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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mount Connection Flora

Sunday 17 January 2016
A pleasant walk in reasonably warm conditions, but overly hot. We placed out two geocaches on the way to coincide with the Geocaching event on 26 Jan 2016. Another couple arrived at the spot we chose for lunch on the north western edge of the summit plateau not far from the track and surprised us, given all the space about, by also stopping close by for lunch as well.
The flora over the headwater moorland for Mountain River was very good.
Olearia obcordata   Heartleaf Daisybush ASTERACEAE (COMPOSITAE)

Mountain Heath-myrtle, and Ozothamnus

Snowgums on flank of Mount Connection

click image  to view a photo album
Mount Connection Flora

Friday, January 8, 2016

Mount Fortescue

29 December 2015
It seemed an interesting idea to head down the Tasman Peninsula to walk again along the track to Mount Fortescue now that it had been upgraded as part of Three Capes walk. However, the experience has left me quite disgusted with what PWS has done, and I do not get upset easily. The PWS website currently has under Tasman Peninsula a walk listed to Mount Fortescue via Hauy track, but when we got to the junction with the Cape Hauy track, there was a sign that said no entry (due to the spurious excuse of phytophthora). Below is the extract from the PWS website as at time of writing.
Mt Fortescue Track
(6-7 hours return)
This track takes walkers to the 490 metre Mt Fortescue and provides excellent views of the rugged coastline. The track commences at Fortescue Bay. Follow the Cape Hauy Track (see above) for about one hour to a low spur where a sign marks the Mt Fortescue Track, which leads off to the right.

By and large most walkers coming from the Retakunna hut will have reached or be close to the Cape Hauy junction by the time anyone wishing to go to Mount Fortescue reach that point.
I say that the phytophthora is a spurious excuse for stopping people. The very susceptible Banksia marginata is in very good health all the way along the Hauy track, which suggests that the argument is quite spurious and only being used as an excuse no one could come up with a reason that would be acceptable. In any event is not beyond the wit of PWS to construct a better scrub down station or chemical treatment entry gate to replace the very basic one currently existing. How can walkers going one way be not a threat but those the other are? This is all more ridiculous because walkers can start from the exact same Fortescue Bay spot and walk to the Mount Fortescue by the prescribed route, but presumably do not pose a risk of bringing phytophthora that way.
Denying people access to the spectacular cliff lookouts 10-15 minutes up the track, is simply an appalling situation It is truly ridiculous and from observation many other people probably thought the same as several parties (9 people noticed in short period of time) ignored the sign and proceeded up the track. In other words, a walk of under 3 hours return or trip 6:30 to be able to get views from the same point by the designated route.

The new track closely follows the old route and is of a high standard, but somewhat lesser than the Hauy track and is also not as wide. Clifftop lookouts are not far from the junction and are quite spectacular and from a couple of spots you can see a sea tunnel going right through a headland cliff. On one trip we were sitting on one of these rocky aeries when a sea eagle rose up from below and was ever so close.
Apart from the improved track there is new lookout high up on the side of Fortescue and the summit has been improved including clearing of a bit of vegetation to allow better views of cape Pillar.
It is 8.2k from Fortescue Bay and takes a bit over 3 hours for the up direction and is a somewhat quicker 2:30 hours coming down.
To view an album of photos click the image below.
Mount Fortescue

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Ellendale to Mount Field

Sunday 13 December 2015
It was hoped that we would be able to replicate in part the first known walk from there into the park, but where we ended at lunch time was at the bottom of a hill that, initially at least, was quite a scrubby ascent and was 1.5k and a height gain required of 200m.
This made it too far to the moorland and we opted to return. It also makes future trips that way perhaps needing an overnight stop, a very early start or having transport at the Lake Fenton end. Even so if the scrub encountered, above the marsh, continued it would be a bit tedious and hard to know how long it would take to get through. Perhaps in 1907 there were trapper’s tracks leading through the bush from the marsh level, although from the journal it sounds like the vegetation was much less and had been badly burnt.
The walk up to the marsh was pleasant especially once past the old sawmill site. The part to that point was on the old vehicle access track then we followed tapes to the Jones River and from there continued uphill to emerge through thick Baeackea and tea tree to the open part of the marsh.

John mentioned that it was now easier to reach Mannys Marsh and that there was a way up to the plateau from there. Although the original 1907 party did go via Jones River it seems that this other approach might be a good compromise and at least we could follow over some of the original route. See below for extracts from the journal, the full one is at this site.
In quite an amazing coincidence, Adrian heard that on the very same day that we went another party went via Mannys Marsh through to Lake Fenton starting from Pillies Road. So it is obviously very doable that way.
Extracts from 1907 journal
….. Higher and higher the defined track led the wanderers …. vegetation grew scarcer and scarcer. The track passed through a veritable forest of bare dead trees of no great height. ………The descent was fairly easily accomplished, and at Jones' River, about three-quarters of the way down, the guides, who had gone in advance, had tea ready…….

Click the image below for a photo album
Ellendale to Mount Field

Flowers of Aristotelia peduncularis Heart Berry

Friday, December 4, 2015

North East Ridge Mount Anne

4-6 December 2015
Finally, after several postponements the walk was on with moderately promising weather. Although it takes a bit of effort getting there, the North East Ridge is a superb area and in good weather it is quite sublime. The plan was to get an early start to allow time for rests on the way up and this had us on the track by 7:30 am.

The plain was fairly wet, after recent rains, but not too bad and the bushes didn’t seem any higher or thicker than my memory from the last crossing. My last visit was in late March 2008 in delightful conditions. The details and photos are on the web. It has not been uncommon to have to do a bit of route searching from time to time in the forest and it again was the case today, but with 5 of us it didn’t take all that long to find one of the tapes marking the way.

Camp site area

A break beside the one and only creek, then lunch higher up provided much appreciated rests. By this point the slope is reasonably steep and continued that that way until the ridge top was reached; I hadn’t remembered the bit once beyond the small cliff line in the forest being steep, but it was.

Cushion shelf

It was a bit cloudy rather than the bright sunlight and clear skies hoped for, but nevertheless pleasant. Then on to camp with plenty of time to relax after the exertion.    The ridge comprises several terraces and one of them has a few huge cushion plants, whilst one tucked away lower has an extensive and striking area of cushions covering much of the ground.  That is where we ventured in the morning, although at first it was very misty and didn’t fully lift all day. Nevertheless, the cushion shelf was really attractive and from there we followed the ridge top up the slope of Mount Anne. Although I had the GPS reading for the way beside a buttress and onto a narrow shelf under the north east face of Anne, I walked well past before discovery the mistake and then when we did get back to the point it looked different to what I thought. However, when Neville said is there a pineapple grass ledge, I knew we were in the right spot. A little bit of hither and thither on ledges, a couple of heave-hos and we were on top. We got a number of decent views although cloud cut vision at times and we departed after lunching just as another party arrived by the conventional route. Once back on the shelf of North East Ridge a drizzle began and it was then I discovered that my parka had been left at the tent; fortunately, it remained light and it was only just after arriving at camp that a heavier shower began.

Mount Anne from the cushion shelf

On a shelf on the way up Mount Anne

Morning was again very misty and it was not until well into the descent before we began getting below it. I found my legs felt stiff during the steep downhill section and getting under and over logs became a tedious imposition. As I had knocked my thigh against a log on the way in, it was not unexpected that there would be a bit of tenderness there, but the surprise was the discomfort whenever a log had to be hopped under or any other time the hip belt padding pressed upward against my side. I later discovered a bruise below my ribcage which perhaps was the result of swinging under limbs and making the pack belt press into my side.
By taking advantage of the early start for rest meant the inward walk was over an elapsed time of 8 hours (7:30 - 3:30) whereas the return was 6:20 elapsed time (8:30 - 2:40)

Photos from Neville.

On the ascent of Mount Anne, Greg, Peter and  Graham.   Photo from Neville

On the cushion shelf, Peter, Alan, Graham and Greg.   Photo from Neville
The photo album can be viewed by clicking the image below.
North East Ridge2015
North East Ridge 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Heathy Hills

18 November 2015
It was only a year since first walking in the Heathy Hills Nature Reserve but the rock arch there was so stunning that I was keen to return.  Previously, which was October 2014 we had to ford the Jordan River but this time it was simply a matter of walking over the drying mud.  The other change was that now there were tapes and rock cairns marking the way, whereas before it was unmarked; I much prefer the old conditions. As it was we departed from the tapes and wandered to the arch via some cliffs and caves, but after leaving the arch we again met tapes.
Under the Arch and Adrian
The arch area was just as enjoyable as previously and we spent some considerable time there. The remainder of the walk was to the high point on the same side of the gorge and then back along the cliff tops on the northern edge.  Below was another gorge with cliffs of a smaller third section of the hills. Parts along our route were mighty dry and there was the variety of flowering bushes as we had found the previous year on the wider plateau of the other side.
Ozothamnus and far north cliffs and hill 
It was also a shorter walk being 5.27k and taking 4:40 hours.
Click the image below for the photo album

Heathy Hills 2015

Heathy Hills 2015

The route taken on the walk


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Big Hill

Tuesday 5 November 2015

I misunderstood the route Dave intended to take for this walk; he mentioned an old road which I assumed was the old railway line.  However, it was the old road that was once the Midlands highway running south out from Kempton. So we followed that for about 2k before going through a farm gate; well actually climbing over is a more accurate description. After crossing paddock, we climbed quite steeply through bush, stopping on a knoll for morning tea, before reaching the wide summit then down a much gentler slope with spaced out trees, some quite large and old.

Eucalypt on Big Hill with Neville














Old Eucalypt

Quoin Mountain

Quoin Mountain

Before us was a short ascent to Kempton Sugarloaf where we lunched then a very steep grassed slope past a series of white pained tyres advertising the Kempton Festival.

As we walked the short distance back along a road we met the property owners who gave us a suggestion for another walk on their property to the west.  The mention of cliffs, caves and losing ourselves in the gully spiked our interest and no doubt this walk to Johnsons Hill will get a guernsey before too long.

All up the Big Hill walk was an 8.6k circuit and it took a shade over 4 hours including lunch.

Big Hill from Kempton Sugarloaf


Big Hill from viewed Kempton Sugarloaf

Although it doesnt look it so much in the photo, this slope was very steep.

Although it doesn't look it so much in the photo, this slope was very steep.

Big Hill

Monday, September 28, 2015

Beatties Tarn

Saturday 19 September 2015

The track to this lovely area is once again open for walkers to visit. Beatties Tarn is such a tranquil and beautiful spot sitting 200m below the tree covered slopes of the high ridge between Seagers Lookout and Mount Field East.

The park management plan suggested a re-route the Beatties Tarn side track and rehabilitate the old track, (page 37) and a consultant in a 2008 report on tracks commented that he was “not convinced it’s practical or desirable to prevent access to the tarn.

Beatties Tarn from near outflow

The track was closed for several years because the original track traversed a very wet area where some of the water flowed over a small flat area and became degraded. This area also has a considerable sphagnum content. A suitable route close to the old was marked out by Friends of Mount Field with PWS staff and is about 320 metres of track of which 80 metres is the existing but overgrown track and the remainder is rerouted but close to the former track

The track now passes through a flat area of very nice bush to reach a short boulder field where the rocks have been manoeuvred to allow relatively easy passage. It then drops down to bush again before veering west through some tall old tea tree to meet the original track just below a short boulder climb. It is then along a dry level section to reach Beatties Tarn at a very pleasant spot beside the water with a good vista. It takes about 10 minutes from the main track which in turn is about 20 minutes from the Lake Dobson Road.

There is a Beatties Tarn web site that gives details of the track, referred to in PWS and Placenames Tas documents as Beatties Tarn Side Track.

Details on the work of the Friends of Mount Field can be found on the web