Frenchmans Cap

Walk Description      

The track is undergoing an extensive upgrade and as of October 2014 not all of this was complete. There are three sections which are still in poor shape and at least one of these looks likely to be fixed within a year or two.

Crossing bridge on Franklin RiverAfter crossing the Franklin River there are some muddy spots and also old cording starting to break up, but once the slopes of Mount Mullins are reached the track becomes reasonable and the climb is gentle. The descent is on a good grade with the steepest bit stepped. Improvements have been made on the last section approaching the Loddon River whereas once there used to be a few boggy bits.

On crossing over to the western side of the Loddon there is a nice campsite on the banks about 30 metres to the right. The main track turns left and continues on the same path as of old, but is mostly improved, with some more obviously planned for the near future (probably summer 2015).

Laugtons Lead is the section leaving the plain to folow the hillsides

After some 1.7k a sign is reached indicating Laughton’s Lead and at this point it is a completely new track of really good quality that winds around the hills. It is mostly north facing and so is in a good perspective for drying. Much of it is built up from the excavation of often deep drains with soft sections boarded. There is a photo of the machines used for the work in the huts. Anyway it is excellent although the end joining to the old Philps Lead is still under construction. The surprising thing is that it feels to be mostly uphill, but on the return walk you realise that there is quite a few short uphill bits that way as well. On checking the map this new track starts at the 400 metres height and joins Philps at 500 metres so for a distance of 4 Kilometres it only rises 100 metres, but it certainly feels like it was more.

Raised soil of new track as it winds along the north facing hill slopes

Once on the old Philps Lead track there are quite a number of steps to climb through the forest before arriving at the plain prior to Vera. Cording on the plains is now starting to break up but it is only a short distance to Vera Hut. Two separate tents spots exist beyond the hut (2 & 3 tents). Many Huon Pines grow around the lake shore and the roots of these and all the other forest trees have in the past the tree roots make walking slow, but now it is all nicely infilled and rocked and boarded to make walking easier. However it is a decent of haul of 400 metres height gain to Barren Pass over a 2.5k distance. From there a good but undulating track goes around under Sharlands Peak and continues through Artichoke Valley and on to Lake Tahune. Two reasonable tent sites are on north east side of lake and more on elevated platform on western side. Old notes for comparison of now and then A bridge crosses the Franklin River then a good track follows through forest and some plains to a creek with washing station, and then the climb up Mt Mullins commences, on a fairly good track. The track down to the Loddon is well graded and in parts a very good track, although a muddy section is encountered just prior to the Loddon River. Loddon Plains can become extremely muddy and a couple of sections comprise deep bogs. (April 94 & Nov 95) Two forested creeks on the plains offer camping, with the best on the southern one. Once into the Philps Lead area the base becomes firmer and on reaching the forest the track is reasonable. From the crossing of Philps Creek the track ascends at a moderate slope before reaching Vera Plains where cording and firm track take you to Vera Hut. Two separate tents spots exist beyond the hut (2 & 3 tents).

Frenchmans Cap from Barron Pass a closer view

Many Huon Pines grow around the lake shore but the tree roots make walking slow. From the south west end of the lake a good track leads up to Barron Pass and continues on to Artichoke Valley where extensive track work commences and continues to Lake Tahune. Two good tent sites on north east side of lake and more on elevated platform on western side.

Map      Frenchmans Cap Vera 1:25 Loddon 1:25

Last Updated  Sunday, 4 January 2015

Start Point      Lyell highway

Facilities       Hut and toilet at both Vera and Tahune

Route Grade      Moderate 

Route Distance Klms       22 not inc the summit climb

Days      3--5

Time Hours      8 hrs each way exc lunch to Tahune  about 1:15 – 1:30 to climb peak similar back

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