Sunday, 4 December 2016

Cradle Country Volume 2

3rd - 4th December 2016

Black Bluff
Recondite Knob

Day 1
Third time's a charm! I headed out to the north-west for another attempt on Black Bluff (my two previous stabs at it had resulted in poor weather bail-outs). The sky had high cloud, but held promise of a view from the summit! Woohoo! I left the car at the closed bridge to Taylor Flats at 11am and headed off up Brookes Track towards Paddys Lake. The walk up to the lake took me through layers of wet-sclerophyll forest, Tea Tree and Buttongrass, and finally alpine heath interspersed with Snow Gums. A beautiful walk up that took me a little under an hour and a half. After meandering around the lake the track to the summit meets with the main path and I was soon storming off for the top. 20 minutes later I was at the trig point, with fine views of the surrounding peaks and the true summit; which lays a kilometre south-west from the trig. A quick bite to eat and I was soon rock hopping across a vast field of conglomerate boulders and then onto what can only be described as 'Bushwalker's Delight". The very low alpine grass for the last 700 metres to the summit was a joy to walk on and soon I was sitting on the top rock. My view towards the Cradle reserve was great, as was the view towards Mt Tor, St Valentines Peak, and north to Bass Straight. I spent a bit under half an hour on top before the wind started to chill me. I headed down, content in the fact that I had finally conquered Black Bluff. When I got back to the car I headed for Cradle Mountain, where I spent the evening enjoying a sunset from Dove Lake, and slept the night in the car waiting for what adventures the next day would hold...

Black Bluff from the Leven River.


The smells of the forest were wafting in my face.

Good to see the track isn't through the lake...

Le trig.

A fine view, bit not the summit.

That's the summit!

Looks like Lord of the Rings could be filmed here...

Atop Black Bluff!

Day 2
The forecast I had from the day before mentioned that the day would start sunny, but was looking to have heavy rain in the afternoon, so I made an early start. I was up with the sun, sipping on a stiff coffee and having some breakie before driving back to Pencil Pine to take on my next Abel, Recondite Knob. The little visited knoll sits about 7km south-west of the lodge at Pencil Pine. I was walking by 6:15am, first heading off on the Pencil Pine loop track. The directions in the Abels book and map were slightly at odds with the current maps; the book suggested following the Reynolds Falls track for a bit, but that track goes in the wrong direction (it has possibly been re-routed in recent years). I followed my nose and didn't have any issues. After around half an hour of being on track I jumped off-track and  headed towards the distinctive Back Peak, which is just in front of Recondite Knob.

The walking started easily, as the Buttongrass plains had recently been burnt as part of a fuel reduction burn from Parks and Wildlife (this is also the reason why the surrounding tracks were closed, but I had it on good info that the burning was done). I soon entered un-burnt areas, and the Button Grass stompin' started. I followed a low ridge up to the flank of Back Peak, the small amount of elevation gain eventually gave way to more fragile alpine grasses, and an old 4x4 track became very visible in the vegetation. Soon I was beneath Back Peak and decided to head up for a view to where I should go. I went a dumb way, smashing through low Myrtle and Scoparia. When I got to the top I not only had a great view to the Abel, but also where the 4x4 track winded through the scrub. Oh well... From here it was only 15 minutes to the top of Recondite Knob! I arrived at 8:45am, smashing my expectations for arrival time. The view was amazing, central Overland mountains looked great, west coast mountains looked great, The Eldons looked great. Everyone was in fine form. I spent 45 minutes on top before heading back to the car via the same direction, taking just under 2 hours to return!

Pencil Pine Cascades. Frothin'.

Look at those nippy cuties!

Pencil Pine loop.

Looking towards Back Peak and Heap of Rocks (yes, that is it's name).

On the flank of Back Peak.

Looking towards Recondite Knob from Back Peak.

Pandani loving life.

The summit pole of Recondite! Looking towards The Eldons.

86 left.