snoop around its slopes so often. Some people who don’t know me call me a peak bagger, but actually, I only rarely touch the summit of this mountain, and if ticking lists and gaining points were my object, then I would go off and do that instead of going up Arthur yet again.
For me, what is important is not ticking a box, but rather the journey to my destination, and the enjoyment of the delights along the way. On Arthur, I love the forest with its cloak of moss and colourful fungi on the lower slopes. Up higher, there are some rocks to clamour over, some scoparia to avoid and, sure, a summit cairn of gigantic proportions to touch. You climb 630 ms in 4.25 kms, which is quite steep, and another reason I enjoy it. The return journey plus the height yields 14.8 km equivalents, which is yet another reason to enjoy it: a good amount of exercise with very little driving if you live in Launceston..
Perhaps oddly, Sunday was only the third time I have bothered to touch the summit cairn of this mountain that I lie in bed of a morning and watch at sunrise, and that I see in my peripheral vision of an evening as I wander my garden at sunset, collecting the last of my wood or pulling the final handful of onion weed, admiring the flowers in evening light and the river going pearly, or taking the goats a branch or two to please them.
Sunday was a special day, as my daughter and Gussy were coming for the weekend, and we were going to climb Mt Arthur. Gus’s arm is only just out of plaster, so we would need to be careful. Also, he has lost some fitness with eight weeks of not playing his normal sport. It will take him a while to catch up to where he was two months ago.
My daughter has been utterly hectic at work, so was not in the mood for a racing start, choosing to sip tea by the fire at a leisurely pace before we set out. I had earlier decided not to pack lunch, but just to have snacks on the summit, and lunch itself at The Bean Barrow in Lilydale, which I love.
At last we were ready to head up the mountain. We donned our daypacks. Hm. Where is my camera bag? OH NO. Not here. The substitute Fuji, kept in the car for emergencies? Gone. The car had been repaired recently, and I had emptied it out. Oh well. Resort to iPhone. Na. It was in the camera bag that had been left behind. So very sad. Oh well. We would at least take a summit shot with Kirsten’s phone. (Ahem Her battery died somewhere on the way up, so we had no phone at all, but we weren’t to know that yet.)
The absence of a camera did not detract from our enjoyment of a good climb, and no doubt made us faster. We had two stops for water for Gus on the way up, and a change of clothes once we emerged out of the protection of the forest into the icy wind on top. It was not going to be a day for hanging around the summit area, with or without a camera. We were running late for our lunch booking, however, but there was nothing we could do about it to let the cafe know. (So, if I had no camera, why are you getting photos? These are a combo of others I have taken on this mountain where I nearly live, and I also went back today to take some more to make the blog authentic 🙂 ) .
The other two belted down the mountain once we had cleared the rocks, with me trotting behind. It was a fun workout. Once back at the car, we connected Kirsten’s phone to some energy and called The Bean Barrow. Yes; they were still open; yes, they would forgive us for running late. Nonetheless, we had no time to lose, as they close at 3, and it was after half past two. Gussy’s meal had his eyes rolling in ecstasy; Kirsten and I made little noises of appreciation as we ate. Not much conversation went on.
I was worried about them driving back to Hobart with full stomachs, especially as we had all had a very disturbed night thanks to the long and victorious match of the Matties in the Wimbledon men’s doubles final. I have had two car accidents following Wimbledon in my life, so was anxious, but they got home safely.
For my part, I just had to hang around home, allowing the happiness of the climb to resonate while I did my evening tasks. One thing I sure realised was: no matter how much I enjoy forests and streams, waterfalls and fungi, there is just nothing like being in the infinite space at the top of a mountain with people you love and sharing the thrill of a climb with them.