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