To my great satisfaction, 2019 was shaping up to be a year of Abelling. With winter fast approaching I was keen to get a few more out of the way before the cold came and daylight savings ended. So, Woolza and I found a Thursday evening available and headed out to Mt Saddleback. Woolza was coming from the east coast and me from Launceston, so we arranged a rendezvous at the trailhead. The weather had been nice in Launceston, however after turning off at Targa, I entered drizzly rain. This would remain the rest of the evening. I departed Launceston a bit before 5pm and headed out through Targa and the logging roads, arriving at the trailhead at 6.15pm.
Woolza was waiting and ready to go. We got rain jackets and small daypacks on and headed off up the peak. Initially, we went through some forest before crossing some short rocky sections at which point we started the climb proper, heading pretty much straight up through some loose gravelly rock. To our surprise we reached the top of the climb within half an hour and then crossed the top of the peak to the summit arriving 45 minutes after leaving the car. The drizzle continued, but we did manage to get some views of Mt Victoria poking its head above the cloud. The summit cairn on Mt Saddleback is impressive and a lot of work has been put into it. It was good to finally see this in the flesh.
After 10 minutes on top, we retraced our steps and headed back down as the sun set. We made a quick descent and about 5 minutes from the end, we had to put the head torches on for the final section. It took about 35 minutes to get down. We were surprised with the short time the walk had taken but weren’t complaining. We jumped straight into the cars and made our way south to camp the night at Griffin Park near Mathinna. The next morning we woke early with Woolza heading back to Launceston and me heading out to do two more early morning Abels – The West and East Tower! Read about them here.
I have spent a heck of a lot of time in Southern and South West Tassie but for some reason I had never walked the Southern Ranges between Precipitous Bluff (PB) and Lune River. Sure, I’d been up PB from New River Lagoon in a day trip back on the South West Epic but I’d never actually done the whole Southern Ranges walk. It had been an itch I had been trying to scratch for a long time.