This was quite possibly the toughest day walk yet, 19km of pure slog, completely exposed the entire way and underneath a sun that just would not quit. Don’t let that put you off though, it was a glorious walk! We started at the Lake Dobson carpark, walking up through the Snowgum Track before briefly joining the Tarn Shelf track along the boardwalk. From here you head up onto the Rodway Range towards K Col. There’s some super fun boulder scrambling to be done here as the view starts to build.
Soon enough you’re up on top and looking down onto the Tarn Shelf below, including a great view of Lake Newdegate that looks like a heart….awwwww. The trail continues along the ridge, following a series of cairns and patches of red paint on rocks. Me being the genius I am, thought that the K Col hut we could see in the distance, was in fact a big sign and I wondered aloud what would be written on it. I blame the sun okay?
There’s an awesome view down the valley here, looking towards The Watcher and Mount Lord beyond. Eventually we reached the hut and stopped inside for a brief respite and dihydrogen monoxide top-up. The track then continued on up towards our goal, Mount Field West. On the way you pass a lovely little tarn but maybe pass on attaining drinking water from it #justsayin.
That large looming peak on your right is not your destination, it’s Naturalist Peak. Of course feel free to hop on up there on your way. We decided to press on to our target which was still a fare walk away across some of the most stunning ground cover I’ve ever seen. Countless tarns and cushion plants make for a really enjoyable, albeit precarious walk to Mount Field West. By precarious I mean for the environment you’re walking in. The trail is very narrow and at times it disappears entirely and you have no choice but to step on one of the cushion plants. I absolutely HATE having to do that, it feels so so wrong and made us all feel awful. I expected the trail to be a little more defined but that’s kinda good in a way, shows that nature has taken back over and that’s encouraging to see.
We finally reached the summit of Mount Field West, tired and thirsty but very happy with our efforts. We could take in the view and tuck into our tasty lunches…..carefully. Our visit seemed to coincide with a massive Beetle party or AGM of Beetles. There were literally thousands of the buggers flying around us on the summit. The paper wasps on the rocks seemed not too pleased that their party had been crashed by the swarm of green Chrysomelids.
We spent a few minutes on the summit, took our obligatory group photo and made our way back home…..in the nonstop heat….with dwindling water supplies…..via Naturalist Peak……of course 🙂 By the time we got to K Col hut we were certainly feeling it and the last stretch back to the boardwalk was some of the most exhausting walking I’ve ever experienced. This walk is not for the faint-hearted and I’d almost want to suggest not doing this one as the environment up the plateau near Mount Field West just feels so sensitive. Perhaps it needs some boardwalk installed over the cushion plants to protect them or something like that.
I think on a less hot day, this walk would be far more manageable and the views make any strain more than worthwhile as always 🙂
If this all seems like a bit much, there’s so many amazing walks in Mount Field National Park that you’re sure to find something to suit. It really is a spectacular place.
You can see some images and ramblings from a walk around the lower altitude Tarn Shelf here.