Day 7: Pine Valley and Acropolis

Saturday November 26, 27.8km/17.3mi

Bert Nichols Hut (50.4/891m) to Narcissus Hut (60.2/748m) (TAS) + 18.0 Acropolis

I woke up to find this view from the hut, which is encouraging.

The weather wasn’t great the last 2 days, with low clouds, fog, and occasional rain. Today’s weather seemed nice enough for a side hike to Pine Valley and Acropolis Mt! The first 5km was on the Overland Track, and it was enjoyable walking.

These bright red flowers have started to make an appearance everywhere.

The trail follows the Narcissus River here, and the whole valley is pretty wet and green.

Just over an hour after leaving the hut, I arrived to the trail junction for Pine Valley. The weather was still looking great, so I turned up that trail.

Right away, I crossed the Narcissus River on a long swingbridge.

The lower part of this valley was more open with meadows, and I could see a bunch of mountains ahead to the north.

After awhile, I was back in the forest, with all these nice boardwalks to keep me out of the swamps.

The Pine Valley trail followed Cephissus Creek upstream for 5km, crossing it a couple of times on swingbridges.

I immediately noticed when I was in Pine Valley, as all the trees were various species of dense short pines.

The Pine Valley hut was a simple, but nice hut. I think it fits 16 people, though there was only one person there when I arrived.

I’m not sure what a coal-powered toilet is, and I didn’t want to find out.

I noticed that some of these signs up here had not been updated in over 50 years, this one still had the elevation in feet!

I had a nice snack break in the hut, and since the weather was still great, I decided to hike Acropolis Mt. I mostly emptied my backpack, keeping only food, water, and some warm clothing. I hiked a little further up Pine Valley before climbing out of it up a steep hillside. At the top of the hill was a nice ridge with a very long boardwalk, and excellent reviews of my objective ahead.

Once I climbed up to 1300m, little patches of snow started to appear on the trail.

Looking behind me to the south, I could see Lake St Clair, where I will be finishing tomorrow.

Most of the trail was easy scrambling over small boulders through here, and I kept wondering how I was going to get through the upper cliff band. The trail had an answer. It was one spot with a gap in the cliff band, but it still had one very steep move.

After pulling myself up on top of that block, the rest of the way to the top was easy. View to the south:

View to the North:

South again, from the summit:

The requisite summit selfie:

The view to the west, looking down at “The Labyrinth”, a maze of lakes and ponds. It was the other hiking option from the Pine Valley Hut.

View to the Southwest, I think that is Mt Gould, the Minotaur, and the Parthenon.

I stayed on the summit for half an hour, catching up on my phone messages and making plans for the next hike. I climbed and hiked back down to the hut, which was quite a bit faster.

After accidentally finishing my jar of Nutella, I decided I had eaten enough and it was time to continue hiking. It was uneventful, and I was back on the Overland track in just over an hour.

I could tell I was getting closer to Narcissus hut, as the boardwalks became more numerous.

I crossed the Narcissus River one final time, using the only swingbridge on the entire Overland track. (The others today were on the Pine Valley trail).

It was fun to follow the Narcissus River for a few minutes before arriving at the hut.

Narcissus Hut is at the top end of Lake St Clair, which is known for platypus sightings.

The hut itself was small, it fit only 12 people, and there were definitely at least 12 people there. I don’t like feeling claustrophobic so I took a walk down to the jetty to see the lake, and hopefully a platypus.

Many hikers (most?) pay $50 to take the ferry from here to the finish, skipping 16km/10mi of trail. Not me, I wanna walk the whole trail. I kept looking for platypus, or any signs of disturbance in the water, but it was difficult with the raindrops.

I walked the 300m back to the hut, and lounged on the front porch, which had a nice view of the Narcissus river.

I chatted with some of the other people, only one of which was an Overland track hiker. Most of them were a big family group enjoying a weekend out, and 2 them were ultrarunners… who were planning on leaving tomorrow at 5am to run to Jerusalem National Park. I think that’s like a 70km round trip!
I finished my dinner, and then stood on the riverbank looking for a platypus. After awhile it started to rain, so I went inside and went to bed. Tomorrow is the finish!

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