It was not actually our original intention to climb Mt Wedge this weekend. We were here for the long-awaited ascent of Mt Field West, a climb that is now assuming saga proportions. I announced last December that I wanted to climb Field West with young Gus. It would be a long day for him, so I thought we’d need to camp down by the river at the base to avoid driving from Hobart to add to the day’s length. But that long summer holiday period got filled with a large number of tennis camps and suddenly it was time to resume the new school year. Sometime or other it would happen, and now my daughter wanted to come too.
Then she said we could all (five of us) stay at a cottage near the park as part of my birthday celebrations, and do Field West on one of the days. I phoned to make the booking. Full on my birthday. Full the weekend after. Full, actually, until after Anzac day. But then there was the problem of the school cross country race: he would be tired after doing Field West, so again the date got pushed back.
Tra la. It was to be last weekend, the one after the school XC. Trouble is, on the day the race should have taken place, at recess, Gus broke his arm, and was then in plaster from shoulder to finger tips. There was to be no race, and also, no Field West. He could not cross the icy, jagged rocks of the Rodway Range with a newly broken arm. We would need to settle for something less taxing. Mt Wedge was not too far away, and was definitely an easier climb, which wouldn’t involve him using his plastered arm. Wedge it was.
The last time I climbed Wedge was 2014. In the eight years since then, I have forgotten how absolutely beautiful the forest was. It was especially wonderful last weekend as there were more fungi than twigs decorating the forest floor. Everywhere you looked there were more, mostly in clusters. I wanted to have lunch on the summit, and we had not set out particularly early, so I disciplined myself to only take maybe five fungi photos on the way up.
A special treat was in store for us when we burst out of the forest: we were already above the clouds. Gussy has never been up above the clouds like that before, and was suitably excited. Below, the valley was shrouded in mist, but up here, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. We could see the high peaks like Field West or Mt Anne poking as indigo and white silhouettes above, and the rest was a sea of pure white cotton wool below us, with occasional fog bows.
It was even mild … or maybe we were just warm from the climb; there was no wind at all. The ground was a little damp, but we sat on rocks and used the heli pad as a table on which to spread out our goodies. We were even joined by a couple who had moved to Tassie from Melbourne in the last year, up there with their baby who toddled about the pad. It was a fun picnic.
There was no rush on the way down – quite the opposite, as Gus needed to take especial care of his arm going downhill. That gave me time to photograph a few more fungi. I think that makes it eleven Abels for him, aged ten.
And maybe one day we’ll get to do Mt Field West.