Thursday, December 1, 2011

An afternoon on Mt Oakleigh's summit

After a month of working on the Overland Track I finally got my chance. I had a fit group of guests with adventure in their hearts, and clear skies with no threat of mist, rain or snow.

Across a golden expanse of button grass we could see the spires of Mt Oakleigh, our destination. Although not the tallest mountain in Tasmania, the views from the edge are spectacular. The world drops away into the Forth Valley, and all around are the slumbering giant shapes of familiar mountain peaks - Mt Pelion West, Mt Achilles, Mt Ossa and Mt Pelion East. The achievement of reaching the summit is also felt in every aching muscle that had to battle the crotch-deep mud puddles and steep climb through ancient rain forest. 

Climbing the last few steps to the edge of the mountain, peering over the edge and looking at the spires reaching out from the valley, I had only one thought: "wow, wow, wow."

Mt Pelion West, Mt Achilles and Mt Thetes (right to left):

View across Pelion plains towards Mt Ossa:

Sitting on the edge of the world:

The mountain glowing in the late afternoon light:

Our "trail" - a swampy gash through the button grass plains:

Stuck in the mud:

Mt Oakleigh is a day trip from Pelion Hut, located half way on the Overland Track. It is an 8km return trip, and takes an average walker about 5 hours. Consideration should be given to how much rain the track has received, as this can exacerbate the mud on the track.