Saturday, 24 September 2016

Millers Bluff

23rd September 2016

Millers Bluff

Millers is a towering peak about 20kms west of Campbell Town on the edge of the Great Western Tiers. It is situated on privately held land, but a long held negotiation between the land owner and the bushwalking community means with a little forward planning it is easy to gain access to. I rang Mr Roderick O'Connor a few days before heading up to arrange picking up the key. He didn't require any payment, so I made him and his family some brownies. They were very much appreciated!

I picked up one of my best mates, Justin (who only now makes his debut on Abel Zane), at 8am to head out on the short drive past Cressy. After picking up the key from the beautiful homestead at Connorvale and driving up Lake River Road, we found the turn off onto Millers Bluff Road and went through the first locked gate. After a few short kilometres of driving we got to the washed out bridge crossing the Lake River. Our driving stopped here. Until June, it was possible to drive most of the way up, making Millers Bluff a short 1.5 hour return walk. But now an extra 5kms of road needs to be walked. We road bashed up, enjoying the beautiful bird calls and warm breeze. After a bit over an hour we found the best route up onto the northern ridge-line, bashing up through some light scrub but soon finding ourselves on the ridge, right next to a Tas Fire Service shed. We found the roughly taped route leading off from there, and followed it further along the ridge for 40 minutes until we emerged on the summit! The summit has several service towers on top, and a fantastic view looking out to the midlands, and back along the Tiers. After lunch on the heli-pad we decided to bash off the western side, down some steep scree and back onto the road. It took a little less time than the route up, and was heaps of fun because of all the huge boulders! The whole walk took us about 6 hours, and was a great day out with a dear friend. Woo!

Millers in the cloud.

The Lake River bridge that was taken out by the flooding.

Spring has sprung!

Justin looking like he needs a Nalgene sponsorship...

Millers Bluff from atop the ridge-line.

Old newspaper in a small hut near the track.

Waratah seed pods are crazy cool things, don't-cha-thunk?

The summit of Millers, in all its beauty!

Justin having fun coming down some scree.

98 left.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Three P's.

14th - 17th September 2016

Mt Proteus
Mt Pelion East
Mt Pillinger

Day 1
I left home at very early o'clock and arrived at Dove Lake car park by 6:00am. For this walk, I would have strolled in via the Arm River track if possible, but due to the road closures in the Mersey Valley I had to walk half the Overland Track to reach the mountains I desired. But 6:30am I was walking down the Overland with a mission to reach Pine Forest Moor for the night (usually passed half way through day 2). I plugged in the iPod and smashed out down the track, enjoying the beautiful weather and quick pace. By around 1:00pm I had reached the southern end of PFM, with Mt Pelion West towering above me as I set up camp under some ancient Pencil Pines. I had some lunch and then decided that I would make most of the great weather and head to Mt Proteus.

Proteus is a seldom visited mountain that sits around 5km west of the Overland Track, it is all off track, but very simple going. Buttongrass stompin' and and large patches of open Coral Fern made for delightful walking and I reached the summit in a little under 2 hours. I was blown away with the view, taking in the Eldon range to the west, the Ossa group to my south, and the classic Overland Mountains in all other directions. After about 40 minutes on top, the wind changed to a westerly and the clouds had darkened, so I hooned back to my tent. A little over and hour and a half later I was in the tent as rain started to fall, and didn't cease all night.


Kitchen hut standing proud.

Pandani and Barn Bluff.

A cracking view to the central Overland mountains. 

Mt Pelion West.

That blip on the horizon. Yeah, that's Mt Proteus.

The summit cairn on Mt Proteus, looking to the Ossa group of mountains.

Day 2
Rain rain rain. A very wet morning and a very wet tent to pack up. I had originally planed on going up Mt Pelion West and doing the traverse along to Mt Thetis, but the weather changed my plans and I headed to Pelion Plains. After 2 hours of walking I arrived at the hut and hung out my gear to dry. I made myself at home and waited for a few hours for the weather to clear, then headed off towards Pelion Gap to climb Mt Pelion East. The walk up to the gap was as beautiful as ever, all the creeks were roaring with fresh flood waters and the tree branches drooped with moisture. From the gap Pelion East is a quick 40 minutes up, although the view wasn't great because cloud had gathered in again. The summit was very calm, but with view for this Abel climber to enjoy my visit was short lived. No matter, I've been here many times before! I walked back to Pelion Plains for the night, and enjoyed an evening of talking to happy Overland Trekkers.

Pelion hut. The mess is mine!

Rip roaring little creek heading up to the gap.
Pelion Gap! WOOO!

Mt Ossa in a shroud of cloud.

Pelion East just visible through the muck.

Spires of Dolorite.

The summit of Mt Pelion East.

Day 3
I left Pelion Plains with a day pack at 7:00am sharp and headed up the Arm River track with the aim of climbing Mt Pillinger. The walk was as good as it always is, although it was a little messy with trees and debris on the track due to the lack of people walking the track since the June flooding. After an hour and a half I had crossed Wurragarra Creek and found the track marker heading in the direction of Mt Pillinger. The walking was beautiful, a small trail through the Coral Fern and Snow Gums lead me past some still tarns and up into a gentle assent of the eastern side of Mt Pillinger. Within an hour I was sitting on the beautiful little mountain, enjoying a partial view towards Lee's Paddocks, February Plains and Lake Ayr. I got a weather update on my phone (thanks modern technology!) and found out that the weather was looking to be awful over the next 3 days, and changing for the worse later that afternoon. Again, my plans changed!

Instead of scaling Mt Oakleigh when I got back to Pelion Plains, I headed Windermere Hut and arrived just as the rain started. I spent the night getting to know some of the people at the hut, and tee'd up giving a lift for Indi and Erin (two Overlanders I met the day before) a ride home to Launceston on the next day.

Heading off on the Arm River Track.

Cracker of a sign.

Lake Ayr.

A classic Tassie track marker.

Mt Pillinger looking very lovely.

The eastern approach of Pillinger.

The view from the top, looking towards Lee's Paddocks.

Day 4
Indi, Erin, and I left Windermere relatively early to walk out to Dove Lake. The weather wasn't horrid, but the mountains more or less remained shrouded in cloud for the whole day. We smashed out the 17kms in about 6 hours and drove off from Cradle Mountain National Park in the rain. A decent mission, but sadly I didn't achieve what I had hoped. I did meet some cool people though, so that's dandy!

Erin and Indi smashing it out to Dove Lake.

99 left!


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Wild Dog Tier

7th September 2016

Wild Dog Tier

Nick and I left Launceston at 5:30am for the nearly 2 hour drive to Lake Augusta, just west of Tasmania's coldest town; Liawenee. We parked at the northern end of the lake, and as the morning fog hadn't lifted yet we plugged the coordinates for the summit into the GPS and walked north. The walking was open and lovely and the conversation flowed. An hour and a half passed before we arrived at the foot of the subtle summit range having walked around 4kms in relatively open moor lands. We pushed through light scrub and onto scree as we made our way up to the main ridge of Wild Dog Tier. Another hour was killed walking north along this, and having fun with some navigation issues (the GPS is dicky... need to see to that!) We poked out on the western side of the summit in a beautiful open valley! A short 5 minute scramble up the range again had us sitting at the site of the old dismantled summit trig just as views began to open up.

To our surprise, just before we left the summit we saw a large group approaching from the north! We went down to greet them, it turns out they were a bunch of LWC members out on an informal stroll, most of whom I knew through working at Paddy Pallin! We headed back to the car, with the sun warming our backs and the view looking much more interesting than our approach.

The car at Lake Augusta.

Once more into the fog, once more!

Some scrubby scree times.

There was some very patchy snow higher up.

The summit! Note the concrete from the old trig?

Looking at Wild Dog Tier on the way back.

102 left.


Monday, 5 September 2016

Adventures Near Lake Gordon

31st August - 4th September

Mt Mueller
Clear Hill
Mt Wedge
Wylds Craig

Day 1
Nick, Bert, and myself left Launceston bright and early to drive down to the south west of Tasmania, first objective: Mt Mueller. Just after passing through Maydena we went up into the Styx Valley and followed a few forestry roads until we arrived at the walking track up Mueller. The track is an old bulldozer trail that was pushed through in the 60's that makes a beeline for Fossil Lake, which sits just beneath Mt Mueller. It was overgrown in patches, mainly with baura and other scrubby delights, but the 3km track to the lake was easily reached in just over an hour. Once at the lake we found a spot for the tents and Nick and I headed for the summit while Bert poked around the lake and surrounding forest.

There was a well marked trail all the way up to the eastern summit of Mt Mueller, heading through Snow Gum forest and large patches of snow in the alpine heath, however, the true summit lies around a kilometre to the west. As soon as we arrived on the eastern summit the clouds quickly gathered and it started to rain, Nick and I weren't deterred though and pushed on through the cruddy weather. We reached the summit as the rain ceased, but didn't get a view which is unfortunate. We stuck on top for around 20 minutes in hope, but decided to head back to camp before more bad weather hit.

Just as we arrived back at camp the rain came in again and we spent the evening tent bound yelling above the wind to each other in a game of eye spy.

Butts. And Mt Mueller just visible through the trees.

Bashing up the bulldozer track.

Naw! Rainbow!

Mt Mueller.

Fossil Lake looking fossily as we walk up Mueller.

Just before the cloud surrounded us, a view to the true summit of Mueller.

Well! The GPS says this is the top (and the summit cairn, and the lack of anything else to climb)

Day 2
After a night of ferocious winds and rain, we got up around 7am when there was a break in the weather. Breakfast was had and camp was broken down before the short walk back to the car was smashed out. We arrived at the car in more rain, so piled everything in and headed back towards the Gordon River Road and then onward up Clear Hill Road. After driving around 21km up Clear Hill Road we reached the very inconspicuous trail up Clear Hill. The visibility was very poor, so we sat in the car for a while and brewed a coffee.

After about an hour the cloud had lifted and we were off up the surprisingly well trodden track. A quick 10 minute steep and scrubby bash lead to a very pleasant ridge-line walk through towering conglomerate boulders and Buttongrass. The summit was reached after about an hour and a half, and we sat an enjoyed the summit that was once again shrouded in cloud (with the occasional view presenting itself to us). Once back at the car we headed for the Wedge River camp ground nestled beneath the towering Sentinel Range to set up a lovely camp in the rest area there. Complete with a roaring fire and good curry, and great beer.

Wet morning near Fossil Lake.

Clear Hill Road coffee house, the best around by far!

Clearing weather on Clear Hill.

The Thumbs looking mighty.

Some amazing geology on the ridge-line up Clear Hill.

Turtle sitting on a rock?

Check out those striations! Such geology. Many wow!

Looking to Boyes Basin from Clear Hill brings back memories of The Spires.

Day 3
Waking up to a beautiful day we felt inspired to pack up camp quick and head to the nearby walking trail up Mt Wedge. The track starts through some beautiful rainforest and quickly starts to gain elevation through the towering trees. Within an hour we had poked out of the tall forest and were oohing and aahing at the views stretched out before us above the low alpine vegetation. Another 20 minutes and we were on top of the delightful mountain. Clear skies and not a breath of wind meant we spent well over an hour on top. Relaxing on the helipad was a real highlight!

Once we got back to the car we decided that we needed more fuel for the rest of our journey, and seeing how we would have to return to Maydena to drive up the Florentine, we might as well head to nearby Westerway for fuel and hot chips! Coffee was had, hot chips were devoured, a quick stop at the National Park hotel was made for beer and pool, and then we were on our way up the Florentine Road. We arrived some 30kms later at the old Tiger Road bridge across the Floz (now closed due to it being in rubbish condition), set up camp on the other side of the bridge and got keen for the next expedition: Wylds Craig!

Picnic shelter campsite.

These huge lines passed overhead on the track. 

Mt Wedge through the tall timbers.

Bert with the Sentinel Range. 

On approach to the summit.

Looking towards Lake Pedder from the summit.

Camping at the Florentine River.

Some fungi on a Sassafras.

Day 4
We awoke early to pack up and move off in good time, and after a great breakfast of Nutrigrain we were road bashing our way up a few kilometres of old forestry road towards the starting point of the Wylds Craig track. There were heaps of downed trees across the road, making this a more arduous section than it should have been! The track starts through an old forestry coup, very messy being it is out of the public eye, but soon enters a beautiful wet sclerophyll forest and the assent began. Within 15 minutes we had gained a decent amount of altitude and arrived in a gorgeous section of Snow Gum forest. After passing over a knoll (which we named Shannon) and descending to a small creek, we made our final push uphill towards the plateau, which we gained after about 3 hours of walking from the camp. We left our big packs near a pile of rocks and went for the summit of Wylds. A stunning view towards many iconic south west peaks, and a clear idea of why this mountain was a valuable place for surveyors to climb to gain a better understanding of Tasmania.

We had planned on going north along the ridge of Wylds to camp at Lake Laurel, and also climb Mt Shakespear (another Abel), but after checking on an updated weather forecast and observing the broody skies to our west, we decided to set up a camp near where we left our packs. Not long after the tents were up we were hit with a smattering of bad weather that lasted through untill the next morning...

The aftermath of forestry activities.

Pushing uphill through a beautiful forest.

Wylds poking its head through a Snow Gum stand.

Some very tall Pandani.

A beaut little Pandani near the summit.

Atop Wylds Craig looking north towards Mt Shakespeare.

The summit trig.

Our windy campsite beneath the summit.

Day 5
The weather was still atrocious outside when we woke up at around 6:30am. We packed everything up in the wet, didn't worry about breakfast, and smashed down the mountain to the car. We were having a coffee at the car by 10am and on our way home soon after. A bridge near Wayatinah was burnt out so we took a few other forestry roads to exit near Ellendale. A coffee in Hamilton and a beer in Bothwell and then we were home!

Beers at the Bothers pub!

Spring is now upon us and given reflection, I have had a rubbish winter. Unfortunately it has been one of the wettest and warmest winters in a long time. Record breaking floods causing roads closures, bridges out, landslides, all hampering my efforts to gain Abels. It is sad and annoying that I will have to double my efforts in summer to make up for it, but it is even sadder that we are witnessing climate change happening around us, and power-holders still stagnating on their obligation to create positive change.

103 left.