Friday, 21 April 2017

Macgregor Peak 2017

Today is the day. The weather forecast is for clear and warm so we're headed down the Forestier Peninsula to climb Macgregor Peak and visit the Magic Forest led by Bob.

Turning off onto Macgregor Road just south of Murdunna, we travel to our parking place, where we get ready to climb.

Three hours return. I think even Bob would be pushed to achieve that!

Using Google Earth Elevation Profile tells me it took us 2 hours and 1 minute to reach the top. 

More trees seem to be down across the track, so we'll be doing a lot of this.

The track is actually an old road and as I remember from our first walk down here, there are a couple of switch-backs leading up to a parking area (not a public one) just below the fire tower which will be our first stop.

That's what I remember, but Bob has other thoughts.

Bob briefing us before we go off track

Just before we started climbing, Bob admitted he'd only ever been down this track, never up
Oh well, at least the track is well marked.

Start of track marker, you'd never miss that. (The rock on the log in case you did)

Looking down the track
We continue climbing and there are some indications that there may have been a road up here MANY years ago.

We missed climbing this natural barrier...

...but not this one

Turning around, looking behind me I spot a view
I think the closer island is King George Island and the further one is Smooth Island.

Smooth Island, if you look at in Google Earth, has a jetty, buildings and what appears to be a solar panel farm along with a number of dirt roads. Actually the history is quite interesting and if you can't wait to learn more, CLICK HERE.

On we go, still climbing.

It's not long before we come back to the road we left earlier. This will take us up to the Fire Tower and Morning Tea.

The photo above of our break, reminds me of the convict history of this area. Matthew, Bob's son, sits like an armed guard on the tower while we convicts huddle below taking our meagre sustenance.

Times from the Fire Tower
Break finished, we head off towards the peak. The terrain has changed and the track isn't so steep.

We follow markers until a large downed tree blocks us. We head off following cairns until we finally rejoin the original track.

There must be a cairn around here somewhere
 In the two photos below, I was struck by the difference in vegetation between the right side of the track and the left. That's a distance of about a metre.

Right side of track

Left side of track

Another form of marker, rare at this point

We continue moving from cairn to cairn, still making our way up. We reach a section where the rock cairn builders went a bit crazy.

There may have been a couple more just out of shot

Looking back We get a view of Incat's latest ferry built for Denmark undergoing sea trails
Some welcome green

We're back on the official track

First fungus

The bush is changing with more ferns and moss

I was asked to identify this. "It's green and not moving, must be a plant."
Soon we reach the top of Macgregor Peak with it's old trig marker. There is a short hidden track to an outlook giving views to the south.

Macgregor Peak Trig Marker

Looking south towards Cape Huay and the Lanterns

Closer view

Cape Pillar in the far distance
Not obvious in the photo above, but you could make out the Tasman Island light.
Pirates Bay
On we go, heading towards the Magic Forest - a local name for the area.

Tree engulfing a rock

Poor photo I know. You don't get a chance to stop for very long so tripods are out
 This small skull was lying next to the track. I first thought it might be a bandicoot skull due to the size. The teeth were small molars and the nose part is very long. Looking at examples on the internet, I don't think it is a bandicoot, so I'm open to suggestions.

Pepper Berry
As we were walking Wayne spotted many leaves lying on the ground, cut off as if by cockatoos. Identifying them as the Pepper Berry he tried one. He also convinced Renata to try tasting one.  After about a minute, the heat hit and there were many strange noises coming from in front of me.

As I was going to write about this, I decided to try a couple of the berries. They are actually quite an interesting taste. Quite spicy on first bite and developing quite a bit of heat in the after taste. They are raised commercially, just south of where I live and now I can see why.

We continue on, finding a spot for lunch with an outlook south.

Lunch view

Lunch finished. we continue on. We're reaching an area of many man ferns now as we head down.

Bracket fungus near old saw mill site

Finally we come to Schofields Road and head left.

Schofields Road
The bush seems to be reclaiming this road, it's not nearly as wide as it was the first time.

We walk along for a while when I come to Bob emerging from the bush near an orange tape. Evidentially, this wasn't the one he was looking for.

Bob was looking for this track leading up
We're told this is a short cut to the road we want heading back.

It does come out onto the road, but short cut? Not so much if you look at the map. Still, it beats road walking.

We continue along, passing the old quarry and other indications of past and present wood cutting, heading to the cars. This is actually a section of Macgregor Road.

Some people are always happy
We had 13 walkers and Bob took us for 8.83km in 4:42hrs. Using the 1km for every 100 metres climbed rule, you could add 14km. but that sounds excessive to me.

It was a good walk, always a joy to do.

****************************Bravery Award********************************

This is a special award to Alex who discovered she had a leech on her stomach on the way back to Kingston. No hysterics, just a calm announcement and refusal of stopping to deal with it. I believe a couple of names were suggested for her new 'pet' which was taken home to be dealt with.

Click here to download GPX file

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