I’m really supposed to be sleeping, but I just got woken by a message from one of my bosses to say we’d easily won the latest Bakers Delight bread competition. Now I need a little bit of time to settle down and go back to sleep, so I’m giving myself half an hour to write this while it’s still fresh. If I don’t do it now, it’ll be a week and the Southern Ranges ( :o) away.
What a week it’s been. I haven’t been feeling all that well, and it had been getting worse at the beginning of this week, and I’d been trying to ignore it. So what do I do? Decide that yup, I’ll see if I can fit a walk in after work on the Wednesday.. just a short one to Lanes Peak and Mt Lord on the western boundary of the Mt Field National Park. Should be home by 5 or 6 at the latest, with time for plenty of sleep. Major error in judgement there!
Three others met me at the bakery at 9, when I knocked off. I hadn’t been feeling great, and was thinking it really wasn’t wise to go, but it was a mountain (well two actually, and I don’t say no to mountains when probably I should) and part of me wanted to see if I could walk after a days work when I was feeling crumby, knowing I’d be doing precisely that on Saturday, but with a full pack of 6 days to lug up Moonlight Ridge.
Things started out ok, we drove to the spot two of us had selected independently on our GPSs, and it looked ok. It was just north of Lanes Peak, heading up to the top then south to Lanes Peak. It was straight up, and I wasn’t dying, though I was aware I was much slower than one guy who happens to be one of the two I’m going with to the Southern Ranges. Uh-oh.. I don’t usually feel the climb that much. Put it down to tiredness, more denial. We continued up, straight up, through myrtle forest, then a small bit of scrub – not too hard to move through, then as we hit the top, we headed right (south) and made for the summit we caught glimpses of between the trees.
The scrub and trees gave way to rock and trees, then just rock, and we were close. A short rock scramble and we were on top.. I did what I usually do on rock, and bounced ahead. Bad idea.. racing heart (more than usual), short breath, and nausea were the result. It calmed down as we discussed which rock was highest, ate lunch, named the mountains to our west (of particular interest, because I want to do them soon, were the Thumbs, Clear Hill, Wright and Stepped Hills, and the Dennison Range and Lake Rhona) and I had a lie down on a comfy rock, though I still didn’t feel quite right.
Up again and I felt positively horrid as we descended over the rocks, though a tiny bit of scrub, then out on the very spongy pineapple grass interspersed with scoparia. I was struggling to keep my heart rate and the nausea in control, even walking as slowly as I dared, and I contemplated just heading straight down. But a few well timed stops, including one at a pool of water, did the trick, and my body rallied enough to make the last climb up Mt Lord, though it seemed to take forever! Again it was rock interspersed with scrub, but the rocks were smaller than coming off Lanes, and the climb probably less steep, at least to start with. The final bit required a bit more navigation, but we got there.. very much later than expected!
Mt Lord had a nice little cairn (I do like summit cairns) and a pair of butterflies dancing around it. And still those fairly new views for me out west. I think we were all pretty tired by this stage, but the rest was short because we were all aware of how late we were too. A brief consultation on how to get down as fast as possible without running into any cliff lines (bummer, no paragliding or BASE jumping equipment), and we were off.. Down off the rocks and scrub, and into the scrub.. straight down. very straight down. Glad we didn’t go UP that way!! First through knee high tangly stuff that was surprisingly cushioning and helped to hold you from rolling straight down, then through the open myrtle forest stuff which definitely required the breaks on.
The hill seemed to go forever, or maybe that was just me (?), and then finally we were onto the road. Yay. Short road walk back up hill, and we found our car. I was very grateful to not be driving, and I dozed across the back seat, aware that I needed as much sleep as possible before work, which was a most terrible morning, followed by a visit to the Dr who is putting it down to exhaustion. Whoops.. I should probably try not to do QUITE so much in a day perhaps! And I should get back to sleep 🙂