Mt Arthur 27 Oct 2013
I have been sick in bed for two weeks, so just wanted to do something small today – but boy was I keen to do SOMETHING after so much hanging around in bed.
One of the many fantastic things about Tasmania is that at 2.30 pm you can make an announcement like: “Let’s go climb a mountain”, and it’s possible. Off we set to go up Arthur and take some photos. I had been up Arthur lots about 15-17 years ago, but hadn’t been up since, and had never actually been beyond the first of the many steel structures up there. I had also never seen the view, despite having done the climb on numerous occasions.
We were in a rush, and I knew Arthur well, so we packed nothing and off we set. On the way I thought it was a shame that I’d neglected to bring my instructions on how to get there. No problems. We found a sign pointing to the track on the main road, so took it, but everything seemed very different from the last time. I must be getting old. Memory fading ….
We parked in the car park, which I also did not remember, and off we set. WHAT? Up a road??? I remembered a sweet little track and a rockslide. Oh well. Must be getting very old. Memory fading …
We found the funny tin shed thing. Ah. I remembered that. At last we had a small attractive path. The views were wonderful, and it was fabulous to see them after all these years. We could see a huge stretch of coastline and expanses of countryside and other mountains. We loved it. My only regret was that the lighting was still too strong for nice photography, and I had forgotten my GND filter. Oh well.
Once on the summit, my daughter grew anxious, as she’d left her toddler in the car with my husband who was not well. She thus decided to run back down quickly, while Elin and I took more time enjoying the view and photographing. Now, in case you just think this mistake was made by someone who is not used to bushwalking, or not clever, I will stress without going into details that would involve bragging, that my daughter is very, very smart and she also a brilliant navigator. She was flustered that what I am about to describe happened, and was angry that there was no indication that the path was about to split, with each sub-path leading to an entirely different part of the mountain.
For, unbeknown to her (or us), and completely without signage, the path forks in an important manner, and my daughter took the wrong one, not even seeing the fork. I am detailing this here by way of a warning. The map that we had consulted had one track on it, so why should she question anything? Yes, she was hurrying to get back to her toddler, but she is not unobservant.
Meanwhile, Elin and I had finished photographing, and set off down the mountain. We came to the point of division in the track, not knowing that we had. It’s just that I went right around a rock, and Elin left. “The track’s here”, I called. “No, it’s here”, she called back.
“My track’s good and is well marked”, I insisted.
“So’s mine”, she responded.
Now, Elin is a top orienteer who hopes to make the Swedish junior team next season. I trust her judgement, but I also trust my own. I called out to maintain our tracks and see if they merged, or see what happened. We began to diverge, but were still in voice contact. Elin called out that her track had the hut on it, so I went to join her.
“My track must be the one I was remembering from yesteryear, but I have no guarantee that it goes to the new car park, so let’s take the road for speed”.
This we did, and found a very happy baby Gus with my homemade muesli bars kind of spilling out of his grinning, satisfied mouth. However, my stomach felt very ill, when my husband asked where our daughter was, and we realised she had not returned.
Had she twisted her ankle or injured herself right up the top, or was she on the “other” track? Probably the latter. Let’s sound the horn in case that can guide her in. It didn’t.
Frantic with worry as she ran downhill, she realised she was on the wrong track, but reasoned it must be going somewhere useful, so she might as well follow it to the bottom and find someone who would let her use their phone. After much horn bipping, with the sun getting lower in the sky and with me wondering whether we should think about calling Search and Rescue, the sound of her phone ringing was music to our ears. She had found a very nice lady and called her phone which was still in the car, knowing we’d answer. Her track ended up at a place that was 11 kms away by car. Toddler Gus kept munching his muesli slabs, unconcerned at the absence of his very worried mother. But now all was well. We drove to collect her.