April 13, 2006

Frenchman's Cap Trip

Marian Harradine
We left the car in the car park on the Lyel Highway parked with some other vehicles and noticed broken glass from a previous broken into car or two. There was also a sign warning of previous vandalism. We decided to chance it anyway and I prayed a prayer of protection as we left.
We got on our way at about 10.15. It was a sunny clear day and very warm with our backpacks on. After about 5 minutes we crossed the beautiful Franklin River on a suspension bridge. Then there was an extended wooden sleeper type track, which went on for about 10 minutes at least. We got to a boot wash creek about 15 minutes after leaving the Franklin River and stopped to scrub our boots.
From there on the track started to climb through beautiful green, mossy and ferny sassafras forest up the slopes of Mt Mullins.
I forgot to take notes on the times on the way in, but I know that we got to the Loddon River at about 12.45. We met a young man there having his lunch who had left Lake Vera that morning. He told us he had his tent and therma-rest stolen from Lake Vera Hut while walking for the day.
We crossed the large river on a strong suspension bridge, and decided we may as well have lunch in the cool shade. While we were eating a ranger came with a German girl volunteer.
He suggested that it was a nice day walk to Frenchman’s from Lake Vera and suggested we camp at Lake Vera for two nights rather than taking our packs up to Lake Tahune. That sounded good to us.
We were on our way again soon after 1pm and started making our way across the Lodden Plains which were sodden and very muddy. It seemed to go on forever. We would get to a dry area and think that was it and then the mud would start again. I even washed my boots and gaiters thinking we were at the end of it at a nice shady creek (the first crossing of Philps Creek), but we had another two more stretches of mud to negotiate! Our main problem, besides the mud, was that it was very hot in the area with no breeze or shade.
I think it was about 4.40 when at the other end of soggy Philps Lead, which came after the Loddon Plains, we crossed Philps Creek for the second time and finally started climbing into the shady bush up Pickaxe Ridge. What a relief! When we got to the top of the ridge we started descending through more forest and eventually came onto some more button grass plains, with wooden walkways over the wet sections. The buttongrass really looked very attractive when walking above it and not having to negotiate mud. Within 25 minutes we passed a toilet and then Vera Hut, just before 6 pm.
There were quite a few people in the hut. One chap told us that he and another member of his party had a tummy wog from the water they had drunk- vomiting and diarrhoea. I hoped that wouldn't be our fate as we had filled our bottles out of little clear creeks where it looked as though they may not have had a long history. I had drunk at least 2 litres of it in the heat.
We found a nice camping spot across Vera Creek, next to the track and set up the tent. It was so mild that we did not bother about putting the fly on the tent. After our tea we had a refreshing cold bucket wash and went to bed at about 8.30, very happy to be there after our hot tiring day. There was a lovely concert of birdsong all around us. It was very comfortable and a good night’s sleep was had by both of us.
We were both happy at the thought of camping at Lake Vera and walking without our backpacks up to Frenchman's tomorrow.
We got up at 7 am the next morning, and left at about 8am. It was a lovely day, clear and sunny. We got to the top of Barron Pass by 9.50 and to the Artichoke Valley at about 10.30. We got to Tahune Hut at 11am.
After looking about and filling our bottles with fresh tank water we set off at 11.15. and got to the top of Frenchman's at 12.45, having found a cool spot for lunch on the way up under a rocky overhang of the Cap with an amazing view south east.
It was a very clear day everywhere except towards the southeast and the north West Coast. We were up there for an hour and ten minutes sharing mountain identification knowledge with some interesting people who were there too. They made us glad of our quiet night in the tent, as apparently there was movement in the Lake Vera hut till 1am.
While we were up there a young man and woman looking super fit and lightly clad ran up. They had run from the road that morning leaving at 7am,and were doing a return trip in the one day, running where they could, practicing for the overland track race. We were all green with envy with their level of fitness. I think it was about 1.15 when they got up there and they left for the return run soon after.
We left the top of Frenchman’s at 1.55, got to Tahune Hut at 3pm and after a little rest by the side of beautiful Tahune Lake we resumed our return to the camp, getting to Artichoke Valley at 3.25 and the top of Barren Pass at 4.25. We took our time as it was a lovely walk and it was quite warm.
We were back at Lake Vera before six oclock and the hot hut occupants were disinclined to go inside to cook as it was 31 degrees on the thermometer in there. Some were sitting in the creek below the hut 'communing with nature'.
We had our bucket wash before tea to cool ourselves as well as clean ourselves enjoyed our meal and the quiet evening. We were in bed by 9.30.
We were having a lay day the next day and I decided to use it by going up to Frenchman's Cap again and enjoying the day again. Brian was not too keen on doing that and decided he would potter around Lake Vera and the area for the day.
We got up at 6.45 and at 7.15 I headed off up Barron Pass again. I started climbing at 7.35 after the first crossing of the creek. The top of Barren Pass was reached at 8.42. I sat up there taking in the views and vegetation for a few minutes and was on my way again at 8.50. The Artichoke Valley was reached at 9.30 and Tahune Hut at 9.55. There was no one at the hut and after reading the flora chart abd checking Lake Tahune, I left at 10.15. I got to the top of Frenchman's Cap at 11.25. I only spent 15 minutes up there this time as it had become cool and breezy. I had the place to myself. There were also a few drops of rain. The views were still good, but not as clear as yesterday.
I was surprised again how close Queenstown and Strahan were and Macquarie Harbour. I identified again Mt Sorrel, Mt Darwin, Mt Jukes and Pyramid Peak, Mt Huxley, Mt Owen and Mt Lyell, Mt Sedgewick with Mt Heemskirk in the distance.
I descended just enough to be sheltered from the wind coming from the southwest and found a comfortable rock on which to sit and have my lunch. It was a lovely vista north.
I did not dally long at Lake Tahune and resumed my walk along the track back to Lake Vera. Who should I meet when I was just past the Artichoke Valley but Brian. We briefly discussed going back up to the Cap together, but then decided that it would make us too late getting back to camp so we walked back towards the Barron Pass, enjoying the flora and the views and the freedom to take our time as there was plenty of that.
In my walk that day I took in more than what I noticed the day before. When we got back down the Barron Pass and near Lake Vera we were especially surprised at discovering Huon Pine growing around Lake Vera in quite significant numbers, most hanging in the water in their usual fashion. I don't know why it isn't mentioned in the walk notes on the trees and flora - I am sure it was Huon Pine it looked very much like what we've seen at Tarkine on the edges of the Huon River. The variety and number of wildflowers was amazing too on the whole walk, flowers I had not seen before that would look good in any garden. Beautiful geums, which looked a bit like a large strawberry flower with hairy strawberry leaves, lovely clusters of butterfly flags, red flowering richea and the odd waratah and the mountain lilies, growing often in seemingly impossible situations.
Anyway it was about 5.30 when we finally got back to camp to find the place deserted. After a look at the sky and remembering the forecast for rain we decided to pack the tent and go into the hut if no one had come by 7.30. We had tea. We then pulled the tent down and took everything into the hut.
It was very warm in the hut and by the time we went to bed at about 9 pm after another bucket wash, I was wishing we were back in our tent as the mosquitos were also in with us in great numbers. I slept much better in our little tent without their company. They seemed to be really attracted to aerogard! Also it did not rain more than a few drops in the night.
We had breakfast and packed up our bags, swept out the hut, and were on our way by 9.10, rather reluctant to leave. As usual it was much easier walking out than walking in, not just because of the less weight but also because you get fitter I think. It was also more enjoyable because it was cooler. We have found that the temperature can have a big effect on walk times.The hotter the slower.
We couldn't believe it when we got to the end of the Loddon plains and to the Loddon River at 12.50. I thought we were only halfway it was so easy in comparison with the trek in. The weather was overcast and cooler, good for walking.
The Loddon Plains were not as badly sodden, due to the hot dry weather in the last couple of days, although we sank down deep a few times due to unexpected depths!
One amazing sight though was when in the middle of the mud, from out of nowhere, a young chap appeared wearing very open sandals (with only two bands of leather across the foot). They were spotlessly clean and so were his feet. Brian looked at him in amazement and asked him where his boots were. He replied that what he had on was quite adequate. I wondered later if he was real or a clean footed ghost!
We got to the Franklin River at about 3.45. The car was undamaged in the carpark.
What a great way to spend four days!

Day Walk to Mt Rogoona

Marian Harradine 

Times taken:

Car park to Lake Bill: 1 hour 10 minutes
Car park to Lake Myrtle: 2 hours 5 minutes
Mt Rogoona from the track: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Return:

Mt Rogoona to the track: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Track to car park 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Details

The walk starts from Mersey Forest Road, about 12 kilometers south of the Lake Rowallan Dam, a few hundred meters past Juno Creek bridge, which is the third small bridge along the road after the Walls of Jerusalem main track turn off junction. There is a small car parking area off the road on the left, but there was no sign saying where the track, which had a small tree fallen across it at the start, was going to.
We left at 10.52. The track at first was fairly level and in eucalypt forest, very pleasant after 3 hours sitting in the car driving up from Hobart. Within 5 minutes the track started climbing, very steeply at times and eased off a bit after another ten minutes, even though still quite steep in places.
At 10.35, forty minutes after starting we came across the registration station and signed the log book. I read a few places above us of a couple of fellows who had set out to do what we were hoping to do and had come back disappointed as they did not get past Lake Myrtle. We did not let that put us off, knowing we had at least nine hours of daylight.
Soon after that the track descended gently, though still in open bush, and there was some water trickling across the track, suitable for drinking. After another ten minutes we came into open button grass and could soon see Lake Bill and Mt Rogoona ahead in the distance. This is called Blizzard Plain, but today it was warm and easy to negotiate without wetting the feet. There were quite a few very small tarns on those plains, but overall fairly dry.
We passed the junction to Lake Bill at 12 pm, and continued on around to the left of it, going south into bush on the slopes of the ridge alongside the lake. There was a bit of climbing on this section, but not steeply and it was really quite undulating. At 12.30 we suddenly came across a swiftly flowing creek, Jacksons Creek, which we crossed on a couple of small tree trunks. We followed alongside the creek for the next twenty minutes and then crossed it again.
At 12.48 we came across another button grass clearing and after another 10 minutes of walking saw we were near Lake Myrtle and could again see Mt Rogoona behind the lake.
We walked along to the end of the button grass. It was 1pm and we followed the track up into the bush again and climbed up along a stoney area. The track was a bit vague in places there and cairns were not easy to see. I hung a few ribbons here and there which we found helpful coming back.
Soon the track improved and we continued on till, after about 40 minutes, we came across another small clearing and then started climbing up another steeper slope. We were not sure where to turn off to start climbing Mt Rogoona, expecting some heap of cairns or something.
At 1.45 when we found ourselves looking down on Lake Meston and starting to descend, we decided that we must have come too far and retraced our tracks for a few minutes. We could not see Mt Rogoona from the track. We saw a sharp rock placed on a large rock and decided to check if we could find a route at this point. We were not sure if there was going to be a cairned route to follow or not. We could not find a cairned route anywhere in the area, and decided to stop for some lunch and a think.
After lunch we decided to go and have a look up the ridge and see how we went from there. We could always come back.
So at 2.45 pm, having lost an hour, we headed off up the hill, through bush and scrub, but mainly going up rocks and finding small clearings and made quite good time. When we got to the top of the ridge we could see Mt Rogoona in the distance with another ridge to negotiate. This we did without too much difficulty and the views of the lakes around us, Lakes Louisa, Adelaide, Meston and Myrtle, plus the views of the snowy Pelion East and West and Mt Ossa made us happy that we had come this far at least.
After an hour we thought we reached the top of Mt Rogoona, but thought a peak 15 minutes away was probably higher so headed off further up. We reached the true top at 4pm. The views of the mountains were just great, especially from south west to north west with all the overland peaks in view, Mt Olympus, Mt Byron, Mt Cuvier, Mt Manfred, Mt Gould, The Guardians, The Minotaur, The Parthenon, The Acropolis, Mt Geryon, Falling Mountain, Mt Massif, Mt Ossa, behind Cathedral Mountain, Mt Thetus, Pelion East and Pelion West right next to each other at that angle, behind Bishop's Peak and Chalice Lake, Mt Oakley's rocky end just visible behind Dean Bluff, then Barn Bluff, and Cradle Mountain with Mt Emmett in front of it, and Mt Pillinger The Walls of Jerusalem were to the east of us and lakes all around. To the north east were Clumner Bluff and Howells Bluff with Western Bluff and Mt Roland Range further back. What a great place to be on a clear day.
I took a plethora of photos in a full circle and continued snapping as we made our way down the slopes of Rogoona. We took a slightly different way back, mainly because we did not have a point of return like our point to Mt Rogoona. We came across a good sized tarn that was half covered with iced up snow. We eventually came to our first ridge and came down too far west and had a bit of trouble making good time down back to the track as it was much rougher going.
Eventually we made it back to the track at 5.55. It had taken us only an hour and a quarter up. but nearly an hour and three quarters back. I would use a compass if we went there again. It was open enough to successfully use a GPS there too.
We were looking forward to reaching Jacksons Creek to refill our bottles and got to the first crossing half an hour later. It was 7.05 when we got to Lake Bill. It was a lovely evening and we stopped and took a few more photos, The button grass looked very soft and richly coloured in the evening sun.
At 7.30 we had crossed Blizzard Plains and continued on into the bush. We came to the log book station ten minutes later and signed out.
From then on it was all down hill and we reached the car park at 8.10, in good daylight.
A very satisfying day with a plethora of good photos to remember it with.

Day walk into The Walls of Jerusalem and to Mt Jerusalem

Marian Harradine 
We had camped up in the Walls of Jerusalem for a memorable couple of days a few years ago, but had not climbed Mt Jerusalem for some reason. It was a good excuse to come back to try and do so now as a day walk.
We left the car park, past Lake Rowallan where we had camped overnight, at 9.30 and after signing the log book, soon started climbing, getting steeper as we got closer to Trappers Hut, which is about 2km from the start. We reached the Hut at 10.20 and continued on climbing but not so steeply for another 500 meters to the track junction where the right fork goes to Lake Adelaide and the left fork goes into the Walls. It was 10.30.
We continued on and enjoyed the views to the west of us with snatches of mountains appearing and disappearing in the low cloud. After another 20 minutes the track levelled out. We passed some nice tarns with good reflections.
Every now and then the temperature would drop suddenly and then it would drizzle a bit. This would not last for long so we continued on.
We reached the long boardwalk across to Wild Dog Creek campsites at 11.35 and to the campsites at 11.40. There were two lots of four timber platforms for camping and further up the track, another 3 more as well as a very clean toilet. There was a tap with fresh water at each lot of platforms. These have all been recently constructed and more timber was there for maybe some more platforms. Camping within the Walls is not encouraged and these sites are only 15 minutes from Herod's Gate, with King David's Peak towering just above.
We continued up a short climb into Herod's Gate, getting there at midday, 3 hours and 6k from the start . From here there are a lot of board walks interspersed with short rocky sections of track, easy walking and lovely, even in the cloudy weather, with King David's Peak and Solomon's Throne making the Western Wall and Mt Ophel, Zion Hill and The Temple to the east of us. Mt Jerusalem was also showing between Zion Hill and The Temple at one stage. We were hoping to climb Mt Jerusalem if we had time. Otherwise we were just going to climb up Solomon's Throne.
We reached the first lot of pencil pines close to the track not far from the track fork to the Pool of Bethsaida at 12.17 and decided to have lunch there in a sheltered spot.
We resumed the walk at 12.40, having decided, while having lunch, to try for Mt Jerusalem. We were not sure if there was a track to that. We climbed up to Damascus Gate, near The Temple and continued on to Dixons' Kingdom, very picturesque there too, with a large stand of pencil pines and the track very well laid in stone paving some of the way. We arrived at Dixons' Hut at 1.07.
Then we were happily surprised to see that the track was going to continue to be of good standard up to Mt Jerusalem. It was a lovely walk, through Jaffa Gate with more tarns on the way and then it was climbing steadily to the top of the ridge in a northeasterly direction and then continuing the climb to the cairn at the top.
We reached the top at 1.50, about 40 minutes from Dixon's Hut. The views were quite good to the south considering the day; we could see Mt Anne and the Wellington Range, so it would be really good on a clear day. The western mountains were not so clearly visible.
We only stayed there for 8 minutes and descended back down to Jaffa Gate. Dixon's Hut was reached at 2.32, and Damascus Gate 18 minutes later. A very good track goes up to the Temple from there, and also up to Solomon's Throne, following a very well designed and constructed track made with rocks, cutting up a narrow gap in the cliffs to the top. The views there are excellent too on a clear day.
We continued on out of the Walls and started descending at 4.30, reaching the Trappers Hut at 4.45 and the car park at 5.30. A very satisfying and enjoyable day.

Day Walk to Barn Bluff From Dove Lake

Marian Harradine 
We set off at 10.45, from the Dove Lake car park, going via Marion's Lookout, passing Kitchen Hut at about 11.55. We got to the turnoff to Barn Bluff at 12.50 and hopped across the boggy track along Barn Cirque until we eventually rose above it on to a rising in a pretty area and on towards the start of the rocky ascent up the Bluff. At this stage we were enjoying clear weather and the odd bit of cloud.
At 1.45 we stopped for lunch at the base and watched the weather coming across from the west, with some rain soon falling on us too. We put on our rain coats and started up at 2 o'clock. We were surprised that it took us 3/4 hour to get up to the top as it seemed quicker than that because the climbing though steep, was interesting and not difficult with some rock hopping at the top. By then the weather had closed in completely, and bits of snow were flying round in the rain and sleet. Brian took a photo of me in a victorious pose on a rock as there was nothing else to see, and we descended after less than 5 minutes up there.
The mountain looked very beautiful when we had got down the steep descent to the foothills, with misty clouds moving rapidly across it. Waterfall Valley also looked lovely down below and as the clouds broke we saw a spectacular rainbow across the valley.
We got back to the overland track at 4.20 and into more pleasant weather although still very cool. When we got close to Kitchen Hut at about 5.25 we met an Austrian lad, lightly dressed and shod, carrying only a video camera about to head up to Cradle Mountain which was also in cloud.
When we got to the junction of Marion's Lookout track and Horse Track we decided to return via the Horse Track. That was at 5.45. We followed the track, deviating briefly up Crater Mountain for views over Crater Lake. Then we started to descend until we got to just past the Scouts Hut on the left and took a track to the right towards Crater Falls. A lovely area.
We continued the climb past the falls to reach Crater Lake and turned left to go towards Wombat Pool, continuing a steady climb. We heard voices and found it was our Austrian friend who had come down and was practicing his yodelling and echoes. We continued on over Wombat Peak and saw an alternative route up to Marion's Lookout (from where our Austrian Yodeler had come down), we went left and down to Wombat Pool which was lovely in the fading light.
The track then proceeded through some rainforest and passed by Lake Lilla and after some more rainforest, we eventually came out along the Dove Lake track and back to the car park at 8pm, still in daylight. We felt good after over 9 hours on the track. A very satisfying day in spectacular surroundings.
If we had returned via Marion's Lookout the walk would have been an hour and a quarter shorter

Clumner Bluff Walk

Marian Harradine Posted on 2006-04-13
Times taken: 7 hours
Start to summit: 3 hours 45 minutes.
Summit to Car: 3 hours and 10 minutes

I had been keen to climb Clumner Bluff ever since we climbed up to the Walls of Jerusalem, as it looks quite striking from there. We had wanted to climb it when we were at Lake Rowallan in April, but could not find the start of the track. We had another look when we were in the area in July and found it that time.
To get to the start of the walk, turn into Dublin Plains Road, turn into the second track on the right, (Clumner Spur1), travel 2.2 km along this road at which point there should be a cairn on the right hand side against the side bank of the road. You have to look pretty carefully as it is not very obvious.
We parked the car there and left at 10.33. The beginning of the walk is a bit vague, but it soon becomes obvious that the track follows an old logging track, now covered with new scrub. Not far from the road a faded ribbon on a bush encourages one to assume that this is the track.
We walked along this track for about 10 minutes, before it becomes just a rough cairned route. Then the track veers off to the right in a south westerly direction and then gradually goes south. It becomes rougher and the occasional cairn and ribbons are not always easy to see, but they are there if one perseveres. We hung a few more markers which we found helpful on out return.
After 35 minutes of gradual climbing, the track starts to climb more steeply and starts to become more rocky. As we got higher the track became more rocky and at 11.40 we came to the end of the bush and the start of a boulder covered slope which had to be crossed to gain access to the plateau.
It was very windy and exposed up on the boulders and some bushfires burning in the vicinity down lower, on the other side of Lake Rowallan, were causing poor visibility at times. There are cairns on the boulders to show a route, but not always easy to see, especially in the smoke. It did not help that cairns sometimes had been put in more than one direction! We usually enjoy boulder hopping but were glad to get to the end of it.
It took us one and a half hours to climb the boulders and the last hop up on to the plateau was at 1.10. We expected the top of the bluff to be nearby, but saw it in the distance south of us at what I thought might be up to one hour of walking still. It looked like a true mountain from where we were, whereas from below and from the Walls of Jerusalem, it looks more like the high point of a plateau.
We had a fifteen minute break at the top of the plateau and at 1.25 we left, heading south in the direction of the Bluff. There were no tracks or cairns on the plateau so keeping the Bluff in sight we proceeded, cross country, in a direct line.
There was a lot of low scrub, rocks and the odd pool of water and soon we came to a rocky ridge which we had to ascend a bit and then descend, losing some of the height gained. Then we kept to the west of another rocky escarpment before crossing a valley to the start of climbing up to the highest point of Clumner Bluff.
I was surprised how quickly we got there, arriving at the top trig at 2.15. The views were not real good because of all the smoke, which fluctuated, but it was still worth while.
Mt Gould looked very striking to the south west, then The Guardians, The Minotaur, The Parthenon, The Acropolis, Mt Geryon behind Falling Mountain, Mt Hyperion, Mt Massif, Mt Ossa, behind Cathedral Mountain, and Mt Doris, too hazy to make out Pelion East, then Mt Thetis, Perrins Bluff, Mt Achilles, Pelion West looking magnificent, and closer were Howells Bluff and Mt Pillinger. Further north west were Barn Bluff, Mt Emmett and Cradle Mountain. There was a fair bit of snow on all of those peaks near overland track. Strangely it was too hazy to see much of the Walls of Jerusalem nearby.
I took a circle photos in the strong winds and we left again 5 minutes later.
We returned back, trying to retrace the way we came. Fifty minutes after leaving the top, at 3.10, we came back to the cairn near where the descent through the boulder field started. and we sat and had a quick snack before making our way back down. We saw a very large wedge tailed eagle not far above us.
We left the plateau at 3.20 and made much quicker time going back as we stopped looking for cairns and just descended the most direct way, keeping in our sight the general area we had come from at first and then we could see the pink ribbon I had tied to the marker stick and aimed for that. We were over the boulders and at the start of the bush by 4.15.
We had some of our lunch at that point, in a sheltered spot, and then continued on down. The track was very dry and slippery with loose stones and we had to take quite a bit of care on the way back. I received more scratches there than on any other part of the walk. We got back to the car at 5.30.
It would be a pity if the track disappeared completely as it was a very good day's walk.

Bluff River Gorge. Winter 2003

Marian Harradine Posted on 2006-04-13

The start of the walk to Bluff River Gorge is about a one hour drive from Hobart. We drove to Buckland and turned left opposite the church and continued on for another 11.56km. We parked the car beside the road and followed a bush track that ran parallel to a large paddock on the right of the road. It was the last paddock before the State Forest sign entering bush.
We walked along the track for about 5 minutes and then turned left along a more minor track which had a few ribbons on it here and there, not very well marked really and little trails headed off here and there where 4WDs had driven around the bush. After nearly half an hour from leaving the car we hit what looked like the original track again (see notes further on) and a few minutes later two ribbons tied around two trees marked the place to walk to the gorge, which was now visible through the trees ahead. A sign saying "Gorge" and an arrow pointing ahead was just below there. This marked the beginning of the gorge walk and was first and only sign we saw.

We followed the narrow track following the upper contours of the Gorge, with the Bluff River below us and the other side of the Gorge across from that. There were lovely designs and colours on the sandstone cliffs beside and above us. At times it looked like 3D fretsaw carvings on the canopy above us where the cliffs had hollowed out. The track was fairly level most of the way, rising and descending minimally. After about half an hour we descended a bit deeper so that we were in more damp and ferny bush and I thought that we were getting to the end of the gorge but it continued on.
Ten minutes later we came to an area close to a large pool of water, in the bottom of the Gorge. There was a large quantity of black netting draped around on the rock and some sticks. It looked like it had been there for years. There was also a shovel without a handle, a white plastic bucket and a roll of thin wire there. I walked down to the water and stood on a flat rock and admired the lovely reflection. I took out my camera and took a photo. While there I saw a large trout jump up to eat a fly on the surface of the water so someone must have stocked it with trout at some time.
We continued on from there, climbing up out of the gorge and eventually came to a small grassy area above the Gorge which looked like it might be a nice camping spot. It had a rough stone fireplace there and some branches next to it. The track continued on back down further along into the gorge from there. It was an hour and thirty five minutes since we left the car, about 4.30.
By this time it was really time for us to retrace our steps as we did not want to walk back in the dark and it was an hour since we started the gorge walk. I was not keen to retrace our steps as that would made us rather late. We thought that if people camped there they must be able to get to it by 4WD, so we looked for and found a vague track for a couple of minutes and then came across a track, which we thought was maybe the same track as the one that led us to the beginning of the Gorge walk.
We took note of where we were in case we wanted to come back that way one day to continue our walk where we left off or maybe even to camp there ourselves one day.
We walked along the track, following roughly the Gorge, and, sure enough, after about 12 minutes we came to the two trees with the ribbons to mark where the Gorge track started.
Continuing on along the track, rather that leaving it and following the odd pink ribbon, we eventually came to where we had turned off on the way in. Soon after that we got to the car. It had taken us 7 minutes less time coming back from the Gorge than going in, staying along the main track. And it had taken only 40 minutes to get back to the car from when we decided to return to the car.

Adamsons Falls and Creekton Falls Walk

Marian Harradine Posted on 2006-04-13
We drove two kilometres past Strathblane, (south of Dover). Turned right into Duck Hole Lake Track and followed the directions to Coal Hill Road. Turn right into Coal Hill Link Road and then right into the walking track access road (1.28km). The start of the walk is a about 14 km from the Huon Highway.
We left at 10.30 after listening to the beautiful bird songs all around us. It was then that we noticed that we could hear repeatedly, at least 5 diferent birdsongs in one unbroken line and realised that it was a lyre bird. It mimiced a black cockatoo, a wattle bird, a rosella, olive whistler, an I'llwetyou, as well as other chirps and whistles. We also noticed that the track had been well scatched and dug up by lyre birds almost everywhere along the way.
The track was easy in gradient, but needed a fair bit of care as it was very slippery and wet and also muddy in parts. There was also the regular large log across the track which needed to be crawled under or over or round. It was a damp rainforest sort of walk, manferns and cutting grass prolific and also pretty red flowering creepers and red toadstools and bright orange moss growing out of the green moss. We also came across a nest of European wasps which were swarming
We arrived at the Adamsons Falls after a gradual climb and a steeper last section at about 11.20, a fifty minute walk. We were very surprised at how high they were . There was a sign to Creekton Falls and we left for them at 11.45.
The track to Creekton falls was a little bit harder to negotiate as there were more recently fallen trees over the track, and we also had to be careful to not lose the track in parts. However it was not a particularly taxing track, following the contours beneath rocky cliffs on the whole, and was also through rainforest. We arrived at Creekton Falls at 1.05, taking one hour and 20 minutes to go no more than 2 km on the map. We were surprised again by the height of the falls, a little bit less than Adamsons falls but they could be admired from a bit further away which with the Adamsons falls we couldn't. We had lunch there and it misted over while we sat. We left at 1.30 and followed the sign to Duck Hole Track.
This was quite steep downhill for a while, alongside Creekton Creek. Eventually we crossed the creek and left it behind. The track was similar in standard to the earlier tracks, logs in need of some maintenance. After 55 minutes we were surprised to hear a duck quacking and then to see a bit of clearing with a nice new wooden bench beside a peaceful small lake. We could see no sign of the duck. This was Duck Hole Lake.
From there on the path was in pefect order, cleared and freshly covered with gravel and duckboards and little bridges. Work was still continuing but it was a good flat track. We left there at 2.25 and we got to the road at 2.55.
While we walked back to the car we heard a chain saw nearby with no sign of anyone around and wondered later if this was another example of the lyre bird's repertoire, apparently they are quite capable of it. We also saw a female lyre bird run across the road and later a male with his long plumage.
The whole walk took a little over 5 hours. Enjoyed the day very much.

April 10, 2006

Wilderness: The essence of a wild land - A Review

A photographic journey by Mark Humphries
"Even to enter a wild place with a disrespectful frame of mind is a form of violation". - Martin Hawes
"when we distroy wilderness we sever the taproots on which our society & survival depend."- Martin Hawes
Both the above quotations are excerpts from the introduction to this photographic journey of the Tasmanian wilderness. To clarify the matter, I am no expert when it comes to the wilderness or photography but I have seen my fair share of both. With my qualifications now clarified I can express my appreciation for how Mark has presented the Tasmanian wilderness in his book, 'Wilderness - The essence of a wild land'. The expressions at the outset really captured my attention and put me into a frame of mind where I could fully appreciate the beauty that Mark has captured of the Tasmanian wilderness.
Because I have experienced the Tasmanian wilderness in all its beauty I can appreciate how difficult it is to capture all its majesty in just a photo. There are some that have the rare gift to be able to capture a moment on film, these who have an acute awareness of natural beauty and its profound brilliance. Mark Humphries certainly has this ability. His book firstly prepares the disposition of the reader with two short wilderness journals, one is by Mark himself and the other by Martin Hawes (quoted above).
For me, these journals helped me to appreciate that I wasn't just about to be looking at pretty pictures but impressed upon me that these images & landscapes have the potential to affect the viewer on a very profound level.
I found Mark's photography to be fresh and original. Several pages in the book are dedicated to detailed close ups of ice, bark and flora. The detail captured in these is remarkable. In this way, Mark's photography can leave you awe struck by not only the colourful and varying landscapes but also from the finite detail found in the smallest of areas within them.
The presentation of the compilation is contemporary & well thought out. All of the photos have been carefully labelled with names and places, providing the viewer with all the information they need.
Another appealing factor about Mark's composition is that it is not oversized and the content is visually exciting from the beginning to the end. Its size is perfect so that it is not uncomfortable to flick through, it is also the perfect size for mailing to a friend or family member.
I was very impressed by the originality of this book's style and format, it is not bulky and uncomfortable to read and most of all it takes the viewer on a fantastic and exciting journey through some of Tasmania's prime wilderness. I recommend it to anyone who has an appreciation for the Tasmanian wilderness, order it online now at oliveimaging.com.

April 7, 2006

Wineglass Bay Lookout

Jay Fraser

Details

  • What: Wineglass Bay Lookout Walk.
  • Duration: 1.5 hrs / 3 km Return
  • Where: Freycinet National Park, Coles bay, East Coast Tasmania.
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy/Medium Climbing, Good Track.
  • Other Options: (Time/Distance from starting point)
  • To Wineglass Bay via Lookout. 3-5 hrs return.
  • To Wineglass Bay via Isthmus Track Circuit. 4-5 hrs / 9.5km return.
  • Summit Mt. Amos via Lookout. 3 hrs / 4km return.
  • Cooks Corner - Hazards track to Hazards Beach, Peninsula Track to Cook's Beach. 8hrs / 20km return.
  • Peninsula Track - Recommended over-night walk from Wineglass Bay up to Mt Graham (580m), along Hazards Beach around Mt Mayson. 10-11 hrs / 30km return.

A Returning Beauty

I had walked this track at least twice before, once about four years ago and another time as a young teenager. Both times I had been with a group and we had walked right down to Wineglass Bay itself, this adds approximately another two hours return, at a steady pace. If you have the time - and the energy - it is well worth the extra couple of hours walking to get right down onto the beach. A couple of occasions, when I had done the walk previous, we actually carried in a packed lunch and had a picnic down on the beach. Of course, if you do carry in food and drink be sure to carry any left overs and packaging out with you!

Getting There

The walk starts from the National Park car park. The park starts not far from the actual town of Coles Bay, in fact it is just around the bay. The easiest way to find the park is to head for Coles Bay, located on Tasmania's East Coast, then follow the signs to Freycinet Lodge. The park's entrance is just along the road from the lodge. As at the writing of this article Freycinet Lodge is one of only three resorts inside the boundaries of the National Park.

The Walk

The track is of substantial width and has many wider points perfect for the well earned rest or for pulling over to let those annoyingly quick walkers go past. On the walk this time where several senior walkers in high spirits!
Along the track are several information signs containing useful tit-bits on some of the local flora and other significant landscape items. One that I remember vivadly is a large rock encountered on the track that has a hollow carved out of its lower side, it looks somewhat like a small cave.
Ascending the saddle, the view on the Coles Bay side is a very enjoyable revelation. Its view is also another good excuse for a well earned drink break. This track is a very popular Tasmanian day walk. Naturally then, if you do this walk, you can expect to be sharing the track with fellow explorers. We found it a great experience to walk along and share brief banter and uplifting comments from passers by. The overall vibe on the track was very positive and I would suggest that it would be impossible for it not to be, simply because of the awe inspiring beauty of the place.
I could confidently say that this is the best short walk I have done in Tasmania. It is a relatively easy walk, the major difficulty factor is the steep incline of the track, however it is easily managed by resting along the way to take in the awesome views or read about some of the local flora or landscapes on the information boards provided.



Mt Solitary - A Day Trip

Brendan Young 




Crossing the water

We awoke early to fine weather and looking out the tent door, I smiled at the sight of the millpond appearance of the lake. It was so different from our journey across from Scotts Peak Dam just a few days before. We pushed off from the sandy shore a little before 8am. and headed for the first of the Barrier Islands. Had it been windy, these two islands would have afforded great protection during the paddle across to Mt. Solitary. As it was, we weren't in need of any assistance at all. As our blades cut through the still water and we observed the picture postcard scene around us, we spared a thought for all our friends and other poor souls, heading off to work in the early morning traffic for another day of toil amidst the concrete jungle of the city.

Approaching Mt Solitary in our kayaks.

Maurice was undertaking his second ascent of Solitary, making him our navigator for the day. We were going to try and ascend the steep southern ridge that dropped almost directly from the summit. Five years before he’d made a rapid descent of this route with Samuel and David and was fairly sure we wouldn’t come across anything we couldn’t scramble up. The day was already warming up as we pulled ashore beneath the climbing ridge after an hour of pleasant paddling.
Snakes? and ridges
My buoyant mood dropped a little when I discovered my first aid kit was full of water, courtesy of my leaky kayak and a protective plastic bag I hadn’t realised was badly holed. I left it on the shore to dry as we set out for the ridge through low but dense scrub. My immediate thoughts turned to reptiles. It was late February, the day was warm, and I’d heard that snakes were abundant on this island peak. So I did the only honourable thing and let Maurice lead the way to the base of the ridge. He found a way through one particularly scrubby gully before the climb began in earnest.
We made good progress upwards through light scrub until the odd rock was encountered. In time, we found ourselves climbing predominantly on rock and the effort of finding a suitable route was absorbing.
A ten minute rest about half-way up allowed us to take in the spectacular view beneath us and to strip off some excess clothing. Maurice recalled a conversation he’d had on his previous descent of this ridge. David, then about 19, had asked Maurice how old he was. Maurice had replied, ‘I’ve just turned 40.’ Dave had been surprised that Maurice was so old and had commended him on how well he was travelling, concluding ‘I hope I’m still going that well when I get to be 40!’ The irony of that conversation was not lost on us now as we contemplated the facts. Maurice was still going strong at 45, I’d just turned 40 myself, while Dave at 24 had endured two failed knee operations and was now very limited in the walking he was able to do. With a renewed appreciation for our health and fitness we continued our climb. Some interesting rock scrambling ensued and our chosen routes diverged slightly with Maurice sticking to the ridge crest while I cut across some of the gullies lower down.
The summit
I was slightly in the lead when our climbing ridge converged with the main east/west summit ridge about a 100 metres from the top. As I reached the penultimate knob on the ridge I looked at my watch and saw we’d been climbing up for one hour fifty eight minutes. I took off at a gallop for the top and managed to just achieve my goal of a two hour ascent. Maurice photographed me beside the trig from the lower knob and then came across to join me on the summit.
Around us was a grandstand view of our much-loved south west. The view was full of countless mountains that I’d climbed, bringing back lots of pleasant memories of companions and adventures long since past. The sun was out, the water of the lake was calm and the mountains looked friendly and benign - Only later would be told that this very day a man would fall to his death on the most prominent mountain in our view, Mt Anne - My eye was drawn to the expanse of the lake just to the north of Mt Solitary. As I looked down on the massive sheet of water I tried to imagine what I would have been seeing some thirty three or more years before. A white sandy beach that stretched a distance of three kilometres from the Coronets to the Franklands. Despite a pang of regret I couldn’t deny that what I was seeing was still truly magnificent. As we snapped some photos we commented on how good a video camera would have been so as to be able to pan across and capture the full 360 degree view. Where was Jay when he was needed?
After sharing our lunch with the ubiquitous march flies, we set off on our descent. Maurice had mentioned that he and the two young guys had descended in one and a half hours on the previous occasion. Nothing was said, but I liked the idea of seeing if we two old guys could match that pace. Our descent went well, despite the heat and a bit of unplanned bush-bashing at the base of the ridge, and we surprised ourselves by reaching the kayaks in just one hour and seventeen minutes.
Twenty minutes later and we were back on the water for the journey back to camp. We paddled down the south-eastern side of the Barrier Islands for a bit of variety and made good progress, arriving back at our camp beneath Mt. James Brown in just over three-quarters of an hour. It had been a great day! I’d managed to achieve a long sort after goal and to put into place one more piece of the spectacular jigsaw that makes up South-West Tasmania. 
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