matty's tasmanian adventures - index

Precipitous Bluff via Southern Ranges

Monday 6 Feb 2012 - Preparation

During the evening of 6 Feb, I packed everything into my almost brand new Wilderness Equipment - Karijini pack (it went up Frenchmans 2 weeks ago).  It was 'jam packed' as full and as high as it could be and it weighed 28kg with empty water bottles (30kg with water).  This was too heavy to drag through the dense scrub on this walk so I unpacked everything to get rid of everything that wasn't essential.

I kept the bare minimum food.  I also took out gatorade powder; satellite phone (I kept the epirb in); leatherman (put in small pocket knife); roll-on deodorant (walking by myself I would have to put up with the stink); 1 gas cylinder (3 was excessive - I took 2 but could probably have stretched 1 out for the 8 days);

 

My remaining food per day:

1 x 90/100g continental pasta 'meal'
1 cheese stick
2 cadbury brunch bars
1 snack sized picnic bar

I had 10 days worth of this supply plus 2 freeze dried apricot crumble for special occasions and 2 freeze dried scrambled eggs.

As a result of this I reduced the pack weight by 4.2kg, taking it down to 25kg with 2L of water of 23kg without water.

 

Wednesday 8 Feb 2012 - I wanted to start walking early in the morning and I regularly sleep in at the start of a trip so I left home at 12.30am because I was all packed and wide awake.  I thought that I may as well drive until I was tired and have a sleep down the road somewhere if necessary.

I was still wide awake on the drive down to Ida Bay and turned right up South Lune Road, drove 5km then turned left for 1km to the start of the track.  I arrived at 3am and had a sleep until 6.30am.

I got up and put on my walking clothes.  The sky seemed to be clear.  Initially the track is along a former railway line to a quarry near the Mystery Creek Cave.  I crossed a creek just before the quarry and went to have a look at Mystery Creek Cave which was a 5 minute walk to the left.  I reached the cave and took a couple of photos and left because I had a big day ahead of me.

Back at the quarry I headed up to the right side of the quarry.  There was a lot of uphill ahead so I took it pretty steadily uphill.  There were fairly regular tapes.  On the first climb I reached some dirt that was all scratched up and saw peacock and a peahen nearby.  They both ran up trees and watched me walk past.

beautiful Tasmania Leatherwood in flower

Up on the first ridge, it was reasonably good walking and then headed up a wet and mossy hill for a long time as it started to rain.  I appeared out of the forest to a buttongrass plain where there were a couple of sheltered tent sites at the start of the plain.  This plain was very wet and boggy.  There was another hill and then I reached Moonlight Flats.  This is a long expanse of scrub, bog and creeks with a hill with some cliffs at the far end of the Flats.

Initially it didn't look too far to the hill at the end of the flats but it took forever to get there.  The rain was now heavy and the track was a river.  There are multiple tracks created by people trying to avoid the worst bog - but all of the tracks were in bad condition.

The track got steeper near the end of the flats and there was a Parks sign saying that track work was 'in progress' and asking walkers to stick to the marked track which was marked by orange arrows on posts.  This route wasn't for the benefit of walkers as it directed you along the hardest & deepest, most eroded route.  It seemed to be to reduce the erosion of the other routes.

I finally reached the climb up Hill One at the end of this plain - in thick Scoparia.  There was a false lead to the right here that lead to a track that headed into a dead end of dense Scoparia.  I re-traced my path and found the correct route up the hill and came to a very scenic area of cushion plants with track work of large stones to walk on between the plants.  If the weather wasn't raining and cold it would have been very scenic.

cushion plants near Hill One

As I walked along Hill One in the steady rain, the track passes to the right of the top of the hill.  I felt Hill One should be re-named Hill 6 at least because there was a lot of effort already expended just to get to Hill One.  (these are just the tired thoughts of someone with a heavy pack on their back, struggling up hill)

The track went down to a saddle between Hill 1 & 2 (which is allegedly an exposed campsite).  The view was impressive out to the right with cliffs above the start of Lune River and linked by Moores Bridge which looks like a narrow neck of land as you approach it.

Moores Bridge

I trudged along in the rain and I was soaked to the skin under my almost new Macpac raincoat.  I have come to the conclusion that no raincoats keep you dry in wet Tasmanian forests where you are continually rubbing against wet trees and pushing through dense wet scrub.

I sent my dad a message from the top of Hill 4 (signal telstra next g) before I headed downhill to Pigsty Ponds.  My strategy when I reach my destination and it is raining is to unpack my pack into a spare pack liner until I get to my tent, poles and pegs.

I put up my Macpac Minaret tent as quickly as I could on the edge of the scrub where it was least sodden.  I felt terrible.  I got into the tent shivering and got into my sleeping bag at 3pm with my beanie on as well.  I was still shivering at 4pm when I nodded off and woke up in fading light at 9pm.  I was too tired and cold to cook a meal outside the tent so I had a food bar and went back to sleep.  It rained on and off during the night.

 

Thursday 9 Feb 2012 - My alarm went off at 6am.  I set it to make sure I didn't sleep in and waste the day like I have occasionally on other trips.  After a hard previous day, I was tired, cold and hungry.  All of my walking clothes were still soaked.

It was very cold outside but the sky was clear which was a relief.  I packed slowly because I was delaying putting on my wet walking clothes.  The sun was creeping down Maxwell Ridge and then across the ground towards me but it was taking too long so I packed up my wet tent.  It could dry the inside of the tent at the end of the day.

chilly morning at Pigsty Ponds

Eventually I put on my wet walking clothes and cold, wet socks.  I headed up Maxwell Ridge and reached the arrow made from stones that point towards Mt La Perouse.  There are also small arrows the way I had come and also uphill to Maxwell Ridge in the direction of Pindars.

heading up Maxwell Ridge

I hoped to do a side trip to La Perouse but I took the lazy option and decided to recover from my hard first day and go straight to Ooze Lake.  There were spectacular views on Maxwell Ridge all around me.  The climb up Maxwell Ridge is initially narrow but becomes a wide plateau on the top where is heads down a ridge towards Ooze Lake.

  heading down Maxwell Ridge & looking towards Pindars.

I came to a dense scoparia section so I put my coat on as protection and pushed on through to the outlet creek of Ooze Lake.  Along this section the track wasn't to hard to follow in the tight scoparia section but in the middle of it there was an area where you walk under tall Pandani trees.  It was quite open underneath the tall Pandani and the dead Pandani leaves obscure any trace of track on the ground. (I encountered this problem a few times under tall Pandani on this trip)  I continued to Ooze Lake.  The campsites were not great around the lake but I picked a decent spot near some rocks to sit on.

I cooked a pasta meal for lunch after not having a hot meal last night.  Some very dark clouds moved in, threatening a storm around 3pm but the rain held off.  As I relaxed near the lake I recovered and felt guilty that I didn't go up La Perouse earlier.

I hadn't come across any other people on the track but it didn't surprise me as no-one had written in the start log book for at least a week before I started.

I tried the freeze-dried scrambled eggs for dinner and couldn't eat it because it was like rubber.

As I relaxed next to the lake I thought what a great place south-west Tasmania is when it was good weather - but it can be a nightmare in bad weather.

 

Friday 10 Feb 2012 - I woke up at 5.55am and listened to the weather forecast.  It sounded like there would be n/e wind for a few days which should be good for south-west Tasmania.

morning mist on Ooze Lake

There was no wind outside and the tent was wet with dew.  I packed the wet tent and started at 7am.  I walked around the right-hand side of the lake and climbed up the scrubby hill.  After about 10 minutes I was up on open ground and the track followed a wide, sweeping bend eventually turning left on an open plateau area.  It turned steeply uphill with a trail of cairns to follow.

the steady climb towards Pindars Peak

impressive peak - Pindars

The track went up a ridge line, just to the right of the top.  On the initial slope, there was a cleared, flat area that would fit a tent, but it was very exposed and it was on rocks.  About 2/3 of the way up, the track crosses to the left side of the ridge.  There were clear views down to South-East Cape. 

the lakes at the origin of South Cape Rivulet

This side of the ridge had vegetation whereas the other side of the hill was all barren rock.  Mist started forming over the summit of Pindars Peak.  I hoped that it would clear by the time I reached the top.

Pindars to PB & New River Lagoon

Pindars to South Coast

timer photo on Pindars Peak

It was slow progress up the mountain with my heavy pack.  I plodded uphill and reached a saddle where I could see down to the right again.  There was a track heading downhill to the north-west.  I took my pack off and headed down it.  It went down for about 20-30 metres and then turned left to go below the cliff of Pindars Peak - towards the ridge to Leaning Tea Tree Saddle (LTTS).

I returned to my pack and found the cairns heading up to the summit.  It was only about 10 minutes to the top and was relatively easy.  Just before the summit there was a vertical 3m scramble that could have possibly been bypassed on the right.  It was ok to climb up there in dry weather.

On the top the view was spectacular.  Pindars Peak is a terrific summit because it is quite a small area on the top and it is surrounded by steep cliffs.  The views from Pindars Peak are better than from Precipitous Bluff because Pindars is closer to the coast and it is a steeper summit and is about 80m higher than PB.

After lots of photos I headed back to my pack and headed towards LTTS.  On the way around the side of Pindars, the track is quite easy walking and goes over a small ridge before the track ends with more spectacular view and a great comfortable rock to sit on while admiring the view.  Here the track has a 90° right turn down the ridge to Pandani Knob.  The ridge ahead was quite open initially and was easy walking (when there is good visibility).  You just stick to the middle of the ridge.  There were many spots that could fit a tent along this section although it was exposed on the ridge.

The scrub got thicker approaching Pandani Knob and was very thick past it.  Quite often there were multiple track options here.  I tried to pick the most worn track that also looked like it headed in the correct direction.  A couple of times I realised that I wasn't on a track anymore and I had to head back until I was on a clear track and hunt around for the track I had missed.

I was very grateful to find in places that someone had put some sticks across false leads to indicate no to use that track.  You have to really pay attention and not just wander along blindly.

As I passed the small hill after Pandani Knob the track went down into a Pandani forest.  The old Pandani leaves covered the ground and obscured the track.  I briefly lost the track here again, but along most of this ridge you couldn't make any progress forwards unless you were on a track, because the vegetation was so dense.  Mostly the track was about ˝ the width of a person (or less) and you had to fight against it for every metre of progress.

I was wearing my raincoat and riggers gloves for protection from the spiky scrub.  They helped but I got very hot and the sweat was pouring off me.  It was a massive relief to reach the open area at LTTS.  This area has small pools of water scattered across the ridge.  I picked the best camp site nearest the deepest pool which was more at the n/w end of LTTS.

you will drink from anywhere when you are out of water - ponds near LTTS.

my campsite, among the ponds, nth end LTTS

It was only 1.30pm as I set up my tent.  I had time to get to Wylly Plateau but I was dehydrated and tired (after 6˝hrs walk) and the Chapman notes said that the water supply wasn't good ahead.

The march flies and the mozzies were savage here but they seemed to disappear around 4pm.  I was satisfied with my day's effort in my first day of the really hard section of the trip.  The evening was warm, with virtually no wind and the forecast was still good for the next few days.

 

Saturday 11 Feb 2012 - Alarm at 5.45am and I packed quickly.  I knew I had a hard day ahead.  The weather was ok, with some clear patches.  This section to Low Camp wasn't supposed to have good water availability so I carried a extra 4 litres of water - 6L total.  This was heavy but it was better than passing out from dehydration.

The first hill after LTTS was described by Chapman as "thick scrub" and it sure was.  I have come to realise that Chapman doesn't exaggerate.  From then on I underlined all of the words like 'thick scrub' in each paragraph.

view out to my left of PB as I left LTTS heading for Mt Wylly

Over the top of that hill it was waist to chest high scoparia and other scrub.  The track was then quite open and good walking towards Mt Wylly.  It was hard to find the track in places approaching Mt Wylly and I had to hunt around to stay on the track.

One thing I made sure of was to make sure I always found the correct track whenever I moved from the edge of one area to the next - eg when leaving a buttongrass plain to head into dense vegetation I made sure I at least started on the correct track - in each new area.

Approaching Mt Wylly the vegetation is fairly open and I walked up the gradual climb from a saddle on the s/w corner of Mt Wylly until I was at just over 1000m asl.  I reached a minor landslip clearing and decided to head up to the summit from here because I could see some cairns heading up.  As I climbed up I realised that the best corner to head up was the n/w corner that looks over Wylly Plateau.

View of Federation Peak from Mt Wylly; and the peak of Mt Wylly to PB

The view on the top was spectacular but cool and windy.  I quickly headed back to my pack and headed along the side of Mt Wylly until the track headed down to Wylly Plateau.  The track was still open and easy walking but very exposed.

I walked along Wylly Plateau and reached some cleared campsites cut into the bushes.  There wasn't any obvious water around and I walked over to some rocks 50m to the n/e and looked along the route to Mt Victoria Cross.  This was a 3 hr side trip and I was keen to get to the camp in the saddle of Kameruka Moraine.  As I walked to the end of Wylly Plateau the ground was very clear and I came across a big white letter E or W on the grass - about 3m x 3m.  I guess it was either and E for emergency (for helicopters) or W for Wylly.  Either way it looked like a target for the helicopter to identify a safe place on the end of Wylly Plateau.

between Mt Wylly & PB - getting slowly closer

At the end of Wylly Plateau ahead was saddle leading up to another hill.  I struggled through the scrub down off Wylly Plateau.  The scrub was dense but that made it hard to lose the track because you couldn't get off it.  From the saddle I continued in the dense scrub up the next hill.  From that hill the Chapman notes said that the track ahead was braided across the saddle.  I didn't know what that meant but I soon figured it out. 

As I got into the wet forest area across the next saddle I quickly found that there were tracks going everywhere.  I then realised that multiple tracks going all over the place could be what Chapman meant by 'braided'.  I pictured girl's hair with inter-twined strands of hair being similar to the multiple tracks.  Across this section it was very muddy and the rain started coming down heavily.  I was very grateful to a previous walker who had put some 'cross-sticks' at the start of some of the false leads.

Eventually the track started heading up to the right side of the saddle of Kameruka Moraine and then down to the camp in the saddle.  These camp sites were pretty good but there wasn't water here.  At the start of the day I had considered ending my day here, which was why I was carrying enough water for cooking etc - but when it continued to rain heavily I didn't feel like sitting around in the rain for the rest of the afternoon.  If it was going to keep raining I may as well keep walking as I was already wet anyway.  Instead I had a short rest and decided to continue to Low Camp.  It didn't look far on the map and I felt ok.

I headed up from the saddle up the jagged rocky ridge of Kameruka Moraine.  The track along the ridge consisted of clambering over big boulders and tough scrub on the narrow ridge.  Progress was very slow and I had to take my pack off a few times to lift it up onto the boulders.  There were also a few false peaks where it looked like I was about to reach the top and then found that there was another higher area further on.

Eventually the ridge widened out and the scrub became less dense.  Progress towards PB Low Camp was easier for a while but as the track headed downhill towards Low Camp the track became very boggy again.  It also headed slightly to the left of the south end of PB before turning right and ending up at the Low Camp which was surrounded by deep mud.  The PB Low Camp is a weird campsite.  Chapman describes it as a 'hardened campsite'.  It consists of a raised area that fits about 3 tents, surrounded by logs, and filled in with slices of log sections on their sides to provide a hard surface.  The problem was that the log sections were at all odd angles.  If I didn't have a good thermarest it would have been very uncomfortable to sleep on.  There were some other rough campsites scattered around (not on the raised bit - but there were pretty wet, boggy and uneven).

the hardened campsite at PB Low camp - not the place to have a leaky sleeping mat.

There were tracks leading away from the hardened area in all directions like the legs of a starfish.  I saw one clear muddy track heading towards a the most likely climb of PB so I guessed that this was the track to continue on in the morning.  I had already taken my boots off so I didn't go exploring along the deep muddy tracks.

PB was so close now that the views were amazing and it was a different side of PB than I am normally used to - which is the lagoon side.  I felt that the hard part of the trip was nearly over and I was really looking forward to reaching the lagoon to have a wash and cool off and drink the clear creek water from Damper Cave.

PB Low Camp view to the east side of PB

I had a relaxing afternoon next to PB.  The sun disappeared 2˝hrs early (6.15pm) with the big lump of PB immediately to my west.

 

Sunday 12 Feb 2012 - I got up at 6am and found that there was mist covering the top 2/3 of PB and most of the surrounding hills.  I was packed and ready to go at 7.30am and I headed off on the really muddy track that I thought was the correct one.  I waded along this wet, muddy track for about 100m, losing this track a few times on false leads and arrived a a pool of water.  Next to it was a post with an old shirt tied to it.

I looked beyond the pool of water, further towards PB to see if the track continued up hill.  All I could see was very dense scrub and no track.  I tried to push through the scrub but it I couldn't find any hint of a track ahead.  I waded back to dry land and got out my Chapman notes.  I read that the correct track headed away from the campsite to the west and the water was to the north-west.

As I followed my track back to Low Camp I realised that I had travelled n/w to the water.  Back at the camp I found that there was a dry track that started heading away from the camp to the s/w but quickly turned to the west.  This was a very clear, established track and I was pleased when it turned straight towards the climb.  The climb started under tree cover and soon reached the lower scrub on the climb.

 

This is a scan from my notebook about the layout that I found at PB Low Camp.

1. at top of page 'From Kameruka' is the track that leads to/from Kameruka Moraine
2. the track that heads to climb PB - it starts s/w then turns w. towards the climb
3. the track to water - to the n/w - very muddy with some false leads - for water stick to the 'main' muddy track to the n/w
The green pen area is the shape of the 'hardened' campsite

 

The walk up the the hill was steep but not too hard.  I crossed a creek on the way up and the track stayed to the right of the creek during the climb.  The track was steep as the creek became a small waterfall.  There was a cold misty wind blowing up the mountain and visibility was about 50m.

Above the waterfall the track stayed on the right side of the creek even though there were a few small track that led down to the creek.  The track levelled out to a gradual climb with stone steps and before I knew it I looked to my left and spotted the small wet clearing of Plateau Camp.  I left my pack there and headed to the summit.  I reached the summit, still surrounded by thick mist.  I looked for the logbook in the summit rocks and couldn't spot it.

I looked in the second highest pile of rocks a couple of metres to the east of the highest rocks.  I looked down a crack and saw the metal tin that contained the logbook.  It was down about 2m and there were a few broken sticks down the hole which appeared to be from a failed recovery attempt.  If I had brought my walking poles to the summit I may have been able to reach the tin with them fully extended and use them like chopsticks to lift the box.  If the box was turned on its side it may be possible to hook it with a fishing hook.

I couldn't see any point staying up there with no views in the thick mist so I headed back down.  When I was almost back at Plateau Camp the mist started to clear.  I decided that I have enough photos from the summit so I started my long route down the mountain.

I started slowly down the steep steps which cross two gullies to the left (south), surrounded by cliffs and overlooking the New River Lagoon a kilometre below.  From the gully the track enters the trees where you scramble up and down over rocks and through trees as the base of the cliffs.  At a point where you cross the bottom of another gully the track heads down and then up steeply and eventually emerges back along the open cliff base where there were a few pools of collected water from the cliffs.

you had better get water from the pool below PB (west side). There is none going down in the forest.

I filled up my water bottles and had a good rest because I was feeling stuffed, before leaving the cliffs to enter the forest descent.  Initially the 'down' track was easy to follow but I soon reached some big fallen trees making the track very hard to follow.  You could go about 100m alright and then have to search around for the track again for a while.  I added some more tapes in these areas.  I was getting weary and my rests were getting longer and the walking distances were getting shorter.

The lower I got, the worse the fallen trees were.  As the ridge became really narrow the track was covered by big trees in lots of places.  When I headed down a steep slope and reached a flat area I could barely believe that I had finished the descent.  To confirm this I found the Damper Cave entrance nearby.  I had a good drink and finished off the last 10 minutes to the camp.  There was another fallen tree in the campsite near the lagoon.  It was about 3.30pm and I felt the effects of a long, hard walk.

I had a refreshing wash and lay in the lagoon then enjoyed my dinner sitting on a log next to the water.  I was very happy to reach the end of the Southern Ranges.  It would feel strange seeing people on the track again after no-one for nearly 6 days.

lovely afternoon wash in the lagoon - sunset on PB

 

Monday 13 Feb 2012 - I had a sleep in and got up at 8.30am.  During the night there had been a brush-tailed possum fight nearby and I also had the pitter-patter of tiny paws around the tent.

I packed up my day pack for a trip to Damper Cave.  I was taking:

main headtorch
spare headtorch
thermal top & bottoms (cold inside cave)
beanie
compass for navigation (obviously no gps signal underground)
notebook & pen (to draw a map/plan of the cave)
foodbar & drink bottle
camera

entry to Damper Cave

I walked the 10 minutes to the cave and wrote in the cave registration book.  The cave consists of a main passage that has a creek flowing out of the mountain.  I started by walking up this main passage for a few hundred metres until it got to the stage where it was less than 2 foot high and I would have had to crawl along the clay cave floor.  I made a rough drawing of the cave as I went.  I headed back to the start and then walked up the first main passage to the left.  This was about 50m in on the left.  It leaves the main creek and had a dry pebbly trench about 8 inches wide to walk up (I guess that this is probably a small creek in wet weather).  This continued for about 30m until it also became low and scrambly.  There were small passages to the side which may just fit a person but being by myself I wasn't exploring too far.

This dry passage to the left itself had a small passage heading off to the left half way along.  This curved around to the left and reached a round 'room' where the floor was a 2m below me and the roof was a few metres above me.  This 'room' had a few small holes off it but I couldn't see any main passages in that area.  I didn't go into that 'room' because it would have meant sliding down the clay/muddy 2m bank into that area and I would have caused damage to get back up the slope.

I headed back out to the main creek passage and then notice an insect on the wall.  When I had a good look they were everywhere.  It's body was about 5cm long and it had very long 'feelers' out the front - to find there way around in the dark.  (After the trip I found that they are Tasmanian Cave Crickets)

Cave Crickets

I believe this is the male cave cricket

I think this is the female - due to the 'prong' at the back to dig a hole to lay an egg in the dark just outside the cave.

Magic spot

After an hour in the cave I headed back to the lagoon.  Just as I reached the lagoon I heard a plane engine that sounded very close.  I ran to the lagoon and saw an ultralight plane flying about 5m above the water surface heading towards the northern end of the lagoon.  It did a lap around and then headed back down towards the boat crossing and looked like it landed on the water.  A few minutes later a different plane came up past me, very low and then landed briefly on the lagoon and then took off again.  They were obviously ultralight sea planes.  One was purple and the other one was a white plane.  They buzzed around for about 15 minutes and it was as annoying as having trailbikes or jetskis nearby.

I started walking down the lagoon at midday.  With the recent dry weather the lagoon wasn't very high.  I kept walking without breaks until I reached the creeks that have to be crossed inland on logs.  This was tricky because the logs are rotten and the mud in the creek is 'bottomless' and you keep sinking in it.  I tried to cross on one log and found that it was so rotten that it was breaking up with every step.  I retreated to find a better one.  I also made sure that I undid the waist and chest strap on the pack as I crossed on the logs - so that if I fell in the water I could easily slip out of the shoulder straps if I was underwater with the pack on.

I reached the Prion Bch campsite after 2˝hrs due to the low water level.  There were 3 people sitting near the camp.  They were about to head up the lagoon for a PB sidetrip.  I told them about the logs down on the track and gave them the rest of my orange track tape in case they wanted to put in more tapes on their way up - to make it easier to find their way back to the lagoon camp.

I decided to camp at Osmiridium Beach so I headed off towards the eastern end of Prion Beach.  As the track heads down to Milford Creek the wooden steps are nearly all broken.  The sand is very soft and as you clamber down the sand dune a lot of the sand comes down the hill with you.  Parks needs to find a solution to this erosion problem here.  At least they need to put in the planks connected with chains down each side so that people heading up the hill there can get up hill.

I waded Milford Creek which was about knee to thigh deep.  Heading to the eastern end of Prion Beach there is now a lot of sand built up against the dunes and in places it would be about 15 metres high.  Past this sand hill I reached the spot where the pile of broken stairs were to head east.  Parks now expect you to try and crawl up the steep sand back with no stairs.  With every step forward you slide back down again.  It would be very difficult with no pack but extremely hard with 25kg on your back.  With every person that climbs up the bank, more plants are pulled down the bank with the loose sand.

I eventually struggled my way to the top of the bank, by desperately clinging to plants.  I reached the top and looked around.  There was no track to follow.  The 'old' track used to be very clear and end at the top of the stairs down the hill.  Now that the stairs have broken and slipped down the bank, the track up the hill comes out at a different point and there is no link to the track.  I wandered around for 5 minutes amongst the trees and found the track but this area needs some tapes to link it up again. (I reported this to the volunteer rangers at Cockle Creek)

I kept strolling through the next forest section and out to the buttongrass plain and then along to the right turn to Osmiridium camp.  The track down to the camp is pretty boggy.  I had the camp to myself.  I had a wash, cooked a meal and went to sleep.

 

Tuesday 14 Feb 2012 - I put on my wet walking clothes and packed up.  I left Osmiridium through the shortcut to the east that crosses a little creek and heads towards a small hill (a few metres high) on near the main South Coast Track.  It was another fine, warm day.  I climbed up into the forest towards Surprise Bay.  There were some recent big trees down.  I walked along Surpirse Bay beach thinking how beautiful that beach is.  The scenery is spectacular there and there was a 4-6 foot surf and no wind.

It was low tide and the lagoon crossing was less than a foot deep.  I continued up the hill and down to Granite Beach.  It is nice to walk along Granite Beach so you don't have to rock-hop along the whole beach.

I climbed the rocks to the campsite and set up in a spot I have used a lot before.  During the hot afternoon I had a swim in the surf and then a shower under the waterfall.  I relaxed for the afternoon ready to walk out to Cockle Creek tomorrow.

 

Wednesday 15 Feb 2012 - I got up at 5.45am and started walking at 7.10 with the steep hill onto the South Cape Range to start.  On the second part of the hill where there is the muddy trench in the buttongrass - this trench is now so eroded that in many places it is now worn down to the rock at the bottom of the trench.  Past this there is a long section of deep bog that is 'penned in' by the tree roots.  This lasted a long time until the track drops down to the only tiny creek on the range.  This was barely flowing but it was good enough.  While I sat and had a drink I could see the leeches moving towards me - sensing a good feed nearby.  After that I climbed up to Trackcutters Camp (left off the propaganda Parks map of the south coast).

From Trackcutters Camp I headed downhill, across the boarded buttongrass plain where I spotted a half-eaten tiger/copperhead snake.  I guess it was eaten by a bird of prey of some type.  I went slowly over the last few hills and down to the paradise of South Cape Rivulet.  As soon as I crossed the creek I put my pack down, took my boots off and went in for a swim to cool off.  I was surprised to find that there has been a big storm which has taken out about 5 metres of land on the point of land at S/C Rivulet and there were dead trees scattered everywhere on the beach.

After an hour off I continued over Coal Bluff which was very muddy and also had some big trees across the track.  I stopped at the Lion Rock creek to cool down again.  The temp. was over 30°C.  I finished the trip with a steady walk across the plain to Cockle Creek.  I was very lucky to get a lift back up to Lune River to get my car and the cold drink from the shop was beautiful on the way home.

I was still feeling cooked at home and had a cold shower for about 10 minutes to recover.  Overall it was a great trip across the range but I won't be rushing to do it again soon.  The dense scrub was extremely hard work.  I could have made it easier by limiting the pack to 20kg.  I would do that (somehow) if I went again.