Mt Beecroft 19 May 2013
Our trip to Mt Beecroft began early, so for a bit over an hour we drove past glorious white fields, the grasses in the ditches beside us sparkling with thick frost. The mountains were spectacular in air that sharp, with every shadow and indentation, and every sunny ridge perfectly crisp and clear.
We arrived at our destination car park (on the highest point of the C132, which goes past Cradle Mountain. It is 10kms west of the Cradle turnoff) just as the clouds did, and set out into a biting wind. It was so cold that I said we’d go for an hour, and if we were still freezing, we’d turn around, as it was obvious we weren’t going to see anything in cloud like that. The water on the pad was between ankle and mid-calf deep, depending on where you put your feet (hard to see, as the wind had my eyes watering so much I just stepped out and hoped). All the bushes were drenched, so our pants were very quickly sodden. After 15 minutes, however, we had gained enough height for the ground to be a little less sopping, and after 36 minutes we either crested a rise or rounded a corner or both, but suddenly our goal was visible not far ahead in a gap in the mist that suddenly and unexpectedly appeared. I photographed it in case it was the only photo for the day. Unfortunately, the glorious views that the Abels book promised us were not to be had, but the details closer to hand, seen through the atmospheric mist, more than compensated. We also revelled in the pylons of rock emerging through the swirling grey veil higher still.
Although we couldn’t see anything other than the rocks close at hand, there was a wonderful sense of space climbing the ridge – much like we have when in the Lake District, or emerging at the top of Moraine A in the Western Arthurs. We ate a hasty (and very early) half lunch (half, because we were cold once we stopped, and I wanted to get us up to the summit, and then out of the mist while I could still see something, and because we got so much in a single salad roll from ETC that I couldn’t even open my mouth wide enough to get the roll inside, let alone finish such a deliciously huge portion).
On the return journey, I wanted to stay wild and free, so diverged from the waterlogged trenches of the Penguin-Cradle track and opted for the greater sense of space on the ridge line – a drier and more wombat-filled option, even if slightly longer. There were some beautiful tiny fungi at the end – mostly mycena I suspect. Here is some lichen.
On the way home, we warmed up and broke the journey by stopping at Villaret, which we haven’t been to in ages. There we shared one cake. It was a (breathe in deeply so you can say it all in one breath) “warm chocolate whisky date and macadamia fudge cake with caramel-macadamia ice cream, salted caramel and macadamia slice, butterscotch sauce (with the ice cream) and chocolate sauce (with the cake), garnished with white chocolate leaves, strawberries, cream and spun sugar”.
We felt very satisfied as we continued the final hour home. Sunset over the river was pink as we pulled into the drive.