Lake Man, Top Hope Hot Springs

 Easter, 6-9 April 2012

 A wonderful weekend with perfect weather. Bill dropped Sergey, Glenda, Bronwyn and me at the Boyle River while he parked at the Engineer's Camp. The river was very low as were all the rivers causing no crossing problems at all. We headed up the Doubtful taking a break outside the hut, continuing on until we turned off a few hours later up the track alongside Kedron Stream.The highlight here was the stags roaring. I'd heard the occasional one previously, but here they were answering Bill and Sergey's roars and at times sounded quite angry. No sightings though.

 It took over a couple of hours to break out of the bush to arrive at the Lake Man Biv, a delightful little hut in which some hunters were well ensconced. There was no track from here and after some initial bush bashing, Bill sorted out a route up to the lake. We arrived about 5p.m. It didn't take long to have our tents pitched and enjoy the evening highlighted by the golden glow from the full moon. This continued all night eliminating the need to use torches in the middle of the night.

 We woke to clear skies and decided to head off up the ridge. Magnificent views in all directions as Bill headed off for a quick summit of Mt Lakeman. Meanwhile Glenda had been enjoying the solitude, giving her knees a rest. Rather than losing altitude we sidled around to the grassy saddle with views down to the Hope. Before reaching Pussy Stream for lunch there was a knee-weakening near vertical section to contend with. The stream lead out to St Jacob's Flat with long golden grasses. About 15 minutes beyond Top Hope hut Glenda steadied herself on a branch as she went down a bank. It snapped propelling her forward, followed by a rock hitting her head and giving her an instant egg. However water and anti-inflammatory saw her heading to the hot springs.

 They were set in a grassy area under a bank of beech trees, with their roots a coppery colour, stained from the minerals. We set up camp and had tea. The pool was too hot for me but fortunately a side stream has been dammed enabling a mix of water, as it can be diverted. We all had a lovely soak and repeated this before breakfast. It was bliss to be able to put our boots on having soaked our socks in hot water. We could wrap hot gaiters around our legs before the immediate river crossing and still stay warm.

 Sunday was our shortest day. Time for a leisurely lunch at St Jacobs hut. Once across the swing bridge we headed down to the Hope and found an ideal camp spot. We gathered firewood and built a campfire on the riverbank. Glenda brought along some marshmallows and whittled sticks for the toasting. A sliver of moon appeared over the hillside and we watched it rise before heading off to sleep.

 Monday morning we were packed and away by just after 8.00. We had a look at the spring at the Halfway hut – no comparison. The final walk through the beech forest, seemed to go on forever. One redeeming feature was the bird life. Their song dominated a background drone of wasps on the honeydew. Bill had gone on ahead to pick up the vehicle and was waiting at Windy Point when we got in around 1.30.

 A great tramp enjoyed by Bronwyn, Sergey, Glenda, Bill and Wendy