Day 20: The Weather Always Wins

Friday December 9, 17.5 km/10.9mi

Junction Creek Campsite (9.3/230m) to Top of Alpha Moraine (13.4/980m) to Scotts Peak Dam Trailhead (0.0/270m) (TAS)

It had rained overnight, so I packed up a wet tent at 7am, hoping to dry it later. I snuck by the group of 7, who were still sleeping. I took the right turn at the junction, to hike the loop counterclockwise. The weather still wasn’t looking great.

I hiked toward Alpha moraine, which the trail uses to climb up onto the ridge of the Western Arthurs. I was already wet from hiking thru an overgrown brushy trail (carwash!), and I kept moving to stay warm.

The clouds weren’t lifting, and in fact it started to rain again.

There was a moment that I thought the sunshine might break out, but that brief hole in the clouds was quickly covered by the incoming clouds.

As I climbed up to the top of Alpha moraine, the temperature expectedly got colder. I had climbed up 600m/2000ft, and it was now just above freezing. Rain at these temperatures, with no place to hide from the wind, is hypothermia conditions.

Unless the rain stopped soon, I would have to turn around. It wasn’t supposed to rain today! I took out my InReach and downloaded an updated forecast, which showed rain all day today, and Sunday too. So my 3-day clear weather window was now only clear Saturday/tomorrow. Yikes. Time to leave. I hiked the 2 hours back to Junction Creek, and then another 2.5 hours back to the car. It was still a muddy trail, but now it was slippery too. I was happy to get back to the car at 3pm and sit with the heat on.
I drove towards town, and passed Scotts Peak Dam along the way, so I had a visit.

Behind the dam is Lake Pedder, part of Tasmania’s hydropower system.

I continued driving, and it was still raining. After 45 minutes on a gravel road, and another 45 on pavement, I pulled into a campground for the night. After dinner that night, I figured out my plans for the next hike. I’m near Mt Field, so I’ll hike that 2-day loop tomorrow and Sunday. After Sunday, the forecast shows rain for 5 days, and snow up in the higher elevations. Sheesh. Where is summer?!

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