29 November – 1 December 2013
Whilst making plans for a walk to Mount Pillinger we discovered there was a geocache on top and one also at the not too distant Lake McCoy, so we decided to incorporate both destinations in the walk.
After driving from Hobart we came to a halt due to humped dirt over the Arm River Road and a ditch behind. Following a backtrack to the Maggs junction, we followed that road to Maggs Spur 17. Fortunately we had plenty of time available and arrived at Lake McCoy to camp for two nights.
The track into Lake McCoy is generally obvious and follows a long narrow valley, much of it open after the initial climb up through the dry forest. Quite a lot of Coral Fern is present then deep sphagnum at the lake. Just before the high point of the valley we missed the pad but picked it up easily on the way back.
On the middle day we set out for Mount Pillinger, although a wrong assumption took us on a taped and cairned route to the cliff edge. The wrong assumption was that this would cross one of the clear valleys marked on the map. As a result we had a longer route to the top of Pillinger than anticipated.
After negotiating a hillside with some small cliffs a scrubby plateau was reached before breaking out into a delightful valley. It provided good views to the Cathedral peaks and was lined by Pencil Pines with several creeks and pools. Eventually this valley turned and we could at last see Mount Pillinger ahead. On the small climb out of it we encountered scrub, but as discovered when looking back from the top of Pillinger we had missed a very narrow clear valley leading to another wide one. Needless to say we returned by that route.
The climb up to meet the summit track also had scrub but again with aid of views from up high we had a slightly easier way back. Whilst gazing at the summit we heard a call and noticed a Wedge Tailed Eagle circling it and what appeared to be a person up there. On arrival there was in fact another walker and a very friendly one at that. Our only problem was that he was sitting where the geocache was located, so we had lunch and waited for him to depart. On reading the cache log we realised that our fellow walker had also signed it.
Even though the return route was easier it had its share of scrub in the part before Lake McCoy. One of the intriguing things seen on the way was a clearly marked pad that appeared to come from the NE direction then turn and seemed to lead towards the Pillinger summit. It was fairly old, had stakes and there was sawn timber beside the track. Where it came from would be very interesting to know.
The early morning of the final day was still and sunny until mist rolled in close on 8AM and visibility gradually dropped markedly. It gradually cleared and bit by bit the day became clearer and warmer.
Cathedral , Lees Paddocks and Pelions
Clicking here for a photo album. The slide show below may not work on an ipad.
Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, cliffs, flora, hiking, McCoy, outdoors, Pillinger, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness
Thursday 21 November 2013
Originally we were going to walk elsewhere but the weather forecast persuaded us that a circuit of Mount Direction, Madmans Hill and Gunners Quoin would allow is to cut the day short when and if the predicted rain arrived. After the climb to Direction, where mist was rolling in, it was down to an open plateau that was followed north to Madmans Hill. At this point it looked like conditions would deteriorate, from the occasional drizzle we were experiencing, and the walk was changed to return via Saggy Flats.
Kids cubby on slopes of Mount Direction
Old gum that now looks to be dead on eastern peak of Direction
Teucrium corymbosum on summit of Madmans Hill
We were back at the cars at 2:40 pm and were just driving off when the rain arrived.
Mount Direction had been subjected to a burn off several months ago, but it looked to us that the fire was too intense, with lots of old trees having been so badly effected that they had fallen over. Some spots had deep ash from the fire.
Trees down following burn off on slopes of Mount Direction
Wed 30 October – Fri 1 November
The delightfully blue sky that we had seen all morning changed to grey drizzly looking as the Cradle area got close and stayed that way for the remainder of the day.
Pre-trip information suggested that after a section of buttongrass it should be pleasant walking, with just a bit of scrub on the last part getting to the top of Mount Remus. However we discovered that the buttongrass went on for longer than we envisaged and the scrub covered a longer section and was thicker than expected.
Both Neville and I had been to Reynolds Falls Many years ago and recalled following a very distinct vehicle track over the initial part of the walk until entering the forest. On arriving at the sign at the walk start indicating that this was the way to the falls we were stumped by the seeing only open buttongrass moor with the old vehicle track not anywhere to be seen. Prior to this when we reached the sign pointing to Reynolds Falls and also the Penguin to Cradle track, we reread the notes and although things did not precisely match up the logical way seemed to be to take the falls way.
Once out on the moor we followed a staked track to a lunch spot at Carter Tarn where we could get some shelter from the strong wind. The staked track was followed for a short while longer before it became apparent that it wasn’t going to take us in the right direction. The stakes it would seem are there to mark the Pencil Pine track. In reducing visibility the GPS was used to aid in crossing the buttongrass moor to finally reach the remnants of the old mining bombardier track.
True to the notes this old track was a bit obscure amongst the buttongrass at times and as height was gained so did the exposure to the wind that was now driving a heavy drizzle at us. Low scrub mostly below calf height was now dominant and the thought of where a suitable camp might be found was occupying our minds. Fortunately a hollow protected by a ridge provided several spots on pineapple grass and coral fern. It was only 3PM but we were all quite pleased to be in our tents and out of the elements.
Frequent showers prevailed overnight but had stopped by morning as had the strength of the wind. Gradually the day became nicer as cloud lessened and more blue sky appeared. The climb over the ridge from our camp and down the other side brought us to a pool with good tent spots just 600 metres on; however we weren’t aware of that the previous day. Back Peak was saved for the return leg and the steady but gentle ascent to Recondite completed. At this point my GPS suggested that Mount Remus was the plateau to our left, until I realised that the GPS settings had got altered and the GPS was set to point north rather than the target. So Remus was in fact the peak that we had looked at but thought it was too far off to be it.
Beyond the top of Recondite Michael located a continuation of the track through scrub, but soon the end was reached and it was discovered that there was quite a bit of scrub to negotiate and even on the crest to Remus summit it was shoulder high in places. We managed an easier way back up to Recondite but even so it was way short of the easy stroll expected. The descent from there to the point below Back Peak was a heck of a lot longer than we had remembered, but getting to the Back summit was fairly quick and simple. We had left camp that morning at 8:25AM and were back at 5:20PM, so we had taken a good chunk of the day.
Our final day was reasonably leisurely with several stops to enjoy the area in the warm, calm conditions. Although we spent 4 hours getting back to the car, it entailed 2:20 of actual walking.
Pandani and Heap of Rocks
Posted in Back Peak, bushwalk, bushwalking, Cradle Mt, flora, hiking, outdoors, Recondite Knob, Remus, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness
Tuesday 22 October 2013
At one stage the Tuesday was the only decent forecast for the week, then it changed to being the worst with rain expected. However a couple of days later it had changed back to the best weather for the week after all.
The initial bit of the walk from Braslins Road was a steady but not steep uphill past some remnant buildings, although one the highest private bits of land looked to have recent activity. At the first junction there was debate as to which way to go, but we opted to follow where the GPS pointed and went right. It was a bit confusing as the waypoints put in the GPS had a track further to our north and where we were walking did not appear on the map. Viewing our actual track from the GPS on return home showed that the map had the track in the wrong place.
Some sections had plenty of vegetation growing in the track, but nothing too overgrown to require pushing through. There were a few boggy stretches and the one creek crossing had a rock bridge to make crossing easy. The final bush track was in reasonable condition and I only strayed from it briefly on a few occasions, with Greg quickly pointing out the correct way.
The return route was a little longer as the track on the northern side of Little Swamp was followed. The track was a bit more open and drier this way.
The walk was enjoyable and in very comfortable weather. In several sections Hakea bushes were quite dominant and flowering well and some areas had lots of tea tree.
We had to get over a few large trees down over the track, including some that looked very recent.
One of the large trees to get over – photo from Greg Bell
Unfortunately, there was also a spot where the Erica weed was growing. The rocky top of Dromedary is pleasant and there were good views; it was a good walk.
It is near enough to 7 kilometres each way and it took us 2:40 to reach the summit and 2:30 hours back.
The sign at the summit the photo on the left was taken by Greg Bell some years ago whilst the one on the right is from this walk
Hakea with Platform Peak behind.
Wednesday 3 July 2013
With a day to go to this walk, we had 5 starters. All that changed by the afternoon prior and 3 more added. Then on the morning of the walk, confusion reigned and a few hurried phone calls sorted things although not as well as could have been. Another phone call as we arrived in Harbacks Road let Neville know that we were a few minutes late. At this point we spotted Alan leaving, so we were lucky to have seen him before he reached the highway. We were all stopped beside a sign saying welcome to Woodfield, when Dave rang to ask where we were. At the entrance we said, but no you’re not said. True when we read the sign properly we did notice an arrow with an indication that the entrance was 300 metres further on.
Eventually we were all together and able to start the walk. Even that was not without a minor bit of kerfuffle when we refused entry through on of the properties. This was overcome by circling the property and then it was on to climb Barren Rock. The descent from the top came to small creek but soon after Bagdad Rivulet was met and into undisturbed bush, including a bit of thickish stuff forcing us to venture into the rivulet. It was, unsurprisingly slippery on the rocks there and by the time Barren Rock Falls was getting close some used the steep side slope as access, whilst the rest stayed within the rivulet. The final part of the day, once the falls walking track was reached, was a visit to the base of it.
All up an 8k walk taking 4:45 hours elapsed time, including breaks and lunch.
Bagdad Rivulet at the top of Barren Falls
Barren Rock Falls
Wednesday 12 June 2013
In the Chauncy Vale area there is plenty of very pleasant bushland and the walk to Butlers Hill on the southern side passes through some dry Eucalypt zones with sandstone slabs. Below all this are superb cliffs with a number of caves and overhangs.
We ascended to the top of the cliffs from the Chauncy Vale car park and wound our way along the tops until an old logging track was reached. This was followed as it contoured around a hill for a while to reach a tarn, which was quite dry. A steep climb followed to another logging track which was left for a stiff climb to the top of a wooded hill. It was here we realised that this wasn’t Butlers Hill and the map and GPS were consulted. Everything pointed to Butlers being about 500 metres to the east, however in the mist all we could see was a disappearing downhill slope. Although visually it didn’t really seem right, once an upward slope was reached we felt much more comfortable that we going in the correct direction.
Butlers Hill had an old rock cairn constructed on top and nearby a second metal one. Trees that had been cut down to make surveying possible have been replaced by new gums, making the summit views now very limited. It was 12:15 PM and we had been walking since 9:15 AM and so this seemed the obvious place for lunch.
Some old rock cairns were noticed and we followed these for a short distance then realised that they didn’t really take us on a better route back. After consulting the map on GPS it didn’t take long to cross our inward path in the saddle between the hills, but rather than retrace our steps we on down to join the old logging track. We had been following orange tapes for part of the distance and they also led in the same direction. Once at the old logging track we noticed copious orange tapes; so someone, who we reckoned might have been a walking party, was keen to make the turnoff very obvious.
During the return we came down at a gully and were able to walk under the upper cliffs for a considerable distance. This was quite fascinating with many overhangs and caves, masses of what we thought were Devil scats and several spots with the white from bird droppings from the cliffs above. I was keen to collect a geocache but as we got closer to the location the GPS indicated it was directly below us so this necessitated continuing along on the level we were on until a way could be found to get onto the walking track past the cache cave.
In all it was almost 13k walk and took 6¾ hours. The inward route was 3 hours and 5.75k whilst the return was 7k and 3¾ hours.
There is also a map at EveryTrail which if you zoom in, using the satellite or hybrid option, the ledges along the cliffs where we walked can clearly be seen.
Tuesday 11 June 2013
On a fine and partly sunny day we walked up the track from Myrtle Forest, getting wet from the bushes with the previous nights showers still cloaking them. I had been told of an exotic pine up there and when it was spotted I was most annoyed about not bringing a saw; oh well looks like another trip back there soon.
On approaching the summit Neville and John were given a brief explanation on geocaching and Neville helped find the container that was up there.
Photo at top Lunch on Collins Bonnet above Mount Connection
and below Mount Marian from Collins Bonnet summit