05 November 2015

Into the Lion's Den

Mt Field National Park is awesome. There are some terrific walking tracks and it includes some of my absolutely favourite places – Russell Falls, the Tarn Shelf, Twilight Tarn, Mt Field East. Today I added another one to my list – the Lion's Den. 

 Here is a photograph that I took on another occasion of the Rodway Range and Tarn Shelf from somewhere near the Seal Lookout .

And here is a map.

Today's walk was the circuit from the Lake Dobson carpark, along the Tarn Shelf to Newdegate Tarn, lunch on The Watcher, then return on the K Col track along the top of the Rodways. You need to be reasonably fit, with a good sense of balance and a head for heights.

A nice stroll along the Tarn Shelf

with pauses to admire delicate alpine flowers (this one is barely five cm high).

From Newdegate Tarn a steep, rocky climb to the Newdegate Pass and across high moors towards The Watcher. Mt Field West in the distance, left.

Duckboarding is nice for keeping the feet dry. That's The Watcher, the pile of rocks in the middle distance. Naturalist Peak(left) and Mt Field West behind it.

 Approaching The Watcher - and yes, you do have to climb over all those rocks.

One of those little dots on the top is a member of our party

The view from the top is worth the effort. That's the Florentine Valley down there, with the Denison Range behind it.

Where did YOU have lunch today?

Moving right along . . . that's The Watcher, that lumpy bit back there.

Pause for a drink and a breather before tackling rather a lot of rocks.

On top of the Rodway Range we discover a delightful alpine garden overlooking the Tarn Shelf and a tiny glimpse of Lake Webster (right). Another brief rest, then oh look – some more rocks!

After rock-hopping along the top of the Rodway Range we come to the really good bit.

Entering the Lion's Den. Photographs really don't catch the chaotic grandeur of this circle of huge tumbled columns. You really have to be there. Yes, that's snow over there.  

And leaving the Den – same bit of snow

We might be out of the Lion's Den, but there is plenty of anti-pedestrian vegetation between the boulders. And a tiny glimpse of the top of Mt Bridges between the rocks in the centre of the picture.

At last – a clear path, and off in the distance oh joy! Duckboarding! But there's some way to go yet, and a few more boulders to negotiate.

The top of the Rodway ski tow; that may be Lake Belcher in the distance.

Lake Webster from the top of the ski tow

Track junction – the end of the Rodway Range in the background.

Just a few kilometres of easy walking back to the carpark from here. I've discovered muscles I'd forgotten I had. And they're all aching. A day's walking doesn't get much better than this.

The Lion's Den definitely requires a return visit. Next time I'll go up from this end, rather than making the full circuit. Meanwhile, a long, hot bath with lots of bubbly stuff in it then bed.