April 13, 2006

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


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


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.

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