Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
May 2019
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Hartz a-pumping

Today was one of those glorious days where the sun shines, the view is spectacular, the company is good, you don’t die on the uphill bits, and enough of your photos turn out.

I took two of my older nieces to Hartz Peak today, where the altitude and breeze were enough to attenuate the very warm summer temperatures that were hitting everywhere else. I’d been in the area a fortnight ago, when the weather was rather bleaker, but today was the first time I’d ever even attempted the 9km round trip to the summit. Not long after we left the car park and climbed up onto the plateau that runs alongside the western ridge it was obvious that (a) it was a bonza day and (b) I am seriously addicted to alpine vegetation and terrain (well, apart from the uphill bits).


Along the way we called in at Lake Esperance, which is one of the glacial lakes in the area (the glaciers are long gone, but the lakes are evidence of their passing). As you approach, you only suspect it might be there, because you climb up towards it and it hides between a low ridge and the larger range beyond.


A little over 1km later and we reached the smaller and possibly prettier Ladies Tarn (a pox on the nomenclature board and its disdain for apostrophes). b03EandMLadiesTarn

There is a nasty short sharp steep section after Ladies Tarn; the least said about this the better (but I am going to make a parenthetical comment anyway: I am not very fit at the moment, but I have always struggled with uphills even when I was, ostensibly, younger and fitter). The good thing about the muscle-burning, heart-pounding section was that the views were good. Indeed, the sky was so clear that we could see range after range of mountains, running across the horizon and extending half-way across the state. I love the way that the shading of the ridges fades as they get more distant.  b04RidgeLines

After a breather on reaching the saddle, it was time for the final assault on the summit. It was windier up on the saddle, as what may well have been a light breeze hit the hill and flew up and over the top with a definite increase in momentum. Fortunately, most of this section wasn’t too arduous, and we were able to enjoy the varied sights, including this clump of pandani (Richea pandanifolia) growing in a more exposed and higher altitude position than I’ve ever seen them before.


We also spotted a couple of wedge-tailed eagles in flight, although they were well up, making it difficult to take a really good photo.b06Eagle

It was wonderful to be able to pick out all the famous south-west peaks on the far horizon. The photo below shows the Eastern Arthurs, including Federation Peak, and the Western Arthurs; elsewhere we could also see Precipitous Bluff, Adamsons Peak, the Ironbound Range, Mt Anne, Frenchmans Cap and other peaks, with one of the people we encountered claiming one of the further peaks was Cradle Mountain.


At the summit I got the tripod out and took a really bad group photo (not shown!), and we got a really good view of Hartz Lake a couple of hundred metres below us (in altitude).


After lunch on the top and a cache find, we started heading back, to find the wind had picked up meaning that we had to take a little more care to keep our footing on the rocky slopes. We called in at Ladies Tarn again, and my nieces had themselves a not-quite-swim. I chickened out (well, I knew how cold it would be; which was confirmed by the aforementioned nieces). I did, however, take a few closeup photos of plants and wildlife, including a sort of dandelion (I haven’t seen this particular kind before), an alpine sundew (Drosera species, which is carnivorous, using sticky filaments to catch insects) growing in a cushion plant with what looks like a Richea sprengeloides, and a grasshopper (one of those photos which was meant to be spectacular but isn’t). b09NativeDandelion



Back at the Lake Esperance track junction I got a photo of me for posterity (I swear my red face is a reflection of my shirt … honest!). I think it may be time to pension off my trusty leather broad-brimmed hat, though, since its jaunty lopsidedness has reached an almost ridiculous extreme of asymmetry after at least 12 years of faithful service. b12HelenAtTrackJunctionAll in all it was a wonderful day, although I suspect I’ll have a few achey knees and muscles tomorrow.

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