Chevi and I arrived at Cradle Mountain National Park around 10am. We set off for the original planned walk of Recondite Knob, only to be thwarted in our goals by a small laminated sign at the start of the Speeler Track stating that there would be controlled burns in the area and that the track was closed. Not wanting to be crispy fried bushwalkers, we decided on another nearby Abel; Mt Kate.
We parked the car at the Ronny Creek car-park and crossed the Dove River via a small footbridge. This took us to the quaint Mount Kate House, an ageing building near the sight of an old saw mill. The track notes mentioned finding an old route up the hill behind the house once used as a bullock track for dragging down King Billy logs, but we were unable to locate it. No matter, as the forest was open and all we needed to do was go uphill! We pushed though small patches of light Tea Tree scrub in among great stands of Myrtle and soon poked out in low alpine scrub. This lead us to the rocky high point as stated in the Abels book where we found a taped route heading north towards the summit. The path took us through some beautiful Coral Fern grassland studded with Scoparia. As we neared the rounded summit we stopped to watch a huge Wedge Tailed Eagle fly just overhead; so low we could almost pluck it from the sky. We reached the substantial summit cairn after 1.5 hours from the car and enjoyed the lee side of the cairn out of the wind for lunch. I plodded over to what could be the actual summit (about 50m away from the cairn, it seemed a wee bit higher with a more open view west), but the summit cairn was the place to be!
The walk down took just under an hour, and as we still had some time in the day we went to do the Enchanted Forest walk near the interpretation center. When I signed in the log book, I signed directly under Bill Wilkinson (the author of The Abels)!! What a great coincidence!
|Drat and bother!|
|Bashing through the scrub!|
|Summit cairn, Eagle, and Cradle mountain. What more do you need?|
|Cradle peeping through the Pencil Pines.|