“Perhaps there’s no better act of simplification than climbing a mountain. For an afternoon, a day, or a week, it’s a way of reducing a complicated life into a simple goal. All you have to do is take one step at a time, place one foot in front of the other, and refuse to turn back until you’ve given everything you have.” -Ken Ilgunas
In my last post I was disappointed to miss out on attempting the Mt Maroon summit. What a difference a week can make to one’s mood. I’ve had the opportunity to de-stress with a mountain walk, make some nature discoveries on an old mining site and enjoy a sunrise walk at a new beach. I also had the pleasure of meeting a Brisbane blogger I follow, who also enjoys photography and walking. So this week I am in the joyful position of having something fresh to write about…
A cool, clear day dawned on Easter Monday and as usual my hyperactive mind was whirling with possibilities. North, south, east or west? A new walk or an old walk? Since I was going solo I had a few safety issues to consider. I eventually chose to revisit a walk I did a couple of years ago with my daughter. Mt Edwards’ summit is a steep class 5, six kilometre return trail that begins at the far end of Moogerah Dam wall. It lies about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Ipswich, Queensland, above the picturesque Fassifern Valley.
The area is a favourite of mine and I have already shared some photographs in Mist and Magic.
There are no warnings at the beginning. Just a simple sign that says, “Summit 3km.”
On Easter Monday the trails were overgrown with weeds and grass.
And recent rain had turned some trails into small streams. What a contrast to the concrete city paths I’ve been restricted to lately.
It wasn’t long before I had the camera out and I was getting my knees filthy crawling about on the path. These little butterflies have teased me for years. However, on this occasion they were more interested in drinking than escaping. Thanks to Chris Sanderson for helping with the identification. The magic of Twitter!
Engrossed in the activities of “fluttering flowers,” I failed to notice the quiet approach of a man. Fortunately, he was just a considerate solo hiker and nature lover rather than an axe murderer. He didn’t want to disturb me and was waiting patiently.
Despite it being a cool day, it wasn’t long before humidity and the steep ascent had me glowing purple. I also discovered that my lycra running pants are not good in some conditions. The overgrown paths were often bordered by a pretty white daisy which produces an evil burr that bursts apart on contact.
Thick cotton trousers or jeans would have been better. I made the mistake of resting my backpack on some. After putting it back on I’d managed to transfer these delightful prickles to my back and hair. Not clever, Jane!
The paths got quite steep and rocky in places.
There were plenty of new colourful fungi to discover. Thank you to experienced blogger friend, Dayna Andreussi, for enthusiastically helping me to to identify these. Currently we are waiting on replies from mycologists to confirm so I will add the names at a later date.
There were numerous spiders to admire, including this St. Andrew’s Cross Spider.
And a hairy specimen hiding away in a leaf home.
Finally, a warning sign.
As well as a convenient wide stone resting throne. I almost felt quite regal while I panted and dripped sweat.
A rocky platform appeared.
So of course I had to stop again to take some pictures.
Thankfully there were some flowers other than daisies.
A little moss caught my attention as well.
And a leaf and lichen sharing a rock.
I’ve admired the artistic shadow shots other hikers have shared so I gave it a go myself. I think I look more like a Telly Tubby carrying a handbag than an adventure seeker!
A termites’ nest was a convenient seat.
After numerous camera stops to help lower the heart rate, I finally passed through a grove of grass trees and was rewarded with the summit view. At this point I was feeling both strangely alive and close to death from the exertion so a quick nap was in order. Fortunately, the axe murderers still hadn’t made it to Mt Edward or at least didn’t want to dirty their blades on my sweaty, smelly body. After all that effort, my addled brain forgot to take any pictures so I will have to share the summit view from my previous visit a couple of years ago.
As usual, the walk down was much faster but just as I was thinking, “Ah, I can relax now,” a highly venomous young eastern brown snake slithered across the path within a few inches of my shoe. It had been hidden by the long grass. Last week I wrote in my blog that I’d hoped to write about venomous snakes. I was only joking of course, but perhaps some force out there has a sense of humour. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a venomous snake on a hike before which I suppose is probably some kind of record for an Australian hiker. Anyway, the snake was more scared of me so I am still alive today to tell the tale.
Walking down always gives a different view but it was getting late and the snake appearance made my descent more tentative. I tended to have my eyes on the ground rather than searching for exciting photographic opportunities.
I did see a couple of glasswing butterflies by the path though.
And lifted my head occasionally to enjoy a few distant views.
And after that huge wall, here is something small to finish the trail.
I really wouldn’t recommend this walk to anyone without decent footwear, water and some snake bandages. It was not well maintained when I walked it and after rain was quite slippery in parts. However, I loved it for the challenge factor, the butterfly sightings and the views.
Here are a few old shots from my earlier walk with my daughter to finish up.
For more information about Mt Edwards and other walks at Moogerah Peaks check the Queensland National Parks site.
Next week’s post will be about my wander through Denmark Hill Conservation Estate, under which lies a network of abandoned mines.
Thanks for reading!