Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mt Donald

Yesterday gave the missus and a couple of friends a lift to Hill Cove for a yoga class, didn't fancy it myself so took the opportunity to have a walk up Mt Donald, the westernmost hill of the Mt Adam massif.
Don't usually do much in the winter but it's been a good spell of weather and on the day it was stonking! no wind to speak of and bright sunshine apart from a period of mist while I was on the ridge.

Mt Donald from the north, doesn't look like much from here but a tough walk up the spur on the left through some big ferns and higher up some stone runs. As with most hills here there's no path as such, just choose a place to aim for and go.

Those ferns are big! the climate in this part of West Falkland is a lot more beneficial to plants than the harsh conditions where I live at Fox Bay, the vegetation is much more of an obstacle on these hills.

Higher up the spur (1200 ft ish), terrain is steeper and many small stone runs to cross, hard going. Overturning a rock up here I spotted a small wolf spider about 3/4 inch long and appeared to be translucent, scuttled off pretty quick so was unable to get a photo of it unfortunately.

Got there, looking north from the top of the spur, one of the best veiws on the West on a clear day and they don't get much clearer than this. Hill Cove settlement is on the promontary on the left, beyond to the right is the Sound Ridge and then L to R Saunders Island, Keppel Island and Peddle Island.
The top of Mt Donald is a plateau with 3 high points at 1900 to 2000 ft and several ponds between in very wet, boggy ground, It's an uninteresting summit but the veiws are spectacular. To the West is a rocky ridge that runs for several kilometres then drops away steeply to the pass at Hells Kitchen where the road crosses, this is where I'm heading.

The West Ridge in the mist, quite thick below and the sun shining through, only lasted for 20 minutes or so, I was hoping I might have seen my first ever brocken spectre but sadly not to be.

Looking West from the end of the ridge, The French Peaks and the Boundary Hills, in the distance is Byron Heights. To the right is the pass at Hells Kitchen, from the ridge is a steep descent then scrambling through a few crags lower down (easily circumvented but fun to scramble). From there I rejoined the road and walked back to Hill Cove settlement.

A great day out, If only we got weather like this in the summer. ;-)