Over The Douglas Range

I'm about to enjoy my most serious couch-hike of the summer. I'm 'joining' the third stage of Daughter of Moosey's North West Nelson Loop Trip, walking over the Douglas Range. In her words, it's a 'brute of a route'.

 On a clear day...
Approaching Boulder Lake

The route over the Douglas Range is not a formed track, and requires good route-finding skills and visibility on the tops. A cairn every fifteen minutes is useful, and may be vital - but that pre-supposes that one can a) see the cairn and b) is going in the right direction towards the cairn anyway. Hmm...

Ah - I Remember When...

Years ago, when the Moosey legs were younger, Non-Gardening Partner and I had discussed doing this trip. We read the route guide, imagining seeing the Dragon's Teeth, the Drunken Sailor, Lonely Lake... I've always loved the idea of Lonely Lake, the name evoking a childhood Famous Five style camping adventure, maybe?

 In the mist.
Heading for Green Saddle

The tiny huts en route are the safe havens, and they're absolutely gorgeous. The scary bits are, after all, just natural features. Daughter suggests that a bit of low cloud wasn't too bad an idea at times - better not to see exactly what was underneath that part of the ridge... Anyway, I've been so looking forward to this part of the Loop Trip. And here it is, dictated by Daughter in my kitchen - me typing furiously, trying not to ask silly questions, she calmly cooking our next gourmet meal. I'll try not to interrupt too much.

Tell Me About the Douglas Range...

 Definitely a big view.
The Dragon's Teeth
 Just beautiful.
Lonely Lake Hut

Lonely Lake

Oops - a mother interruption. I couldn't stop myself. This sounded like a day in tramping heaven, and even just thinking about it was making me shiver. Such a huge trip, over such big country, with big risks and sore knees, to arrive at Lonely Lake. What a name!

'Was Lonely Lake lonely?' I asked. Daughter said no, it was a lovely welcoming little hut, a 3 bunker, having had a bit of loving restoration and renovation.

'But is the lake itself actually lonely?' I persisted. It sounded like a place where I could spend a happy, fulfilled week (or so) reading books, writing, and searching for the meaning of life. But rather than regale her with my daft, sentimental memories of the Famous Five series (a full set of which I have in Pond Cottage, hee hee), I let her continue:

No, no, keep going, please keep going...

 A clear day, wonderful views.
The Douglas Range

The next day she walked down the Cobb Valley, feeling she'd finished something big, and wondering about just going home. Oops. After a pep talk from husband, and lunch at Trilobite Hut, the big trip continued as planned. Up they both went in the swirling clouds to Mount Peel, making for Balloon Hut on the Tablelands. But that's the next and last part of Daughter's narrative.

Wow. An amazing challenge completed and enjoyed, with husband's excellent route-finding making the most serious day a safe, if long one. And so part three of Daughter's Loop Trip finishes, with sore knees and a haiku to lovingly remember this 'brute of a route'. I can tell she loved every minute of it, though - can't you?

Serious Footnote

DOC does publish a route guide for this difficult trip. It may not be detailed enough for some. Small huts mean carry a tent. Carry extra food. It's serious up there.