Sunday, 27 November 2016

Mt Rufus

27th November 2016

Mt Rufus

I spent the night before in Tarraleah for my cousin's wedding, a fine event. And thought it worth my while to climb a mountain on my way home, which Mt Rufus suited well for. I left Tarraleah after breakfast and was at the visitor center at Lake St Clair a bit after 9:30am. I started walking up the Mt Rufus track, which winds it's way over gentle undulations and through some beautiful Snow Gum forest. A small patch of rainforest was passed through before I reached the junction to the Shadow Lake circuit. From here I kept strolling towards Rufus, gaining more and more elevation and being delighted with small open grasslands studded with the occasional Pandani. Before too long I had reached the plateau that makes a bee-line for the false summit before changing direction to the true summit around 1km away. The views from here towards Mt Hugel were lovely, and I was sitting at the summit of Rufus and hour and forty five minutes after leaving the car. Smashed it! I enjoyed the view for about half an hour, the Chenye Range was looking very ominous in thick cloud cover, but my view east was splendid. The walk down was a wee bit quicker, and all in all it was a great way to spend the morning after a few drinkies.

3 hours one way?! Pfft.

Such great forest around Lake St Clair.

Case in point.

The false summit of Mt Rufus.

With a wee bit of snow.

A micro garden on the summit.

And a great view from top!

88 left.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mt Kate

24th November 2016

Mt Kate

Chevi and I arrived at Cradle Mountain National Park around 10am. We set off for the original planned walk of Recondite Knob, only to be thwarted in our goals by a small laminated sign at the start of the Speeler Track stating that there would be controlled burns in the area and that the track was closed. Not wanting to be crispy fried bushwalkers, we decided on another nearby Abel; Mt Kate.

We parked the car at the Ronny Creek car-park and crossed the Dove River via a small footbridge. This took us to the quaint Mount Kate House, an ageing building near the sight of an old saw mill. The track notes mentioned finding an old route up the hill behind the house once used as a bullock track for dragging down King Billy logs, but we were unable to locate it. No matter, as the forest was open and all we needed to do was go uphill! We pushed though small patches of light Tea Tree scrub in among great stands of Myrtle and soon poked out in low alpine scrub. This lead us to the rocky high point as stated in the Abels book where we found a taped route heading north towards the summit. The path took us through some beautiful Coral Fern grassland studded with Scoparia.  As we neared the rounded summit we stopped to watch a huge Wedge Tailed Eagle fly just overhead; so low we could almost pluck it from the sky. We reached the substantial summit cairn after 1.5 hours from the car and enjoyed the lee side of the cairn out of the wind for lunch. I plodded over to what could be the actual summit (about 50m away from the cairn, it seemed a wee bit higher with a more open view west), but the summit cairn was the place to be!

The walk down took just under an hour, and as we still had some time in the day we went to do the Enchanted Forest walk near the interpretation center. When I signed in the log book, I signed directly under Bill Wilkinson (the author of The Abels)!! What a great coincidence!

Drat and bother!

Home ideas?

Bashing through the scrub!

Summit cairn, Eagle, and Cradle mountain. What more do you need?

Cradle peeping through the Pencil Pines.

Jenga cairn.

Hahahaha! Woo!!!

89 left.


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mt Weld

20th - 21st November 2016

Mt Weld

Day 1
I met Nick in Hobart at 8:30am and we got into his car for the drive to Huonville to meet his brother, Matt. Once there, we all piled into one car to drive the extra hour up into the Weld Valley and trail head of the track up Mt Weld. We had to walk an extra kilometer of road beyond where we left the car, as a sink hole had taken out the road some time ago. The track started in thick cutting grass scrub, and for the next two and a half hours we were wading through patches of the razor sharp vegetation, intermixed with some semi open rain forest. Eventually we reached a creek, and that's when the track started to gain elevation (it had been following a very overgrown forestry track till then and was subsequently quite flat). After a short break for lunch on the other side of a small patch of Horizontal forest we started the long slog up through some great open Tea-Trees, Dogwood, and then into some gorgeous rain forest. Some of the Myrtles were absolutely huge, and there were some gigantic Eucalyptus too. At around 900m in elevation we hit the scrub and the track became less obvious. Many scratches were gained as we pushed though as fast as we could. Eventually we reached a small open marsh land with fine views. A little bit more scrub was pushed through on very braided tracks (the off track scrub was lighter than the scrub with a path through it!) and we soon made it to the un-named tarn were we would spend the night. We called the tarn "Nanny's Roast Tarn" because Matt was missing out on his usual Sunday roast and deemed it strange that the tarn had no name yet. It took around 7.5 hours from the car and we were keen for the beers we had brought along. Some time was spent relaxing before bed, and plans were made for an early morning attempt at the summit.

Mmm... That's a track!

Celebrate the joy of a log to walk on!

A good bit of Horizontal. 

A small Bracket Fungi.

Matt smashing through some scrub.

Nothing quite like sleeping under a tarp.

Day 2
We started to wake up around 4:30am and got out of bed by 5am when it was light enough to see without torches. We quickly packed up the camp and were walking soon after. The way to the summit was obvious and open, mostly Pineapple Grass, Dwarf Pine, Pandani, and scree. We first went up to the southern summit which is connected to the actual summit with a low saddle. The whole walk up took about 50 minutes and was absolutely wonderful due to the rising sun and dramatic weather to the west. We spent about 20 minutes on the top admiring the view to the Western Arthurs, Mt Anne, The Spires, The Snowy Range and all the mountains to our south. It took about 30 minutes to get back to the packs for a quick breakfast, and then over pants were donned for the scrub bash back to the open rainforest. The walk back to the car was warm as the muggy weather moved in, but only took about 5 hours. On the drive back to Huonville we stopped at the Weld River for a refreshening (thanks for the new word Matt) swim in the cold water; a rewarding way to finish a bloody fantastic trip!

A sunrise over a sea of fog.

Mt Weld summit is on the right.

Looking down to the Weld Valley.

Rain over the Western Arthurs.

Looking along the Weld Ridge from the summit.

"Nanny's Roast Tarn"

A beautiful Streaked Eyebright.

And people thought I was tall!

90 left.


Mt Oakleigh

16th - 17th November

Mt Oakleigh

Day 1
As previously mentioned, Tasmania suffered from some of the heaviest rainfall in recorded history over the last winter, this also meant that it suffered from substantial flooding. One of the more popular roads for accessing places like The Walls of Jerusalem, Lee's Paddocks, and The Arm River Track (Mersey Forest Road) was cut off at multiple points.

I parked my car as far up the road as I could drive (the turn off to Devils Gullet), and grabbed my mountain bike off the roof of the car. I had to ride about 25km to the start of The Arm River Track, traversing 2 large wash outs and many fallen trees. On the way in I passed several trucks and diggers starting to patch up the road, which is a very promising sight! The ride took just over 3 hours and I was glad finally reach the now very disused car park and start walking. The walk into Pelion Plains took a bit under 3 hours and was harder than I've ever experienced up that track due to the overgrowth and fallen trees. When I reached Pelion I bumped into Nick and Bert who were leading an Overland trip with Cradle Huts, so we organised a catch up later that night and went our separate ways. While watching a helicopter land to fly out the contents of the drop-dunny, I had some lunch at the hut and rested for an hour before getting my day-pack together for a walk up Mt Oakleigh.

I had never been up Oakleigh, despite spending dozens of nights at Pelion and it being so close and easy to get up! The walk started out on new duck-board over some deep swampy button grass before moving in to the tree line beneath the mountain. Pushing steadily up through some beautiful rainforest, after 45 minutes the track pops out into classic Tasmanian alpine terrain, Scoparia, Hakea, and dolorite boulders. The track then headed west in an abrupt dogleg and leads towards the iconic spires close to the summit. A beautiful point to survey the Overland mountains, but not quite the true summit which is about 10 minutes north over very low and thin scrub. The true summit does have a nice view, but it isn't quite as beautiful as the jagged spires earlier on. I spent close to an hour on the summit before heading back to the hut for dinner and a catch up with Bert and Nick, followed by a good night sleep under the stars on the helipad.

A gate across an iconic road.

Here is the first reason for that gate.

... And another good reason.

10km in, 15km to go!

Pelion West on approach through Pelion Plains.

Helicopter with Barn Bluff in the background.

On the way up to Oakleigh.

The spires near the summit. What a view!

The true summit, looking towards the Pelion West Traverse.

Day 2
Such a beautiful morning to wake up to in the reserve! I had breakfast and packed my things, prepared to do the Pelion West traverse. I walked back up the Overland for 15 minutes til I hit the subtle but distinctive turn off for the track up to Mt Thetis. I walked up there for about an hour and hit a beautiful patch up coral fern, surrounded by a stunning view! I sat down, feeling like shit. I had a predicament, one that I knew was brewing for a little while but didn't want to acknowledge. I felt like I was about to do this iconic traverse because it was a chore, I had to do it. I didn't want to create memories up in this place, all the while feeling like I wasn't doing it for the right reason. The last thing I want is for my hobby and passion to become a task. So after half an hour of contemplation, I turned back and started the long trip back to my car.

In reflection, I am glad I chose to do that. I know it's not the right attitude if I want to achieve the goal of climbing all the Abels in a short period, but I would rather enjoy the challenge for climbing them all eventually, than achieve the challenge of a fast round while feeling tasked to it.

I look forward to doing the Pelion West Traverse very much. It is stunning up there.

Alpine paths.

91 left.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Drys Bluff

6th November 2016

Drys Bluff

WELL! After being down and out for over a fortnight with a virus, and enduring rubbish Tasmanian spring weather, it was finally time to get out into the mountains again! Chevi and I started walking from the beautiful cottage at Oura Oura that Bob Brown once lived in (and has now donated to Bush Heritage Australia) in the Liffey valley at 9am. The walk up Drys is known as one of the harder day walks in Tasmania, and with the uphill starting straight away, it's obvious to see why. We pushed through some beautiful dry sclerophyll forest and up to the base of some spectacular sand stone cliffs. Several fixed ropes are on the track to assist with getting up the steeper sections of the cliffs and they made for an enjoyable variation in the assent. After passing over a small patch of scree and up a few more ropes we poked out on the plateau about 2 hours after leaving the car. The track continued to the trig point, but the true summit and Abel lays about 1.5km to the south-west. We jumped off the track and into the scrub! There were sections of thick scrub, broken up with wombat trails and rough pads, but by the time we reached the summit ridge all the rough pads turned into a relatively good (an occasionally cairned) track. We followed the track until we reached the obvious high point and a substantial cairn marking the top. We had lunch in the sun and enjoyed the view for around half an hour before heading back through the scrub to the path. We decided to also go up to the trig point, which only took a further 15 minutes to reach, and offered a great view back to where we had just come from. The walk down was pleasant as the weather just seemed to get better and better.

Great day for a mountain stroll, what!

Classic B. Brown.

Some of the amazing cliffs.

Hakea in bloom.

A lil' bit of scree.

Chevi climbing a rope!

The summit is that way!

On top of the top. What a great view!

Heading over to the cairn.

Looking back at the Abel from the cairn.

Smashing down the mountain in style.

What a sweet little spot.

92 left.