Mt Wright 2014 Dec
From the top ridge, looking back towards both the southern summit and The Thumbs.
I travelled four hours in each direction to climb this mountain, but left my walking boots in the trunk of my car, parked in Hobart (old gardening sneakers with holes to allow mud in had to suffice); I climbed a mountain that has been on my bucket list for ages; I saw a splendid array of peaks from the top, met new, lovely people and reunited with old friends whose company I enjoy … and yet the single most thrilling impression of this day is not the wondrous vista from the top, the joy of the climb or the seeing of the famous natural arch. Rather, it is a far more tellurian one: our 25cm wide track obscured with a veil of arching swathes of shoulder-high boronia. Each time you brushed a plant, you released the most delicate, welcome perfume into the air. The fragile blossoms of every shade of pink and white waved gently as you passed. I was like Goethe’s “may beetle” (Maienkäfer) floating on a cloud of fragrance.
I had been told by others that Wright was steep, but I tend to just nod when receiving information like that, preferring to form my own judgements in situ. The statistics of the matter are that we gained 745 ms in our main ascent to the tops (at 1112 ms) in a bit over 2kms. The photo of the rock striations probably says it all. Using tractionless gym shoes was not totally smart: I stuck to as much rock as I could find on the way up and had a gloriously fast bum-slide on the way down, clutching wildly at shrubs to prevent gaining too much momentum. My shoe situation reminded of the time I flew to America to race the Boulder Boulder Colorado – 33,000 entrants – as an invited athlete, to discover on race morning that I had brought my spikes instead of my racing flats. That was a somewhat worse error, but solved by the organisers who nonetheless delighted in telling the assembled multitudes as I mounted the dais that I had flown in from Tasmania without shoes for the race. I gave a cheeky grin in response.
The famous natural rocky arch
How peaceful it was sitting on the rather small summit of Mt Wright quietly munching our food and surveying the surrounding peaks. The air lacked perfect clarity, indeed, but given that it was raining either lightly or heavily in the rest of Tasmania, we felt we had been dealt a very good hand. I enjoyed being so close to The Thumbs – my mountain of only a couple of weeks ago – and Stepped Hills, a peak on my fairly urgent “to do” list. Reeds Peak from across the way was also calling with fair insistence. Tasmania has a plethora of wonderful mountains, each with its own cozening siren to lure me and bind me with its spell. Sitting on summits is pretty ‘dangerous’ work, as I just get tempted by a new list of must-do mountains.
Because of the slippery dip that constitutes this mountain for those who dare and who don’t mind returning home with filthy pants, the descent was significantly faster than the more exerting and laborious (but exhilarating) climb. Feeling full of joy down the bottom, I had a brief frolic, running through the marshy heathland at the base. When I turned around to see the others, what I saw was a delightful file of backlit walkers marching through a field of now-golden button grass, with heath flowers shining like little lanterns. This was my last glimpse of the group as such, as once we arrived back at the boronias, I dropped to last in the line, and the others disappeared out of earshot as I floated on my perfumed cloud and photographed, only catching them again at the cars.