June 8, 2006

Knights Creek Trail to the Big Bend.

Marian Harradine 
We drove up Tolosa Street as far as the street closure.
We were going to walk up to the Big Bend Trail via Knights Creek Trail. These 4WD trails had been forged through the Mount Wellington area after the 1967 bushfires
We left the car at 3.40 and walked for 15 minutes up the road which soon became a dirt track, when we came to a bend in the road with two tracks leading off to the left, one going off behind us and the other angling off to the left. A few meters further on, we took a right hand track which descends rather steeply across a small creek and then ascends steeply up a spur to where it joined Knights Creek Trail. There were mountain bike races on where we were walking and we kept out of their way. We got to a fork in the track going back towards Knights Creek dam, where the cyclists were riding from, and continued on the steep climb going up the spur. Soon after that it veered north for a while before going west again and continuing steeply up.
At 4.13 we descended for about 5 minutes before resuming the steep climbing. We eventually reached the top of a spur with a bit of a view at 4.43. We followed the track further up for a couple of minutes, which took us to the top of a shoulder and then we descended again for about 3 minutes. The bush around us during most of the ascent was really lovely, trees looking healthy and shrubs and bushes flowering. Birds were also ever present.
Then it was climbing up again and at about 5.05 we came to a section of the track that was very badly eroded, impassable to vehicles. This went on for a hundred meters or more. There has been work on the track further down and further up too but this certainly needs some major work.
The track levelled out at about 5.15 and within a couple of minutes we came to a creek, which was very different from what it looked like when we were up here about 8 years ago. A bulldozer had flattened the shady trees and ferns that were around it and now it was a large rocky expanse of track under which the creek ran.
Soon after that, at 5.21 we reached the Big Bend Trail. After a few minutes rest and a drink we continued on, turning left, towards the Big Bend. It was still very steep and a rough and rocky track. It was very pretty though, with waratahs flowering and lots of other white and orange blossoms everywhere. There was a big flock of noisy currawongs too.
After about ten minutes of climbing we saw Tom Thumb, a rocky feature, ahead of us looking very high, We came across the cairns to the start of the walk up to Tom Thumb 8 minutes later at 5.40. If we had trousers on we would have gone up there, but we decided to save our legs from scratches and leave it for now.
The road levelled out a bit for about 10 minutes and then we had another 30 minutes of steep climbing. There were good views down below to Glenorchy and later to other suburbs and the Derwent. We also saw the cairns to the Collins Bonnet walk. That track goes along the north side of Thark Ridge and Collins Bonnet track goes a little way on it before heading over towards Mt Connection.
About 5 minutes from the Big Bend the road levelled out again and we saw the cairns marking the track to the hut on Mt Arthur's' northern side, which we had seen earlier. We arrived at the Big Bend at 6.20. We had climbed up 1000 meters. We also noticed how much the trees had grown in 7 years, in the kilometer before the Big Bend. It was then just an open area with low shrubs and trees, now it was more like young bush.
We left to return at 6.25 and noticed the great views of mountains to the north of the state. Tom Thumb wasn't looking so high from there either. By this time it was a bit misty between us and the views below to the east.
We made good time coming down, arriving back at the Knights Creek Trail junction at 7.05, 40 minutes down as against 55 minutes up.
We got back to the Tolosa St upper road at 8.05 and back to the car at 8.22. A very enjoyable walk in nice bush, in spite of its steep terrain. We were happy that we had left it till later in the day when it was cooler, although climbing up in the sun was pretty warm for the first hour or so.
It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get up to the Big Bend, and just under two hours to return.
It is interesting to see how the mountain is recovering from the 1967 bushfires.

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