Friday, 26 August 2016

Arthurs Lake

26th August 2016

Mt Penny West
Mt Patrick

I met Dad in Longford and we proceeded to drive up to the sleepy highland village of Wilburville to collect the gate key for Mt Patrick from the landowner, Ingrid (and her happy and well fed Jack Russell, Babe). We then drove a few kilometers further up the Arthurs Lake road before pulling over at a suitable point to stroll the 300m up Mt Penny West. Easily one of the most diminutive little Abels going, it took us around 30 minutes of easy slow walking through classic highland scrub to get to the summit. We found a surprisingly large cairn on top and had views better than could be expected! Points of interest included the nearby Halfpenny, Mt Patrick, Sandbanks Tier, and Parson and Clerk. We enjoyed the summit in the sun for half an hour before strolling back to the cars.

Halfpenny through the trees.

Dad was super pumped about all the wicked rock-wall building rocks... 

That is the summit of an Abel up there... 

Sitting on the huge summit cairn of Mt Penny West!

Dad loving summits in the sun.
Beautiful Snow Gum.
DANGEROUS snakes and spiders!

Once at the vehicles, we headed through the first of 2 locked gates that we used the keys on. After around 6km of driving we arrived at a third gate that Ingrid told us was a great starting point for the walk up Mt Patrick. We followed the road for a short while before making a bee line for the nearby summit (Only around 500m from the road). The walking was more pleasant than Mt Penny West, as it was mostly on scree and very open forest. No scrub at all. The summit was well forested though and view from the small summit cairn was not as good as our previous Abel. Again, half an hour was spent on top before walking back down. Coffee in Longford called. It was a really fun day out to a few obscure little peaks.

That is Mt Patrick!

Good sign.

Some scree going up...

The beautiful colours of a Hakea nut.

Dad appreciating the teeny summit cairn.

Going down with a view to Mt Penny West.

107 left.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Cradle Country Volume 1

21st - 23rd August 2016

Mt Beecroft
Brewery Knob
Mt Roland

Day 1
I left home nice and early to drive to the Vale of Belvoir. The forecast was looking quite good, but when I got into the high country I ran into patchy rain and snow. The sun occasionally poked its head out, so it wasn't all doom and gloom. I parked on the side of the road where the Penguin to Cradle Trail (PCT) crosses the Belvoir Road, and headed south along the path towards Mt Beecroft. The walking was pleasant and open, although the clouds had gathered thickly and I didn't get much of a view. After an hour of following the PCT, I arrived at the junction where a surprisingly well formed pad lead up Mt Beecroft. Winding through small patches of snow gums and thick shin high scrub, I more or less followed the path all the way to the top. The summit trig point is right on top of a fantastic looking stack of conglomerate rock, making for a fun scramble up. On my way down the view improved, and when I was on the PCT again the clouds lifted completely and gave me a wonderful vista to walk with. When I got to the car, I headed for the Cradle Visitor Center for coffee and planning of the next destination...

Ah, the PCT...

Belvoir Road in the Buttongrass.

Mt Beecroft is actually right there in that big cloud.

The summit of Mt Beecroft.

A rusty trig point.

Mt Beecroft in all its glory.

After waiting out another large snow flurry in the warmth of the visitor center I decided to do the short walk to Brewery Knob, just off the Hounslow Heath track. The walk out of Waldheim was short and lovely, through thick King Billy and Fagus forest. When I arrived on top of the heath I was in deep snow, just in time for more poor weather to envelop me. The snow continued to fall all the way along the ridge-line to the top of Brewery Knob, where I did get a small window of semi-fine weather to enjoy the summit. The walk back down off the ridge was very overgrown and covered in thick snow, but once in the valley below the walk back to Waldheim was wonderful. Lots of Pandani and Snow Gums to marvel at. Once I was back at the car I drove to a campsite just near Wilmot, on the edge of Lake Barrington to spend the evening.

Hounslow Heath here I come!

Such rainforest.

Up on the heath, in my 5 minutes of sunshine!

The summit of Brewery Knob.

Short shorts in the summit snow.

Brewery Knob in the sun.

Frozen tarn on Hounslow Heath.

Day 2
I packed up my camp and drove half an hour to the Leven River car-park to attempt Black Bluff. The weather was okay, but the summit looked shrouded in cloud. I had a bash anyway, as it is a fairly easy and short walk up onto the range. I ended up getting all the way to the trig point. The trig on Black Bluff isn't the true summit though! That lies about 1km off track to the south west of the trig. So off I strode, only to be caught in what can only be described as a blizzard. I waited it out for a little while, but as the storm raged on and I got colder, the safer bet was to head back down. Black Bluff remains untamed by this Abel Climber...

I drove to my grandparents place out near Sheffield, fixing a punctured tyre on the way there (not my lucky day it seems...) and had a lovely evening at their place.

Frosty morning at Wilmot.

Mitze the adorable pooch!

Day 3
After a yummy breakfast with Nan-Gillie and Granddad, I drove the short distance to the Mt Roland walking track. I decided to go up the Kings Road route, because it is nicer (and steeper...) than the other option via Gowrie Park. The day felt like spring, warm, the smell of flowers, and the song of birds looking for a mate; all in all a great day for a walk. The track up Mt Roland is quite splendid, passing through a thick band of Eucalyptus studded with large boulders, before going through a steep chute between two towering cliff faces. The rocky chute is much damper, so has Sassafrass, Myrtle, and many ferns. Soon I was on the summit plateau and only 15 minutes from the top. I enjoyed walking through large piles of boulders and the occasional glimpse off the cliff edge towards Sheffield. At the top I enjoyed a lunch packed by Nan-Gillie, and even had a little friend trying to get a few crumbs! I think it was an antechinus, but please mention if it's something else as I'm not the best at identifying rodents!

On the road to Mt Roland.

Common Heath looking lovely.

The craggy spires of Mt Roland.

Where's my climbing gear!?

The trig.

On the summit of Mt Roland, looking towards Cradle Country.

My little friend.

109 left.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Ragged Jack

11th August 2016

Ragged Jack

Easily one of the most 'fully sick' named Abels, Ragged Jack is a towering peak just west of the Ben Lomond massif. I followed the directions to the trail as my Abels volume 1 book describes and trotted off up an old fire trail which follows the River O'Plain Creek. After 15 minutes the creek had to be crossed, and due to recent rains it was boots off time; chilly! I followed the fire trail for a further 15 minutes or so before finding the marked path up Ragged Jack spurring off uphill. I was soon in the snowline and it seemed as though there was a few inches of fresh powder that had fallen overnight, making everything look rather magical. The snow was starting to melt in the sun though, which made for wet going.

It wasn't long before I had left the tree line behind, poking out onto an open scree field. The fog was thick in the peaks, but after waiting no more than 2 minutes it started to lift and left me with a clear view of the summit, surrounded by blue skies! I made a beeline for the summit ridge, walking up some relatively steep scree but making quick progress. A Wedge Tail Eagle was soaring just above me, adding to the delightful walking. It wasn't long before I was on top, enjoying the crisp snow and fresh winds. After pulling my lunch out of my bag I discovered that I had actually remembered to pack my new micro spike crampons (stroke of luck, because they proved very handy on the way back down). I enjoyed the summit for 30 minutes or so before deciding to get out of the wind and make my way back to the car.

Vibrant Eucalyptus.

Can you spot the Pokeball in the forest?

Frosty fingers.

Looking out over Blessington.

... Mum wanted me to add this one in...

The summit ridge wrapped in Winter's embrace.

A very rewarding view from the summit, looking towards Mensa Moor.

Dem micro spikes (y).

112 left.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Ironstone Mountain

7th August 2016

Ironstone Mountain

After spending a night at a friend's place at Jackeys Marsh, I went up Ironstone early in the day with another mate and previous Abel companion, Bert. We headed off up Smoko Road to the start of the walking trail and stormed off fueled on hot food from the Meander Post Office. After around 20 minutes we reached the turn off to Mother Cummings Peak, and went the other direction to keep following Smoko Creek up onto the plateau.

I was not prepared for how gorgeous this walk would be. Easily some of the most beautiful Myrtle forest I've walked in, tall trees with minimal undergrowth, mostly ferns. The stand out feature was the creek itself, featuring many beautiful cascades (including Chasm Falls), crystal clear water, and a mind blowing crevasse in the creek bed that was about 12m deep, 1m wide and filled with churning aquamarine water. After around one and a half hours we reached the plateau and immediately lost the marked (presumably cairned up there) track. The snow was a bit too deep to keep them visible, so we bashed our way up to the high summit plateau. That took us around an hour, but was good fun if a little slow going.

Once on the high plateau, we had to walk a few hundred meters to the actual summit of Ironstone, a trip that on the way back we donned snow shoes for. The summit view was beautiful, especially the outlook to the snow capped Overland mountains. We ate some oranges and then started our descent back to the car, charging off at quite a pace. It was a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday. Thanks Bert!

On the right track.

One of the many unnamed falls on Smoko Creek.

Chasm Falls.

The crevasse.

Bert trudging through the white stuff.

Atop beautiful Ironstone!

These are good fun.

113 left.