Hidden Tarn

Tuesday 10 February 2015
Many years ago I went over Mount Mawson and down to Hidden Tarn.  On that walk we continued down to Lake Belcher, but after looking at the map and satellite images I thought it might be interesting to walk to the tarn then along the shelf as far as it is practical to go.  The shelf is reasonably level and generally about 100m wide and 700m long.
Tyenna and Florentine Peaks above Lake Belton with Lake Belcher bottom right.


Tyenna and Florentine Peaks above Lake Belton with Lake Belcher bottom right.
Although the day was predicted to be in the high twenties in the nearby valleys, the alpine area at Mount Field was expected to reach a maximum of 21⁰ and this is what eventuated.  As we started out from Lake Dobson it was a very pleasant temperature but by the time the jeep track was reached it was warming up.  However crossing Mawson Plateau was both a pleasant temperature and delightful scenery.  The Snowy and Anne Ranges came into view then soon after good views of Lakes Belton and Belcher below Tyenna and Florentine Peaks.
After a short rock screen a long slope of low alpine vegetation followed then a Eucalypt woodland before reaching Hidden Tarn. The tarn was a great site and in effect had an almost sandy shore.  From the distance it looked like a beach and once on it you realise it is fine grains from centuries of eroding dolerite. Hidden Tarn is about 5,500 sq. metres a bit over 100m long and 50m at the widest and doesn’t have an outlet. At times it must get quite full, but there is every indication that it holds water all year.  In the deeper spots there are lots of small aquatic ferns and we noticed plenty of Mountain Shrimps (Anaspides).
Hidden Tarn view west

Hidden Tarn view west
The tarn is at the northern end of the shelf and we walked along it for about 650 metres before it gave the appearance of becoming quite thickly scrubby.  To that point we had a few sections of prickly scoparia to but also some easier walking including one open area of small herbs and grasses.
It was a steep 200 metre ascent back to Mawson Plateau and quite warm with the slope facing the sun, then as a variation we went down the old Golden Stairs, which in fact is 500 metres shorter than by the jeep track.
As is often the case nowadays after a bit of strenuous exercise, by about 9 pm I was yawning and tired, especially after a quite warm walking day.
Total distance 7.2k.     Under 2 hours actual walking to get to Hidden Tarn   and the return route was 2:15.  The distance both ways was very close to the same due in part to using the Golden Stairs on the return, which is a 500 metre shorter journey.
Click on the image below for the photo album
Hidden Tarn
Hidden Tarn

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