En-route to Lake Gordon, we ran into Steph from The Hobart Magazine, and were told the 158 Challenge had hit the front cover! Cool! But we had to get to Pokana Bay, and once again ‘skipper’ Jan was there to save the day! He dropped Thorpey and I off, where we were now stranded with a week of walking to return to civilisation, starting with the first of many ridge climbs to come.
The route up the Pleiades to was brutal, but a short side trip to Pokana Peak with no full pack was the release I needed! Views across to the Denison Range where we’d be in 3 days time were humbling, before the final leg to a hidden camping spot on a little island in a beautiful lake.
Foot repairs were the order of the morning before continuation along the ridge to Conical Mtn. Panoramic views of almost the entire state were enjoyed thoroughly, but perhaps not as much as the following downhill sections to the re-scheduled camping spot at beautiful Lake Curly.
Mission day… Unsure if it had ever been attempted, I left Thorpey to a rest day at Lake Curly while I set out on a day-return trip to The Spires. Hot weather tested the mental game, however reaching The Font and then the peaks surrounding was an incredibly proud moment, symbolising one of the most remote places I’ve ever ventured. Returning to Thorpey’s embrace, thoroughly soaking in a beach sunset, and a game of hitty-rock-thong ended a truly epic day.
Lake Curly gave Thorpey and I a stunning morning send off with a foggy mirror finish, and we trudged east out into the flats towards the Denison Range. The Spires mission really took a toll on my legs, as we battled up a hell of a ridge to gain the saddle that would lead us down into Lake Malana where I treated myself to nature’s shower.
The weather turned overnight and we were treated to spouts of rain and low visibility, as we pushed up Bonds Craig luckily in the clear, and then Reeds Peak. My legs had started to give out on me, so I had an early lunch before seeing off Thorpey to Lake Rhona, and I feel that gave me the energy to crank onwards to Stepped Hills and find a campsite in the valley.
A huge struggle up Mt Wright in the morning, which was a build-up of fatigue from the trip more so than the terrain I encountered. But it did get easier as I reached the summit and meandered down to the Vale, where I was greeted by amazing rock formations, kind buttongrass (for once!) and stunning colouration. Upon celebrating with Thorpey at the carpark and driving to Maydena, I also met John and Steve who were heading to Lake Gordon to tackle The Spires also! They had only 2 and 3 Abels left to complete, and have motivated me even more to continue the hard yards needed to finish the 158 Challenge!
Abels: 41 / 158