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A Conquest at Last!

Approaching the summit of Hartz Peak

There I have done it and earned one genuine Peak Bagger’s point into the bargain. I have just climbed Hartz Peak all the way to the summit. The trouble is that the mountain has bagged me too.

Morning mist shrouds the mountains

My journey started pleasantly enough. It was early in the morning with dew still on the grass and the mountains shrouded in mist. Creeks burbled beneath the duckboards as I wound my way to Ladies’ Tarn. Though the floral display was not quite as spectacular as it had been last time when the waratah was in bloom, more modest flowers - starry eyed cushion plants, alpine daisies – yellow and white, or a scatter of blush pink trigger plants cheered me on my way. 

Along the duckboards
Bellendena Montana -Mountain Rocket, looks like cotton candy and comes in several colours

On nearing the Tarn the mists began to rise wraithlike from the plateau. You could now see the flush of new leaves -bronze or pale green, of the diminutive myrtles which clothe the lower slopes. From here on the formed track ends abruptly and you head directly uphill, through mud and up and over rocks and boulders. At the top of this there's a deceptively gentle sloping path for a while before you strike another rough sharp climb. 

The myrtle's bronze tips add a touch of colour to the lower slopes
This time I rested a while before tackling the next uphill spurt. Serried ranks of mountains began to appear, also the beautiful Lake Hartz, but the wind kept blowing and the mountain still refused to show its face. Now I was even more tired than I was last time. Was it really worth climbing further? I stalled a bit longer but then the thought of having to get to this level again was equally daunting. Did I need to give up on mountains altogether? Only a short distance further up I could see a bright splash of orange and not far beyond it, a clump of white with a flower spike the size of a gladiolus.  Curious now, I dragged my weary feet up another level, more scrubby this time, only to find that that both plants were a long way from the track. However, I had now reached the section where the track levels off just below the summit.

The mountains begin to reveal themselves

The flower that had caught my eye was still inaccessible, but it had lured me to the next level. Is this a Milligana?
I walked that, ditched my pack and started tackling the big boulders which had stopped me last time. This section was much shorter than I had imagined and as I crested the rise between the higher and lower summits, the clouds cleared and I could see them in all their crennelated glory. Three ladies who had lapped me on the way up, were already having lunch in the higher one and a young couple – an English backpacker and her friend had claimed the slightly lower one. It was getting pretty crowded up there. The first party to pass me was already on its way down and a group of three young Japanese (?) men was on its way up. Couldn’t help overhearing a member of the first group saying, “Easy pickings. Great views for so little effort.” Maybe they were Swiss. True this isn’t the Matterhorn, but it was quite enough for me.

Almost there

The Lower Summit

The ladies at lunch

You always think the way down is going to be easy/ easier, but it wasn’t. You have to be twice as careful not to trip and fall. I have rarely been so pleased to see my car and have sworn off hills for the time being, though I just might have another shot at Legges’ Tor, so long as someone promises to drive me all the way up Jacob’s Ladder and back again. 
There are those who bushwalk for the challenge - for the glory, to pit themselves against the elements, or to overcome their own limitations etc. but I'm not one of them. I go for the pleasure of seeing beautiful landscapes - the greenery, waterfalls, the lushness of our forests - all beauty and no pain at all if possible, thanks.