The track to Mt. Anne is one of the most beautiful areas in Tasmania. The ascent up Mt. Eliza at the beginning of the Mt. Anne track offers continual, unobscured, panoramic views of Lake Pedder while the alpine traverse across the Mt. Anne plateau offers spectacular 360° views of the multiple mountain ranges in Tasmania’s rugged Southwest National Park World Heritage Area. Climbing to the summit of Mt. Anne (1423m (4669’)), the highest mountain in Tasmania’s Southwest, however, is not for the faint-hearted.
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“I lift up my eyes to the mountains–where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you–the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:1-8)
This is the promise God gave me when I had prayed about whether or not I should go on a backpacking trip to Mt. Eliza and the Mt. Anne plateau in Tasmania’s remote Southwest National Park in order to capture a panoramic shot of Lake Pedder at sunset. I would be camped totally alone on the summit, atop of a very exposed alpine plateau, far away from the nearest person.
A week and a half prior to this trip, one of my friends and his hiking companion had to be helicoptered out of the nearby Arthur Plains due to the rising rivers after persistent heavy rain, snow and 100 kph (62 mph) winds on the southwest ranges, which hemmed them in. This friend of mine, John Zeckendorf, happens to be a former SES (State Emergency Service) mountaineer who used to perform mountain rescues instead of needing to be rescued. He’s also climbing up Mt. Everest as I write this.
Yes, it can be risky out there, even for the highly experienced.
Seeing that I’m not Mt. Everest material myself, I wondered if I should be doing what I was doing. However, as I prayed, the Lord spoke Psalm 121 into my heart, and he gave me a deep peace everything would be OK (Philippians 4:6-7). I knew the Lord would keep me safe.
God also reminded me of the well-loved Scripture in Psalm 139:
“You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:5-12)
In faith I climbed Mt Eliza and set up camp. Sustained by the Lord’s Word and undergirded in my spirit through the prayers of God’s people interceding for me (Ephesians 6:18), I had the most wonderful time in the presence of the Lord on top of that mountain, praying and worshiping him. It was pure joy to be alone in God’s Presence and to take in his beautiful Creation! I didn’t want to leave!
The Lord also blessed me with perfect weather and a sunset so magnificent no camera could possibly record it. This panorama photo of Lake Pedder at sunset from the top of Mt Eliza was my best attempt.
“It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim you love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…” (Psalm 92:1-2)