As I left the hut I stopped to have a chat with a Pademelon (like Wallabies only shorter and fatter) and its joey. You can almost hear them, ‘Ma, what’s that thing?’ ‘It’s a human, junior, just ignore it and it’ll go away.’
While it started off a little cool and cloudy, it looks to burn of during the day. The walk to Kia Ora Hut today is only a short one. Kia Ora being a maori greeting, and the name was given because of a New Zealand member of one of the early expedition group across the plateau. The first two hours is through rainforest and climbs 300 metres over the course of 4km to Pelion Gap.
Pelion Gap is the highest point of today’s hike and as you come out of the forest, you come to a large wooden platform. Climbing up to the east is the rocky topped Pelion East, a smaller version of Barn Bluff.
But on the other side is Mt Doris, which is a short rocky mountain on the way to the real attraction, Mt Ossa, Tasmania’s Tallest mountain.
I rested on the platform and had a snack in preparation for the climb. As I waited, several other groups arrived, including the Brits, the Victorians, Annie from NT and a Private hiking group. The Brits and Annie were ready to go when I was, so together we headed off up the side of Mt Dorris. The climb wasn’t hard, skirting around the summit to the saddle between the two mountains. As we crossed the area, the clouds started to clear from the mountain.
Climbing Mt Ossa is similar to climbing The Barn, although the rocky bouldering began a lot higher on Mt Ossa. We were barely a third of the way up when I saw someone running down, showin it’s not a difficult climb higher up. We continued climbing and stopped to chat to the guy. He told us that the views were disappointing and better on the way to the top.
We reached the initial summit and realised that like Cradle Mountain, we had to climb down to climb up to the summit. When we finally crested the summit we were all pleasantly surprised. The clouds had cleared completely, and the top was a long flat area with a tarn on one side and a small area of snow on the other. After some photos in the snow I decided to phone my family to wish them a Merry Christmas. I hadn’t planned to be on the mountain on Christmas, it just kinda worked out that way.
Unlike what the guy had said, the views from the top were the best I’ve seen on the walk. It was a 360 degree view…
…and the rows of mountains to the south were just amazing.
Half an hour later, we all climbed down again. At the bottom we stopped for lunch before I again donned my pack and headed on alone. The short, hour long trip to Kia Ora was across the open valley surrounded by many mountains.
Tomorrow I’m told is waterfall day…
The Lone Trail Wanderer