Friday, January 26, 2018

Grampians NP, Victoria Australia

The Grampians are magical... with lots of wild flowers, a beat short walk to "venus baths" - a series of rock pools, minutes from the campground at Halls Gap.  There are also boulders to do bouldering on here, and I set up a top rope and self belayed up a short section.  Very good quality granite, nice slabs for long multi pitch climbs...  must come back and do "elephants hide" which is a huge slab at 20 to 30 degrees above Venus baths. Gets hot in Summer, but good shade under trees. 

Did 2 weeks here in December 2017 before catching the ferry to Tasmania. 

Testing out hiking gear and such.  Did a 2 day walk, Up to the top of Mt Rosea 1000m (carrying 5l of water up) , then Southward and a last camp above Halls Gap township, overlooking The Granite slab "elephant's hide".

Good views from mt Rosea. The new tent was tested out as there were some strong gusts and a little rain. No condensation issues, despite being single wall.

This is a Rab Latok mountain 2 tent, single layer "Event" fabric - a more breathable version of Gore-Tex.  Designed for alpine and antarctic conditions - high winds, snow...
weighs 1.83 kg,  enough room for 2 sleeping mats. Got it because I like sleeping on mountain tops and saddles, where the views are awesome. And later for winter backcountry skiing and such. 

Easy to pitch in wind as has no fly. Takes a bit of practice as you get into the tent, put the poles inside, arc them and slot them into the corners. I have now added velcro and a mossie net on the front door and rear vent.  

All in all, the Gramps is one of my favourite National Parks.  The knobbly rocks and pools are quite magical. An hour or so North West is mt Arapiles, an isolated mini monolith of rock, world-famous for rock climbing, mainly "trad", or unbolted. Lots of routes, some beginners multi-pitch routes. And a cheap NP campground.  I've climbed there before (see this blog using the search facility). 

The pictures are all low-res as I was testing a new light camera. (click on a photo for larger version). 

Mt Rosea camp. 

 Elephants Hide granite slab and gorge. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cradle mountain NP 2 day Hike.

Hike Goes left up to Hanson Peak then down from the saddle to a large lake. 

Snow in gulley on East face of Cradle Mnt. 

Magical Lake Just before the Hut. 

The custom mossie net worked well and was essential due to lots of march flies. 
Cooking in the tent with a wooden board for safety under the cooker. 
Looking back at the camp from the plateau
At the plateau, Barn Bluff in the distance South.
Neat Emergency shelter. 

A very nice hike, one of the few overnight options in this part of the park unless you pay up the 200$ for the Overland track.  It goes left of Dove lake, then down to the Scott Kilvert memorial hut.  I camped on the lake just before the hut. 

The lake just before the main lake was magical, with dragonflies gliding, Cradle mountain behind, with some snow in a small gully (see above). It had snowed 6 weeks before (mid december) about a foot of snow... 

The heat was intense on non-cloud days - a very burning tasmanian sun. And quite a few March flies around lakes...  a mossie net for the tent a must - fortunately I had just spent a few days customising the tent with velcro and a mossie net. 
I retreated into the tent under shade to get out of the sun for the middle of the day.  

Day 2, hiked up 300m to the Plateau where the overland track is, behind Cradle mtn. Then back North to Kitchen hut and down the steep track with waist high chains from Marion's lookout to the lake. Back to camp via the free shuttle.

Hitched out that afternoon and got a lift with an American-Australian, right back to Launceston. We also Bouldered together in Cataract Gorge, a few minutes from Launceston CBD. 

Hitck-Hiking is very easy in Tasmania. And the distances are small. 

Cradle Mountain NP, Tasmania

"Waldheim Chalets" first made 1918 approx means "house in the forest",
Inspired the american writer Thoreau to build a house in the forest.

View of Dove lake from the climb up to Hanson's  Peak
The Tough boulder climb up to Cradle Mountain summit. 

View of barn Bluff and the 80km (5-8 day) Overland track North, from Cradle mtn.
Wombat Pool
Paddymelon marsupials from the tent at Discovery Parks camping area

The Austrian pioneer who pushed for cradle mtn NP and constructed Waldheim chalets before there was a road.

(Click on a photo to get larger version and photo menu).

And a bit of improvisation on my plastic version of a Native American Flute.... I get inspired when I sit in front of mountain creeks and such. 

Spent 5 days here... did most of the day walks in 3 days, then did an overnight hike (on this blog).  Was lucky with the weather - virtually no rain at all. 

There is one campsite - Discovery parks. They do a good job with sites nestled in the bush, and big log-cabin type amenities. 23$ for a tent site, which they usually have a few free. If you are coming with a van or caravan, reserve in advance. A small shop at the reception with the basics: eggs, bread, salami, chocolate, milk, meat etc. 
They will also store gear for you. 

A very gob-smacking park, with that view over Dove lake. And a nice challenging hike up Cradle Mnt, with the last 40 minutes pure bouldering with tall sticks to mark the way. I drank the water in streams and lakes with no issues. There is some water before the boulder hike up Cradle, which you will need to refill, as the sunny days are Intense ! The Tassie sun is especially sharp, with a thin Ozone layer above.  One burns very easily... sun cream and hat, preferably legionnaire-type advised. 

I swam in the lakes - very refreshing.  Some very nice short walks along streams in the shade of mossy trees, reminiscent of New Zealand. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sterling Ranges NP, WA

In November of 2017 , I spent a week there.
Neat little NP campsite for 10$. 
Also hiked up a peak and slept at the top. 

Bluff knoll is a sacred aboriginal site, and interestingly, I met several groups of inspiring people at the top.
There were a pleasant group of 14 yr olds from a Catholic school, we talked a bit in French as they were learning it. And I did a bit of improv on my Native American flute, which they liked. One of the girls said I was “ a really cool guy” and did a selfie with me. Always good for my 47 yr old ego. 

Another girl said a few verses from the mass in French: 
“ Je vous salue marie, plein de grace, au nom du pere, du fils et du Saint esprit”.
(Hail Mary, full of grace, in the name of the father, the son and the holly ghost.). It stirred something in me. Anyone who discounts religion completely is being shallow in my opinion.  Yes they tend to drift away from their founders intent and become dogmatic and intolerant sometimes, or just a kind of social club... but when I hear those words, or the psalms... I am stirred.

I also find a lot of wisdom in for example the Hindu Vedas, which are a collection of stories. 

WA has the most amazing array of wildflowers I have seen... and the Sterling Ranges has more species than the whole of the British Isles.   

Theres also a few neat cliffs for rock climbing. 

I also met a guy and ended up talking about the need for men’s groups in today’s world, and my ideas on starting up outings which combine outdoor camping and discussions about mythology, mens issues etc.  Not the first time i’ve met other men who agree. 
The aboriginals used to have sacred mountains for men, and others for women. And they had time apart for “mens business”  and “women’s business”. . 

The half-baked lip service given to “ men and women are interchangeable” that is so common now in education, corporations, media... is creating major stress and alienation for both sexes, in my opinion. Feminists think they are on top, but they are only on top of a life of permanent resentment, penis envy, and a shrinking pool of men who will put up with their ball-breaking nonsense. 

I Find it both funny and sad, when I watch movies like “Thor” that the only really masculine character which Natalie Portman is attracted to is not of this earth (Thor) .... 

Ironically, she is quite the pushy feminist scientist in the movie, but cant make the conceptual leap to understand that it is her brand of pushy belittling feminism that has created a generation of boys raised to suppress their masculinity - by their feminist overlords (education, many mothers, media)... 
Who then frustrate and dissapoint their ersatz-feminist girlfriends, who tell them to “man up” etc.... dammed if you do, dammed if you dont is the box that men find themselves in. 
Personnally, I just take Sean Connery as a masculine role model, and any girl who finds that “ offensive” can go talk to another guy...

Generation Z is waking up to the PC nonsense though, so fun times ahead when they stop taking crap from their overlords.