Thursday, 18 February 2016

Great Lake Shenanigans

18th February 2016

Sandbanks Tier
Rats Castle

Today was a good day for climbing mountains, so I did two! I woke up nice and early to head towards Great Lake and a few of the Abels that sit on its banks. On the drive up to the lakes instead of just passing by Poatina, I decided to drive in and have a look around. It had been a long time since I'd been into the little village at the foot of the Tiers, but not much had changed. I saw 1 person in Poatina and he waved. 10/10 - friendly town.

It wasn't a long drive before I was up on the plateau and keeping my eye out for a spot to pullover to climb the first peak - Sandbanks Tier. I parked at the entry to an old quarry and started to make a beeline for the summit. The clouds were thick over the peaks, but studying my map and trip notes made navigation easy-peasy. The terrain was patches of gentle scree, then patches of light Eucalyptus forest. I managed to easily string together the patches of rocky ground so I only had to go into the scrub once. The summit took all of 30 minutes to reach and was still clouded over when I got there. I took the opportunity to photograph some plants and wait for the cloud to hopefully clear. After half an hour, it hadn't. So I took my summit shot and was out of there! Definitely will go up again some time; great fun little scramble.

On the road to Poatina!

"You shall not pass!" - This gate.

Beautiful Waratah.

Very fun terrain, lots of rock-hopping.

Sandbanks summit cairn in the cloud.

Observations in nature 1

Observations in nature 2

Observations in nature 3

Observations in nature 4

I jumped in the car and drove on towards Miena and then past Liawenee. The weather started to clear and blue patches broke up the clouds to create smiles on dials. I pulled the car over at Brandum Creek and started to walk up my next Abel, Rats Castle. The approach was similar to Sandbanks, lots of patches of scree broken up by bands of vegetation. I managed to hit a large patch of scrub that was thicker than I imagined it would be, but it wasn't all too bad and I eventually pushed through into a lovely large scree field (with a few more twigs in my boots though). I had sight of the summit and following my notes I headed to the far side of a knoll before making for the top. The area around the summit was gorgeous, lots of interesting plants including some creeping berries I hadn't seen before. The summit was marked with a trig point. I hung around the top for a while, signed a log book that was atop and had my lunch. The view was especially lovely now that the weather was clearing even more. After 45 minutes or so I started to make my way back to the car. I managed to pick a much better route on my way back down and hardly hit any scrub at all! Great mountain, well worth a look.

The weather is clearing!

Rats Castle in the far distance.

More lovely scree, featuring a fence.

Rock wall.

Gorgeous little cushion plant.

Getting close to the top.

Have not seen these before! To the books I go...

The summit is close...

...and closer...

... There is it!

A few familiar names in the book.

138 left.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Quamby Bluff

14th February 2016

Quamby Bluff

Today my lady (Gina) and I conquered Quamby Bluff. This lovely little peak is not far from Launceston and is a popular day walk. We didn't leave until after lunch and started walking by about 2:30pm. The terrain and forest type constantly changed as we made our way up the short 1.5 hour ascent, starting in beautiful myrtle forest, moving into tall eucalyptus and eventually a large scree field. The walking on the scree only lasts 5 minutes or so, but it offers great views up to the summit and across to the tiers. Another myrtle forest is growing above the scree and easy walking is well marked by many cairns and the odd boot or two in a tree. Soon we made it to the plateau; the vegetation changed to alpine shrubs and wide views were visible. Within 10 minutes of getting out in the open we had made it to the summit and the good old trig point that marks the top!

I had a little bottle of Slovenian honey liqueur stashed in my day-pack and surprised Gina with it as a little Valentines Day warmth. The wind was crisp and constant, so the warming drink was much appreciated. We poked around the top for a short while before making our way back down. The walk down was gorgeous as the sun was getting low and the golden colour was stunning on the rocks and trees. Always a pleasant little walk - get out there and do it!

Mighty Quamby.

Walking through the ferns.

Go this way.

"Some nonsense about something..."

This cairn deserved a photo, check it out!

When you hit the boot, turn right.

The plateau with the trig in the distance.

Gina on top of a mountain!

Summit booze!

Afternoon light = B-E-A-UTIFUL!

140 left.