Thursday, 10 March 2016

Lower Mountain Tracks from Ferntree 2016

Today we're walking on the lower slopes of Mt. Wellington, led by Ron.

The weather is a bit cloudy with the top of the mountain shrouded and a temperature of 15C in Kingston. This drops to 12C when we reach Ferntree, but the prediction is for warmer, clearer weather later in the day.

Walking up the steps into Fern Glade

It's actually far darker then the photos show and the camera is taking long exposures explaining blurring of figures.

We'll be turning right towards Silver Falls
 We continue on and I'm surprised at the amount of water in Browns River.

Coprinus comatus or shaggy inkcap, shaggy mane or, my particular favourite, lawyers wig

Browns River

Silver Falls

Interesting black fungus

We continue climbing Reids Track. Everything is up at the moment. I hate to say it, but Bob is looking pretty good, Ron!

Addie makes it to the top

Looking back

We reach the Springs and settle down for Morning Tea

People were admiring the pattern of droplets on this feather

I noticed the colour of these gum tree trunks

Break finished, we continue on towards Junction Cabin
We're on the Lenah Valley Track now and it's easy walking.

Little Man (boy?) Fern

Cyathodes juniperina or Pink Berry

Old rock fall

A few places offer glimpses of distant hills

We continue along until we come to the turnoff to Sphinx Rock. We have some new walkers and guests so we take them to enjoy the view.

Unlike some years ago when children could run screaming down the track to the rock and out into space, there is now a childproof gate.

Fortunately, Peter kindly opened and held the gate for the rest to go through. Both coming and going. Which is good as otherwise I might still be there.

Difficult to go off track

View over Hobart. Low cloud and little colour

Just wait awhile, and it'll be bright and sunny!

Top of the rock

Looking towards the top, but the cloud comes down to the bottom of the Organ Pipes

South East

We return to the Lenah Valley track and continue on to the junction with the Shoobridge Track, where we turn.

Gaultheria hispida or Snow Berry

The track leads over some more rock falls

Here's where we turn off
We're heading towards the Octopus Tree. On the way we cross the Sawmill Track, one I don't think I've been on. I'm probably going to regret that statement as it's a steep track.

We reach the short turnoff that leads around the Octopus Tree, most of us stayed on the main trail while others had a look at the tree. I've photographed it in the past for other walks on the mountain.

I was at the rear when some said move over as someone was coming down with a dog. It turned out to be Bob's son and his Norwegian elk hound (didn't catch it's name). Evidently, our voices carry some distance when we're walking. Who knew? That might explain the lack of wildlife in sight when we walk.

After all the hellos were said, man and dog continued on ahead as we did after a short time.

Nature knows how to plant a rock garden

We're heading down now as you can see from the change in vegetation

A glimpse of the Derwent

Lots of Man Ferns in the gully

 Some where around here we went straight instead of turning off. When we turned around I suddenly became leader. We've turned onto the Betts Vale Track and after a short distance I came upon this sign.

There is a VERY large, rotten tree that has blocked the track. There is a gap that's been cut so we can get through. The photo doesn't do justice to the size, just take it that the gap was head height.

Coming down Betts Vale track... this

A very rotten tree

Climb down here, turn left and squeeze through some saplings to get back on track

We all made it and continue down to O'Gradys Falls just over the bridge.

O'Gradys Falls

I've had a look at my books and a quick look online, but I don't know who O'Grady was. Any information will be gratefully received.

We walk on and reach the junction with Woods Track where we settle for lunch.
After lunch, Ron kindly leads us UP Woods track to the exit on Pinnacle Road.

On we go, leaving Woods track, crossing over to Fern Glade track and heading for Rocky Whelans Cave.

This was one of the hideouts of John 'Rocky' Whelan. If you want to know more, here are a couple of websites. Ignore the photograph in the first one, I'm pretty sure Rocky Whelan didn't wear red gloves. The second site takes you to a newspaper article of the time (1850s) with Whelan's confession. He was a nasty piece of work.

Click Here for some background on Rocky Whelan.

Click Here for his confession

 Back to the present. Several of us had already seen the cave (more of a depression) so waited for the others to return. Bob had led them over the top of the cave which I'll look forward to next time. I have been on top, but didn't have time to explore any further.

Always the showman, Addie dances his way back to the main track

The others just walk
On we go on the Fern Glade Track now, heading down and reaching the junction with Radfords Track.

Click Here for the story of this race and George Radford.

In a pensive mood, we continue heading down to the cars.

The tracks drops down sharply now

I was trying for intrepid, but only managed shifty

This is interesting. A gum is growing vertically and joined to it a Man Fern is growing over the track

From the other side. They look like good friends

The sun has come out and it's a different day from the morning
We had 14 walkers and covered 9.73km in 4:29hrs. Using the formula you can add 5-7km to the total.

An enjoyable walk and the weather cooperated.

Click here to download GPX file

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