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!|
|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.|
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!|
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!?|
|On the summit of Mt Roland, looking towards Cradle Country.|
|My little friend.|