Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Parson and Clerk

24th May 2016

Parson and Clerk

This little climbed mountain sits a few kilometres east of Arthurs Lake, but the described route comes from the farmland areas to the south of the peak on Lake River Road. I left Launceston at 8am after picking up Nick, who would accompany me on this walk. The drive out took 50 minutes and we left the car at a boom gate. We walked down the road a further 300m or so until we got to Woods Creek, where we then forged our way up the hill.We had to climb 700m in altitude to the summit, mostly through light to medium gum forest with many slippery rocks underfoot. A bit over 2 hours in, we reached the summit ridge which was a series of small scrubby knolls, making for slow going until the summit was reached just under 3 hours from the car. The weather had been rather gloomy, even showering us in a little snow at one point, but it cleared for the time we spent at the summit. After a chilly 20 minutes on top enjoying the view, we headed back to the car. More or less back tracking the way down in 2.5 hours. An enjoyable walk, but not one I'll be itching to do again!

BOOM! Gate.

We saw so many CCTV cameras in this forest...

Typical walking terrain.

Nick approaching the summit.

Old summit cairn on Parson and Clerk.

A very voluptuous Eucalyptus.

Some sweet little fungi.

119 left.


Friday, 20 May 2016

North-East Big Day Out

20th May 2016

Mt Albert
Mt Saddleback
Ben Nevis

Gotta love a 3 Abel day! I had planned to do these 3 as an overnight trip, but as you will read, my plans changed!

I left home around 8am and drove toward Ringarooma to get to my first Abel of the day. Mt Albert sits only a stones-throw south-east of Mt Victoria, which I climbed just a week prior. According to my Abels volume 1 book, the road access was cut off at a downed bridge. But it had since been fixed and the road is lovely. The book also states that there is no real track up Albert, so I was prepared for a bit of fun scrub bashing. I was walking by 10:30am after parking my car on the side of the road with a view of the peak. Straight into thick cutting grass and tea-tree scrub for a short 50m or so, and then it opened out into less dense scrub. Within 10 minutes I was waist deep in ferns and plodding uphill in a beautiful forest. About 45 minutes after leaving the car I had gained a lot of altitude and the vegetation was turning alpine. All of a sudden I found myself on a path, standing next to a cairn... Odd... I believed there was no track; oh well! The path was a blessing and within 10 minutes I was on the summit. A great view from the top, one that I think is one of the better in the region and I much preferred it than Victoria. I sat around on the small summit for half an hour before hooning down to the car. The walk down the path only took me about 20 minutes and I emerged onto the road laughably close to where I parked my car, if only I had driven an extra 50 metres I would have seen it!

You can just make out Mt Albert behind the gums.

Beautiful fern glade.

My new scrub gloves went for their debut.

Looking to Victoria, from her husband; Albert.

Hakea shaped by the wind.

Look how close to the path my car was!!

I had thought Albert would take me longer, so I started to re-assess my plan. I might be able to get all 3 done today! I jumped in the car and drove back onto the Mathinna Plains Road, to get to the access for Mt Saddleback. 20 minutes later I had boots back on and was walking on the well defined path up Saddleback. The walk was wonderful, starting in a rocky area covered with daisy bush and native rosemary. Soon a very steep section in the path was reached that was loose underfoot, so I took a bit more care going up as I didn't want to go down just yet! After the steep push the summit ridge was abruptly obtained. The path had little pools of water from the recent rains, and they were still frozen over from the cold nights. I had fun crushing ice under my feet as I walked towards the very impressive summit cairn. Once on top I had some food and read the Abel book information about Ben Nevis. Judging by the time I was going to be able to do that one too! A lazy 30 minutes was spend in the calm weather on top of the cairn as I watched the smoke rising from a forestry burn off. Time to head back down for another adventure!

... Not the best sign, but it gets the point across.


The climb up Saddleback, looking towards Mt Albert.

This guy looks fun...

Beautiful late bloom.

Alpine ice.

Impressive summit cairn of Mt Saddleback.

The way to Ben Nevis had me driving on roads I'd never taken before. I love exploring new parts of Tassie! The road was surprisingly good and a quick way from Blessington to the north-east. I found the road to the Ben Nevis walking track, marked by a small cairn. The road was more like a stream as water poured down it and eventually I found the start of the walking track (dictated by a very old piece of yellow tape - I thought this walk would have been more popular?) The walk was very scrubby, with overgrown ferns and mountain berries across the path in many places. After 30 minutes of uphill, the path leveled out to a gentle climb through alpine vegetation as the plateau was reached. The sun was casting a golden light on the rocks making for a very beautiful experience. 20 minutes later I reached the summit and the trig point that sits on it. The view was good, but a little bright with the sun getting low on the horizon and the smoke from the nearby forestry fire. I only spent 15 minutes on top, as I wanted to make sure I still had daylight for the start of my drive home. Ben Nevis is a great mountain, and one I will happily go up many more times in the future. It had my favourite summit of the day; Albert had my favourite view; and Saddleback was my favourite walk overall. A very good day!

Ben Nevis here I come.

Pink Mountain Berry... Pretty, and prickly!

The northern tor of Ben Nevis.

Alpine Tasmania.

The trig point and the golden glow.

Trig point on Ben Nevis.

The grand Ben Lomond Plateau.

Mt Saddleback, Mt Albert, and Mt Victoria from Ben Nevis.

120 left.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Mt Victoria

11th May 2016

Mt Victoria

I set off with high hopes of a 3 Abel day. It had unfortunately been a while since I had gotten up any Abels, due to being busy finishing the guiding season at the Bay of Fires and then a spate of rainy (but wonderful) weather. The outlook was supposed to be pretty calm for the next 48 hours, so I jumped on it.

I drove out passed Ringarooma to get to the high plains above the village that hosts 3 Abels, Mt Victoria, Mt Albert and Mt Saddleback. I arrived at the Mt Victoria car park first and jumped out ready for adventure. The wind started to pick up as I strode off into the scrubby start of the track, but my spirits were high. The path soon opens up onto a grand Myrtle forest with many manferns and fungi to enjoy along the way. After 10 minutes or so the rainforest is left behind and a heathy alpine section is reached (last time I was up Mt Victoria I didn't have gaiters, I didn't make that mistake this time). Minimal scratches were obtained. After a short time in the heath the track reaches a boulder field where a lot of vertical distance is gained. The wind was really starting to pick up by this point and dark clouds were gathering... Not too long after reaching the rocks I was fast approaching the summit; a fun little scramble to a trig point with good views across the north-east corner of the state. A lot of the peaks to my west were shrouded in heavy cloud, and the wind increased in pace as I sat sheltered in a rocky outcrop. I hung about on top for 25 minutes before stumbling down. I was being buffeted by the wind a lot by this point, and took a few falls. It took me longer to descend the mountain than it did to climb up, and by the time I was back at my car the weather had really come in. Rain started to fall as I turned the radio on just in time to catch a weather update - severe wind warnings for the North-East. Great... I cancelled my plans to climb the other 2 mountains. I'll be back.

Mt Victoria is a great little climb and a wonderful day out especially is you involve a visit to nearby Ralph Falls.

The beast that is Mt Victoria.

Pretty forest.

Wading through some scrubby patches.

The summit is in sight (on the left!)

A very windy experience on top of Victoria.

Rainforest on the way down.

Happy little fungi.

123 left.