A Steep Mistake

Craigow Hill

On our last visit to the Belbins Road end of the Meehan Range a track marked Caves Hill was noticed and that is what brought us here this time.  Obviously, the track is created for bikes but being a weekday meant it was low use.

The prior walk to Craigow was 2005, and after reaching the saddle between Flagstaff and Eagle Hills it was reasonably familiar, apart from not remembering having to negotiate a fence twice. At the second fence line, there was a gate and then we were on the Craigow Hill property and it was most apparent that it was managed in a manner leaving the bush in a nicer state. Our lunch spot was in a patch of grasstrees making it sheltered with pleasing surrounds. This was the far point of the journey and marked where the other part of circuit started for the return to the start.
Craigow Hill

It was very steep down from Craigow and we missed the descent track used last time.  Although a pile of rocks was noticed the track we were on was very distinct and it was not until we were much further down that suspicions arose that the rocks may have marked the route.  The 4wd track became very steep and didn’t seem to fit with our memory of the previous descent, but by then it felt too much of a bother to go back up.  The steepness continued with the slope averaging 1:5 and seemed to be taking us on the Coal Valley side. At the bottom, we found ourselves in the correct gully but at the wrong end, which was OK, making it a simple task of following the open path until reaching the planned point for ascending to Golden Hill.  The particular track used, apart from at the very top, is not marked on maps.
Grasstrees Craigow Hill

It still wasn’t plain sailing though, because on reaching the spot the GPS indicated the track up started, it was pointing 20 metres through a wall of thick scrub. Puzzling, so we continued walking until the track crossed a creek, noticed a sign up the bank and found ourselves on a completely different and much higher grade vehicle track.  Fancy that two tracks running parallel in this obscure spot; anyway, it explained things and it wasn’t long before we were finally back on the planned route.

Incidentally the sign was a PWS one indicating it was a reserve. It also was where a management burn had been carried out and the unique Eucalyptus risdonii of the slope were looking miserable with lots of dead leaves; hard to see how a burn in the middle of a big swath of bush helps reduce fire risk and equally hard to see that it would be of any value as regeneration tool in already healthy bush.

I had marked in the GPS a couple of junctions and planned to use the second one, but for no good reason took the first one, which although inadvertent, actually cut a bit off the distance.

Distance 12.5k  Total time with lunch 4:50
Track profile

Blue = route taken red = planned route