Hello everyone.  Before I get started on today’s adventure I just wanted to take a moment and say how very much I am appreciating all of the blog & FB comments, emails, texts and FB messages I have been receiving from so many.  It’s so cool (in today’s world) to be able to stay so connected with everyone back home.  It is really encouraging to me to hear so many say how much you are enjoying the blog, pictures and videos and to receive the encouragement to keep them coming.  As I’ve said before, my main purpose in doing this blog was to have my friends and family share in my adventures and based on the feedback I’ve received so far it seems to be successful. So thank you all for coming along and sharing this adventure with me and for adding to this awesome experience!

I got up early today as I was anxious to hit the trail. The weather forecast was supposed to be sunny, but as we all know you can’t always trust the forecast so I have to say I breathed a big sigh of relief when I walked outside and saw nothing but clear blue skies….YES!  What a difference 24 can make in the weather huh?  So I knew immediately we were heading to the Cradle Mountain summit.

I ate breakfast, loaded up and drove the 20 minutes to the Dove Lake (Google) parking area. Dove Lake is beautiful (Images) and even though I had taken several pictures here yesterday I just had to take some with the sun shining…..

From there I stuck out on the Dove Lake Circuit heading to a steep connecting trail called the Lake Wilks Track.  They have signs like this on 3 of the steepest tracks (what we would call trails) in the area…..all of which I just had to do of course (please don’t tell my mother, ha ha)….

As I climbed the steepest part of this track I could not help but to recall a hiking trip me and my friend Walt Fromm took to the Adirondack mountains in upstate NY a few years ago.  I was thinking how the state of NY could learn a few things from Australia about how to help people climb sheer rock faces (Walt knows what I am talking about) as they install anchored chains so you can pull yourself along…..

I made it to the top and connected to the Face Track which (as the name implies) traverses the face of Cradle Mountain.  After about 25 more minutes I connected to the Summit Track, took a hard left and started straight up.  The first 1/2 mile or so was basically just a steep trail straight up the side of the mountain.  This was just a prelude for what was to come….

After about 1/2 mile the “trail” turned to the right and we started to climb over gigantic boulders. It was steep but we were moving across the mountain (vs. straight) up and heading around to the other side…..

Once we got around to the backside it got really fun as we turned straight up!  At this point we were literally rock climbing, only without the “safety” of ropes.  🙂  It was at this point that I came upon two couples.  From what I could tell they were not together….other than suffering through the climb together. 🙂  For those who rock climb or hike you know there is no way to capture the steepness of a mountain with picture. It’s one of those things in life that you just have to experience for yourself (I’m sure some are thinking, “uh, no I don’t”, ha ha) but I took a couple of pictures along the way to try and capture the moment…

Trail “markers”

Fortunately most hikers are not like Philly drivers so they don’t have a problem letting faster hikers pass (my friends in Philly know what I’m talking about, ha ha).  So after about 15 more minutes of intense rock climbing I finally made the plateau and was thrilled to see that I had the whole place to myself! I walked for about 2 minutes to the summit and was absolutely blown away by the view! WOW!!!!  Absolutely one of the best summit views I have ever experienced.  No clouds or haze whatsoever.  Everything was clear as far as my eyes could see in every direction.  I just stood in amazement for 3 minutes and thanked God for such a magnificent creation and for allowing me to experience it. And then I whipped out the iPhone and started snapping away.  And although I fully know that pictures could never fully capture what I was looking at some of them were still pretty amazing….

After taking a ton of pictures and a video (all of which can be viewed by clicking “View Photos” on the right), I found a nice spot to have some lunch and enjoy the scenery.  After having the place to myself for about 20 minutes one of the other couples joined me at the top.  But I never saw the other couple at the top.  My Airbnb host last night congratulated me for the summit and said that most people do not make it to the top so I guess the other couple must have turned back short of the summit.

After about an hour at the top I finally forced myself to leave.  I didn’t want to leave the top because it was so beautiful but I knew I had a 2:30 hour hike to get back to the car and then a 2 hour drive to Launceston where I was staying the night.  So reluctantly I started back and as expected the decent was every bit as challenging (in some ways more) than the ascent.  I made it back down the Face Track in about 35 minutes, took at right and headed to Hansons Peak.  From there it was a very steep decent to the Dove Lake Circuit track and back to the parking area.

On the hike out I briefly stopped at the Hanson Peak hut and saw these two quotes written on the walls and thought they were cool….and true….

And even though I had already taken over 50 pictures I could not help but to capture a few more before leaving this beautiful area….

So goodbye to Cradle Mountain National Park.  If you’re ever in Australia and have time this is a must see!

Where Is Stephen

2 thoughts on “Day 19 – What a Difference 24 Hours Makes

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