Thursday, 31 March 2016

Once again into the Walls of Jerusalem

29th - 31st March 2016

Nescient Peak
Twin Spires

I wanted to go back into the Walls to nab a few Abels I missed on my last trip due to bad weather (read the trip report here). It also offered a great opportunity to investigate the damage caused by the recent bush fires.

Day 1
I parked my car at the Lake Bill access to the Walls and started heading up the hill just before lunch. Within a few metres of starting my walk I was in sections of burnt out forest. It was strange to walk through the forest that I had known so well and to have a very different experience. It wasn't sad though, as all around there were signs of life coming back; hakea seed pods opening, ferns shooting up, and gum leaves budding. Within an hour I had reached the top of the hill and stood at the end of blizzard plain (a button grass plain that also got burnt out). I had lunch whilst admiring the view of Lake Bill, Mt Ragoona, and to my immediate west the small Abel - Nescient Peak. I walked south through the regenerating button grass for another 15 minutes or so before I dropped my pack and made for the summit. Nescient Peak was known to be a very scrubby, albeit short, deviation from the main path. However, with the recent fires burning much of the forest I managed to hoon up the hill with very little issue. The summit is forested, but offers good views towards the Cathedral Plateau and Lake Bill and after some time at the top I was soon back at my pack; a little blackened from the charred branches, but with a smile on my face as another Abel had been conquered. It was then a pleasant hour and a half walk to Lake Myrtle, first through more burnt forest and then after crossing Jacksons Creek I was in 'normal' ti-tree scrub. I set up my camp at Lake Myrtle and whiled the afternoon away enjoying a swim, many cups of tea, and a good book.

Look out adventure, here I come!

Bush fire bushwalkin'.

Blizzard Plain will grow again.

Little tarn on the way up Nescient.

The burnt out summit of this forgotten Abel.

Life coming back to the forest.

Big Bad Banksia Men.

Ragoona and Lake Myrtle.

Myrtle on the banks of Lake Myrtle.

Day 2
I slept in a bit, had breakfast (rolled rice - a great alternative to oats!), packed up camp, and stormed off along the northern shore of Lake Myrtle. My destination for the day was to be Cathedral Mountain. For the first few hundred metres I followed the Jackson Creek track, but when it swung away downhill (not the way I wanted to go) I jumped down to the rocks at the waters edge and started my semi off track expedition. I left Lake Myrtle behind and went over a ridge to drop down onto the northern tip of Cloister Lagoon. From here I made a bee-line on my map for the southern tip of Chalice Lake and reached that by midday. I sat and had lunch looking over the wonderful landscape that stretched out before me, rocky, open, wonderful walking. After lunch I re-adjusted my bee-line for the summit of Cathedral Mountain and headed off. I occasionally found the odd cairn here or there, but no substantial path, so I kept making my own. I was atop Cathedral by 2pm and busied myself with setting up camp a stones-throw from the summit cairn. After a cup of tea I packed my day pack and headed north along the vast cliff lines towards the high point of the plateau and Abel, Twin Spires. It sits only a half an hour stroll away from where I made camp, so was an easy way to spend my afternoon. When I was sitting on top of the summit I was treated to having 3 Wedge Tail Eagles soaring over my head, 2 adults and a young one squawking loudly. I made my way back to my tent and cooked up dinner, just in time to enjoy the sun setting over Mt Ossa. A glorious place to spend the night!

Heading around Lake Myrtle.

The water was so fine!

First view of Cloister Lagoon.

Looking back to Ragoona.

Looking towards Cathedral and Twin Spires.

Summit of Cathedral Mountain - Looking to Kia Ora.

The ragged cliff-lines of the plateau (Twin Spires on the far right).

God-rays from the summit of Twin Spires.

3 Wedgies! (sorry about the dust on the screen...)

Not a bad view for dinner.

Sun starting to go down.

Sun setting over Mt Ossa.

Day 3
I woke up around 7 and was disappointed when I poked my head out of the tent to see very thick fog all around me. I was not looking forward to finding my way out in such weather, so slowly packed my camp up and hoped it would clear. By 9:30am it was still really thick, so I orientated myself with my map and made a bee-line through the fog for a small lake called Tent Tarn, some 1.5 kilometres away. 45 minutes later and much to my delight, the sun got some heat in it and burnt off a lot of the fog, to reveal that I was almost at the tarn! A few minutes after that I ended up stumbling upon a very well trodden and cairned path that ended up being the exact one I was after; taking me all the way to Grail Falls. Once on that it was only an hour before I was walking passed Chalice Lake on the other side than the day before. I almost trod on a small whip snake trying his hardest to bask in the suns rays. He was so cold that I managed to snap a few good photos of him before he scampered off into the scrub. I began to follow Moses creek, which flows out of a long arm of Chalice Lake and down over Grail Falls to meet the Moses Creek Track and take me back to the car. After half an hour I was at the waterfall, having an early lunch in the sheltered Myrtle forest. After lunch it was a quick hour down the track through some of the most beautiful old growth Myrtle forest I can remember. It made me reminisce on why this is my favourite access to the Walls of Jerusalem. Once I got to the road I put on my camp/running shoes and a small day pack and ran the 4km back to the car. Job well done!

Not looking good...

... Poop. Fog.

The fog lifts! Tent Tarn on the left.

Beautiful Pencil Pine near Tent Tarn.

White Lipped Whip Snake - SO CUTE!!

Chapter Lake.

Grail Falls.

131 left.


Monday, 28 March 2016

St Valentines Peak

28th March 2016

St Valentines Peak

Gina and I had spent a few days on the west coast exploring the Tarkine and on our way home we decided to climb an Abel. St Valentines Peak sits just below the city of Burnie and is a distinctive land mark with its very conical shape rising on the horizon.

The walk starts through some open forest dominated by Gum and Wattle, crossing two streams before an old gravel road is reached. We observed many different fungi sprouting up and it really added a splash of colour to the forest. The old road was starting to get overgrown as it obviously rarely gets traffic on it, but it still offered fine views of our destination. Soon we were back into forest and on a walking path, intermittent board-walk through the scrubbier sections but mostly easy going underfoot. It got steeper and slipperier as the track progressed through Myrtle and Celery-top Pine forest, but we soon reached the alpine vegetation and the path got rocky. The undulating path to the summit was more or less a ridge-line traverse and the views opened up quickly. After a quick lunch break we pushed for the summit marked by a relay station for emergency services and a trig point. Gina had a nap in the afternoon sun and I poked around the old equipment before we headed back to the car. A lovely way to finish out Easter break!

Mighty peak rising from the plantation.

Ah yes, here it is.

Not quite in focus, but check out that fella!

Gina the panda, crossing a river.

A bunch of cutie-pies.

Up on the ridge, just passed a family who were picnicking.

A little ways to go yet.

Summit naps, the best naps.


133 left.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Mt Tor

23rd March 2016

Mt Tor

Mt Tor only just scrapes in to become an Abel at 1105m in altitude! It sits next to Black Bluff and is a scrubby but pleasant day trip from Launceston. I went on this walk with my old friend Nick and his brother Matt (a very keen peak bagger)! We left Launceston at 7:30am and drove to Ulverstone and then towards the Leven River, where we parked the car and began our adventure.

The walk starts on a 4 wheel drive track and soon crosses the Leven River, where we took off our boots and easily waded across to yonder shore. Boots back on and we continued to follow the surprisingly clear track as it went up-river and then up a subtle ridge-line. After a few kilometers we reached the point where we should turn off the track and proceed up the peak. It was marked by a large rock cairn and had a rough looking path leading off into the scrub. The path soon deteriorated into nothing, but the buttongrass and small ti-tree vegetation was easy walking with open views. After gaining a few hundred meters in altitude we hit a wall of taller vegetation. With scrub bashing faces on we marched into the bush, hopping from rocky outcrop to rocky outcrop scattered between scrubby sections.

We leveled out onto a gradual sloping plateau heading towards the summit that was vegetated with mostly buttongrass, and made for easy going and wide views. We were treated to a Wedge Tail Eagle soaring effortlessly above us and it wasn't long before the summit was reached, 3 hours after leaving the car. The views were lovely, especially the wide vista of Black Bluff with Mt Roland in the background. We had lunch on top while enjoying the calm weather, when the wind started to pick up after 40 minutes on the summit we started our walk down. A great fun peak, with a really nice view.

Ready for adventure!

This doesn't look like a good place to cross...

This does though! 

Matt gettin' amongst it.

GPS - I should get one.

Scrub-a-dub dub!

A very handsome shroom.

These rocky patches were lovely.

And sometimes a squeeze.

The beautiful plateau.

Mr W. T. Eagle.

The grassland just beneath the summit, featuring the Davis brothers.

134 left.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Mother Cummings Peak

10th March 2016

Mother Cummings Peak

This protruding arm of the Western Tiers sits right above the sleepy town of Meander. It has two notable high points on a map - Mother Cummings Peak and Cummings Head. The Abel for the area is Cummings Head and we took the route as described in Abels Volume 1. I did this day walk with Jason, my dad's cousin (whom I hadn't seen in a while, so it was a great opportunity for a good catch up).

We met in Deloraine and then both jumped into my car for the short drive to the start of the walk up Smoko Road. The walk starts at an old fallen down bridge and the first kilometer of walking is on the old overgrown road beyond said bridge. We soon reached an old car park where the track became a proper walking path and started to follow Mother Cummings Rivulet through a valley towards the plateau. The walking was beautiful, filled with lots of gorgeous Myrtle, King Billy, fungi, and little rock pools along the rivulet. The water was crystal clear and would be very inviting on a hot summer's day. It wasn't long before we popped out into some low alpine vegetation with thick clouds creeping through the bushes. Looks like no view for us today. When we reached the summit area, we had lunch and hoped for weather to clear, but it didn't. After we were filled up on yummy food we started our descent back through the gorgeous valley, oohing and aahing at all the beautiful trees.

A short but very lovely day walk, and one I would recommend to anyone!

Nice little car-park.

Crossing over Mother Cummings Rivulet.

The old sign at the old car-park.

Brand spanking new bracket fungi.

Jason looking chuffed.

Coral fungi looking sweet.

Check out that amazing clear water!

So pretty.

There were a lot of picturesque waterfalls.

The valley we walked up.

The cloud was a bit too thick. Damn.

An amazing rock with a cairn on it!

Mountain Rocket seeds on the summit.

Worth two in the bush.

135 left.