Yesterday morning it looked like it was going to be a really nice and sunny day up at Cradle Mountain so I got up quite early, took Gavin’s car and drove up to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre to get a map for the day walk. I was there the minute they opened (08:30am) and from there drove to Dove Lake Carpark to start my big walk!
There weren’t many people up there yet at that time of the day…
I suppose the weather conditions couldn’t have been much better, it was sunny, clear and not too warm!
First the track went past Lake Lilla…
…and carried on slightly uphill past Wombat Pool:
I reckon the Wombats must have been having a lie-in because I didn’t even see one 😉
From there the track started getting steeper and the last bit up to Marion’s Lookout was quite a scramble!
But I was rewarded with a lovely view up there!
From Marion’s Lookout I then followed the Overland Track to Kitchener’s Hut, from where the Cradle Summit Track branches off.
Kitchener’s Hut is just a small refuge to spend the night in or rest in at daytime, I had a quick look inside and then continued to follow the Summit Track (which you can see in the far distance):
As I had expected the track was quite steep from the beginning but easy to walk:
But after a while the rocks started to get bigger…
…until it was no longer walking but climbing or scrambling – I felt like a monkey sometimes 😉
The higher I went the more frightened I got – if I would have slipped and fallen I could have got stuck between one of the boulders or broke my bones. But as I had seen a young couple climbing up not far ahead of me I just kept going on…
I surely would have turned around at this point if I hadn’t seen the other two going on:
The snow was melting and it was really slippery so I couldn’t help thinking that if I would slip and fall I maybe would go sliding right down the hill and into nowhere. But the two in front of me seemed to have managed so I thought what they can do, I can do as well 🙂 So I just kept going on climbing and scrambling towards the Summit…
I just couldn’t help wondering how on earth I would get back down again without hurting myself 😉 But the stunning views made up for every big boulder I had to climb over!
And somehow I finally made it to the Summit 🙂 🙂 🙂
The other two were there already, stayed a few minutes and then started to make their way back again!!
I actually had planned to have my lunch break up there but after having eaten one sandwich I got really nervous and thought I’d maybe rather have people near me when going back down over the snow fields and the big boulders.
So I took in the view once again…
…and started to follow the couple downwards to feel a bit safer than I would have felt, climbing down on my own.
By the way – I was really thankful for the poles they had put in to mark the track – otherwise I’m sure I would have disappeared down a crack somewhere up there 😉
Coming back down again was really hard work, I felt like a monkey once again and had to use both arms and legs – at that point I already knew that I was going to feel really sore the next day 😉 I met a few people going up and told them about the snow – some had already been there before but weren’t quite sure about the snow field and some others didn’t really want to do any climbing so were just going to go as far as they could and then turn back.
As I reached the bottom of the Summit near Kitchener’s Hut I turned right onto Face Track, which leads along the face of Cradle Mountain and can be followed all the way to join the Lake Rodway Track or the Twisted Lakes Track which leads you back to the car park at Dove Lake. But I decided that I was already quite tired so I took the left turn down to Lake Wilks and made my way back to Dove Lake that way. Going down Lake Wilks Track was strenuous enough due to it being very steep and my poor legs were really sore enough already…
The smaller Lake is Lake Wilks and the big one Dove Lake:
Somehow I managed to get back to the bottom and was really happy – though exhausted – to have done this walk!
I reached the Caravan at about half past five where Gavin had been fishing in the lake and the stream (although with not much success). We had already decided on going back home that evening so the van was ready for takeoff and after taking a shower (it’s really nice to be able to have the luxury of a hot shower in the middle of nowhere by the way) we made our way back home to Beauty Point.
Today I must say all the muscles in my legs and arms really hurt a lot and I am walking downstairs like a crab (sideways) but it was really worth it! 🙂
Here is a map to get a better idea of the hike!