Great Expectations – The Mount Maroon Version

Mt Maroon and Stinking Roger

Whenever my hikes don’t run to plan, I’m reminded of the words, “The best-laid schemes of mice and men,” from a Robert Burns’ poem. This in turn brings to mind a couple of grim scenes from John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men. I doubt that the English teacher who chose this book for my class envisaged that 30 years later one of her students would still be having flashbacks. My recent hike at Mt Maroon involved another visit from the now controversial Steinbeck classic. 

Ever since I read that Mt Maroon has one of the best 360 degree views in Queensland, I’ve wanted to attempt the ascent. Although only a 6km walk, it’s rated class 5 and regarded as a blood pumping challenge with the risk of rock falls. National Parks recommends you set aside a day to do it and avoid the warmer months although I have seen estimates of 5-6 hours on dedicated hiking sites. Vertical trachyte columns, the remains of an extinct volcano, make Mt Maroon a popular climbing destination with the Ruby of India route being quite well known.

Mt Maroon

The mountain was originally known as Wahlmoorum , meaning “sand goanna” in the Yuggera language and is part of Mt Barney National Park, one of the largest remaining areas of natural vegetation in south-east Queensland. It’s a 90 minute drive south-west of Brisbane and located at the end of Cotswold Road, 2.7km east of the Mt Maroon township on the Boonah-Rathdowney Road.

I took this picture of a sign at the Cotswold Track entrance which gives an indication of the general direction. Signage is poor and although parts of the track are well-worn you should seek instructions from sites such as AussieBushwalker to help with navigation.

Indicative Map of Cotswold Track up Mt Maroon

Given strong warnings about this hike I abandoned my original plans to go solo and took along a past walking partner who may be familiar to some of you. Lycra Man features in the trips How to Torture a Hiking Partner and Ngungun.

It would probably be difficult to find two people less alike than us. In the animal world, Lycra Man would be a frenetic kelpie dog. I’d be more of a languid cat. He’s a get from A to B as fast as possible kind of walker while I’m the stop and stare at flowers kind. He’s an extravert who thrives on company while I’m an introvert who needs solitude.

When describing Mt Maroon to him, I emphasised the difficulty level and the possible dangers. He assured me, “If you can do it, I can!” Given his sporting credentials this was not an idle boast. His list of achievements includes hockey, basketball, squash, cricket, golf, cross country running, cycling and karate.

Let’s now compare that with my credentials – a shiny yellow ribbon when my tunnel ball team came third in primary school. While it was a glorious moment for me at the time, it doesn’t quite match Lycra’s man sporting resume does it? I did successfully hold the title of queen of the academic nerds for many years though. The only marathon events I participated in involved movies and books. So with this in mind, it seemed that if anyone was going to struggle with this hike it would be the short, dumpy, half-blind, middle-aged woman with dodgy knees.

We stopped to admire a few of the many bucolic landscapes along the Boonah-Rathdowney Road. A cold morning and a cloudless blue sky promised perfect mountain walking conditions.

Mt Maroon farmland

The last 3.5km of dirt road was quite scenic as well.

Dirt road at Mt Maroon

Mt Maroon from dirt road 1

Cows grazed in nearby fields, oblivious to silly human desires to risk life and limb for a view. Despite their dopey  big-eyed expressions, cows are pretty smart. They don’t try to climb steep rocky mountains just for fun.

Cattle at Mt Maroon

By the time we arrived at the grassy carpark beside a dam, it was compulsory coffee time. Out came the thermos and we lingered to watch birds, none of which were considerate enough to allow me to photograph them.

Lagoon at Mt Maroon from carpark

Finally we set off on the track to be confronted with this sign and a separate warning not to begin the walk after midday.

Warning sign - Mt Maroon

Given I’d been up at the crack of dawn getting ready, I knew this was not going to be a problem for us but I dutifully checked my watch anyway. 11.45am! What? The time thief had visited again. Why does this always happen when I hike with others?   Somewhat disappointed I modified my plan. We would see how far we could go in two hours and reassess the situation. Lycra Man seemed quite attached to the sign though and was furiously exercising his eyebrows but I am accustomed to seeing these facial expressions when sharing rare walks with him. We continued on towards the next sign.

These pathogen hygiene stations are becoming more common in our area in an attempt to prevent the spread of Phytophthora cinnamon, an introduced soil fungus that causes significant damage to native trees.

Pathogen Hygiene Station - Mt Maroon

Pathogen hygiene station for shoes

The beginning of the Cotswold Track was a pleasant walk through fields. If it was a warmer day I would have been concerned about reptilian surprises.

Scene from Maroon

Grassy paths along Mt Maroon track

However, the reason for the class 5 grading became all too clear. It’s steep. It’s rocky.  It just keeps going up…

Forest surrounding track

And up…

Rocky track at Mt Maroon

And up…

Steep track 2

And up.

Mt Maroon climb

Here I am anticipating being hit by dislodged rocks.

Jane on steep track at Mt Maroon

Being oxygen–deprived from anaemia, I used the excuse of needing photos for my blog to take short rests while up ahead Lycra Man bounded along.

Here I am “taking pictures.” Notice the smile. Let’s just forget that cats will still purr when in pain.

Jane at Mt Maroon

The forest was strangely quiet –almost eerie. I’d been hoping to catch sight of a rock wallaby or rare glossy black cockatoos but had to be content with tree bark, rock textures and lichen.

types of bark at Mt Maroon

Rock textures at Mt Maroon

Resin on tree trunk

rock textures at Mt Maroon 2

I was surprised to catch up with Lycra Man who was lingering at the next sign.

Danger sign

A few months ago he had a close encounter with death while cycling and now seems less eager to risk his life than usual. He expressed concern at my snail pace and wondered if I would find the descent difficult after the arduous ascent. I assured him I am usually much faster going down. It’s only the ascent I need to take slowly.

Eventually the scenery included young grass trees.

Grass trees at Mt Maroon

View with grass tree

Glimpses of one of the ridges teased us and  had me anticipating the summit views.

Mt Maroon - view on ascent

View through trees at Mt Maroon Track

Mt Maroon from track

And still the path continued upward…

Forest and steep ascent

Tall gum tree forest - Mt Maroon

Grass tree and rocks at Mt Maroon

Eventually we  came to a cliff face. I’d been warned not to be fooled into thinking I had to climb it. Instead,  we took a path  downhill again which brought us to the gully track and another rocky ascent. By this stage it was approaching 2pm and time to decide if it was sensible to keep going. Being almost winter, sunset would be earlier and we’d had a few 1-2 degree Celsius nights leading up to the walk. We weren’t keen to risk having to walk back down the rocky path in fading light or get stuck there for the night without warm clothes.  Based on my slow ascent, Lycra Man was convinced I would struggle on the return. I was disappointed but it turned out to be a wise decision as the descent did prove a little tricky for one of us.

Lycra Man appeared to have swapped his shoes for roller skates. After continuing struggles and in a moment of complete madness he announced his assessment of the situation. Apparently my 10kg posterior helped balance me on the way down whereas his taller svelte physique made him more prone to slipping.

With the added benefit of my 10kg derrière, I descended quite rapidly without any problems while poor  Lycra Man kept dislodging rocks and tried to avoid a broken ankle. I kept well away to avoid being hit by flying rocks.

Later we were to discover that the real reason for the difference between us was due to our shoes. I use high impact, grippy netball shoes on such walks. His running shoes had unsuitable grip. Perhaps my generous rear end did help as well? Comfort food has many benefits.

With the walk cut short I focused on finding photographs on the way back to share on my blog. After a lot of searching I came across these camouflage experts.

The bark mimicking grasshopper, Coryphistes ruricola.

bark-mimicking grasshopper

Possibly the brown-backed bush katydid, Ducetia japonica?

katydid

grasshopper - Mt Maroon

Aphids were feasting on milkweed sap while at the same time a ladybeetle munched on them.

aphids and ladybeetle on milkweed

milkweed seeds

Another couple of bugs were sucking away, oblivious to the desires of human folk to climb mountains.

bugs 2

And a diurnal magpie moth, Nyctemera secundiana, flaunted its symmetry.

magpie moth

Disappointment comes from unfulfilled expectations.  Usually I go hiking with few expectations and come away pleasantly surprised but on this occasion I’d really hoped to make it to the top. The craggy peak of Mt Maroon had put me under its spell. Every time I glimpsed it through the trees, my desire grew. There’s a bit of magic in mountains sometimes.  Next time I’ll try to maintain my  usual relaxed attitude.

Mt Maroon view 4

We said goodbye to the cows who cared nothing for summit views and headed home with  our limbs and brains intact. The last scene from Of Mice and Men haunted me once again. Thank you Mr Steinbeck! Will I ever be rid of Lennie and George?

Cattle at Mt Maroon 2

Despite the steep gradient I loved what I did do of the walk and I’ll return in a few weeks. On the next occasion I plan to outwit the time thief and start early, making sure hiking partners are not wearing roller skates. Hiking poles would be useful as well.

If you can’t wait for my next attempt and are desperate to see the views from Mt Maroon you can check out the pictures on Cameron and Maree’s High and Wide blog. They eat these kind of walks for breakfast and Cameron is an avid rock climber as well.

For detailed comments and  instructions about the walk you can also check the AussieBushwalking site

Queensland National Parks site contains more information about the whole Mt Barney area.

Thanks for reading!

 

74 thoughts on “Great Expectations – The Mount Maroon Version

    • Thanks, John, for mentioning “Travels with Charley”! I had never heard of Steinbeck’s travelogue. I’m very keen to read it now. I do enjoy his style and have read “The Pearl” and “Grapes of Wrath” as well. They are not really cheerful books, but are masterfully written. Thank you for your continued kind support of my blog. I appreciate it! 🙂

  1. You’re opening line caught my eye with the Burns’ quote. A few days ago I found myself climbing a mountain with a line from Vonnegut, “Of all the words of mice and men the saddest are it might have been.” running through my head 🙂

    Really enjoyed this post. Great pictures and a fun read!

    • Thanks! Yes, I’m familiar with the Vonnegut words too. Great quote. Isn’t it funny how these words written by people we’ve never met and/or who have died many years ago can still have such an impact on our minds. The power of the pen! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I must admit it was difficult to write because I was disappointed at having not made it to the top and wasn’t going to bother. I appreciate the lovely feedback. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Turning back because of time or weather is never something to feel bad about. You did the smart thing. The mountain will be there tomorrow and you’re alive to try again.

        • Yes, it’s best to take that safer option, particularly when you have the responsibility of other walkers’ lives. It’s not fair to emergency services to take silly risks. Yep, the mountain isn’t going to go away any time soon! Thanks. 🙂

  2. You are so determined and so brave to attempt that dangerous hike, I admire your courage. I particularly liked the photographs you took of the bush, I could almost smell it.

    • Thank you, Susan. You are kind. I’m not sure about being brave. Perhaps stubborn? 🙂 I’m really glad you enjoyed the bush photos. The forest was quite magnificent to walk through and I hope to get back again soon and just take more time to enjoy it. It really does require an early start I think. When I walk through gum tree forests now I can’t help but remember your words about how much you enjoyed our trees all those years ago. It makes me appreciate them more now. I’m looking forward to another Montenegro post from you. 🙂

  3. I admire your gumption as well. I particularly liked the details of the bark, though I enjoyed all the images. It was as though I went along with you on the hike without the strain involved. 😉

    • Thanks, Gunta. I am a bit stubborn. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to the very top but I enjoyed the first attempt. I don’t like to hurry so it will be great to start the walk earlier. I’m hoping if I’m quiet that I’ll spy some rock wallabies and other critters. That’s the part I enjoy most although views from a mountain top are wonderful. I’m glad I could give you the experience without the huffing and puffing. 🙂

  4. Great photos and great story :). I’d heard of Ruby of India but I’d forgotten about it until now. Might have to go try it out now when I get back in Australia!

    • Thanks, Chris. I read your recent two posts about your climbs last night. Now that’s what I call real thrills and risk! Yeah, the Ruby of India is well known. An experienced climber had a bad fall a year ago and got critical injuries. It’s a tough one but very rewarding apparently. I’ll look forward to reading your write-up if you do the climb. Better still, let me know ahead of time and I’ll come and watch! 🙂

  5. I am reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ with my year 9’s at the moment. It’s when George and Lennie are walking from the bus towards the ranch I guess.

    • Hi! I didn’t want to give away the plot of the book too much and spoil it for those who haven’t read the novella, but the scenes that flash into my mind are usually the very end and also the last interaction between Curly’s wife and Lennie. Lennie and the final interactions with the puppy and the mouse also spring to mind. There is a real sense of foreboding throughout the book and glimmers of hope too. It wasn’t a happy novel but certainly one that I wanted to read in one sitting. You are brave teaching it to your Swedish students as there are quite a few cultural aspects that may need explaining. You’re a great teacher though so I’m sure you’ll do it brilliantly. I’d recommend the Australian novel, Jasper Jones, for young adults as well. Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from you. 🙂

  6. Oh lol that was brilliant thankyou! As a fellow dumpy, half-blind, middle aged woman with dodgy knees, I was also really hoping you’d reach the top. And your discovery that a well-weighted back porch helps balance on descent has given me new courage! Last time I seriously hiked I was of a different build entirely and have always slid downhill. Now I have hope that I will solidly stay attached to the earth! (thankyou comfort food indeed!) I’m going to search for some grippy-soled shoes and see what I can do.

    • Heheh. I’m glad it gives you hope! I love the term, “well-weighted back porch.” I wish I’d thought to use it! These days I’m learning to embrace my new body. Sitting on hard surfaces is more comfy with the added cushioning and I do find I don’t fall over as much. With ascending and descending, I also recommend you use my crab crawl sideways technique. It looks ridiculous but it seems to work! Grippy shoes really help. I’ve found hiking boots a bit too slippery for me. Special climbing shoes do all the right things. They may be costly though. I accidentally got shoes that are recommended for netballers and they’ve been pretty good. Let me know where you plan to walk and maybe we can do it together. As you’ve read, I take my time! Great to hear from you and thanks for the kind feedback. 🙂

    • Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my blog, however I think your photographic skills are already great. If you do give this walk a go make sure you check the AussieBushwalking site I included as it has comments from lots of people who have done the walk and specific details of how to get there. Parts of it can be confusing. I haven’t described the last section that I didn’t do. It’s steep but I really enjoyed the excitement part of getting higher and higher and I’ll head back again one day. I look forward to reading about it in your blog if you do the walk! Maybe you will bump into me there. 🙂

      • Thanks for the tip Jane, I will take a look at that site. I tackled Mt Warning last year, which was quite a long and steep hike, with a haul-yourself-up-along-a-chain section at the end. But the view was totally worth the effort. I think it will be the same here.

        • I’d love to do Mt Warning. If you’ve done that one you’ll be fine doing this I am sure. I’ve had Mt Warning on my radar for a while. How wonderful it would be to watch the sunrise from the top. I think I would find the haul-yourself-up-a chain-section daunting though. I have very weak arms! This is quite a hot walk which is why they recommend it for the winter months. I plan to take more water next time as I went through 2 litres fairly quickly. 🙂

    • Thank you, Tom. I must admit that I really enjoy all the little things just as much as the big views. That’s another reason I take so long to do my walks. I love discovering all the small details, especially the creatures and the bark textures. One day I hope to walk somewhere that has lots of wildflowers. I’m quite envious of your beautiful fields and forests of them. Your pictures are a real treat. Spring is a good time to see them at Maroon apparently. 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for the link Jane. Still a thoroughly enjoyable post. I think making it as far as you did means you shouldn’t have any trouble with the rest, given more time.

    Maree and I were there on Sunday actually. I should have invited you. 🙂 It was Maree’s first time on the mountain and she did really well. Unfortunately one of my biggest fears came real… I left my camera sitting on the dining table at home. Then to make matters worse I accidentally deleted the shots I took on my phone once I got home as well. Comedy of errors.

    • Oh Cameron, I do sympathise about the photographs! Sometimes I wonder if I should try not taking a camera but I’m sure I would feel a bit naked without it. Thanks for the encouragement about my attempt. I really want to get back there soon. It certainly wasn’t a good idea to start so late in the day. I couldn’t have gone with you on Sunday anyway as I was visiting my eldest son for a belated birthday lunch, but thanks for the thought. I’m glad Maree did well. You will have to take her back with the camera soon! A pleasure to link to your blog. I always check out your hikes for handy info and inspiration for places to go. I hope to bump into you one of these days. Thanks. 🙂

  8. Wow! What a great story and well told, I love your pics especially the texture ones of the trees. My daughter who is now a professional photographer use to say’texture dad, texture!’ when we were out walking, because she knew how much I loved photographing them, as you would have seen in mybeautifulseries. You capture so much beautiful material, the insects, creatures and bush, we are on that journey with you Jane! Thanks for sharing, a great post!

    • How encouraging you are to a newbie like me. Thank you! I’m attracted to textures. I spend a lot of time just enjoying the different surfaces on tree trunks and rocks. I feel like I am back to being able to enjoy those things in the same way I did as a child perhaps. I notice so much more these days than I’ve done for years. I suppose it’s partly due to not having the responsibility of caring for three young children anymore. My youngest is 20 this year. There is simply more mental and physical energy available these days. Thanks for your kind support. I will have to delve further into your beautiful series blog as I know it contains many treasures. Have a lovely week! 🙂

      • Jane, you are such a kindred heart, we share so much in common, seeing everything as so much mor beautiful and appreciating the little things in nature, like texture has been our joy now the children have gone also. It is wonderful to read how you are intrepidly going out on adventures as we do, and earthing with the beautiful Creation, it is just so good for us. This will be the theme of my second book when I write it, richest blessing my dear blogging friend, enjoy your week:-)

  9. While I can imagine that the views from the top would make the climb worth it, I think you were correct in turning back before the top since you got such a late start. Better safe than sorry. 😉 I do hope that you’re able to make it all the way the next time.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the photos, and your humorous way of telling the story!

    • Thank you, Jerry! I’m glad you found the story humorous as I was struggling to work out how I would share it and almost decided not to bother. Sometimes just being honest about the “issues” works out. 😉
      Yes, it was certainly the right decision to turn back when we did. Usually I’m the first to go with safety but I think I clung a bit long to the “dream” on this occasion. Sometimes I can be a bit stubborn! Have a great week and be safe on the roads. Always lovely to hear from you. 🙂

  10. Very enjoyable blog as always Jane. I have a intriguing memories of a walk up Mt Maroon from many years ago – my walking companion had a bad experience with some prawn toast the day before, so somewhere up the hill, hopefully now very much biodegraded, there are some disturbing underpants!! Yikes! As I remember, there is a really cool crater type of thing right at the top. We went for a walk up Mt Barney the next day, which involved camping at the bottom and starting in the dark. Now that I found pretty scary at times – I froze and had to be talked across one bit of rock. But worth it to see the evolution of the landscape from gully rainforest through to heathland.

    By the way I saw this link and thought of you – wonderful pictures of the tree bark as usual! Thanks for sharing your adventure. http://www.brainpickings.org/2010/11/02/cedric-pollet-bark/

    • Oooh! Just took a look at the bark link. So beautiful! I love it. Thanks! Well, I’m very glad those undies are well and truly gone by now. I hope the walking partner had something else to cover the precious bits? I almost did the same thing some weeks back when I planned to walk up Mt Maroon. Fortunately the abdominal cramps started before I started the walk or I could have left my own underwear on the mountain! Maybe it’s the fear of falling off the summit that does it? I’m really looking forward to checking out more of Mt Barney National Park. As you say, the landscape changes dramatically. I’ve seen some stunning pics of the area! Thanks for sharing your experiences of the area. It made me laugh and has also encouraged me to head back soon. I appreciate your lovely feedback again! The bark link is fabulous. Have a terrific week. 🙂

  11. Quite a climb indeed!
    Glad you didn’t encounter any “reptilian surprises”, do people carry anti venom with them at all? Seems like a great number of things out there can induce serious cases of death!

    • Thank you! I always carry 3-4 pressure bandages in my backpack so if a snake bites my limb I am able to wrap it up firmly to help prevent the spread of the venom through the lymphatic system until help arrives. It’s important to keep still as movement also helps spread the venom. I don’t know of anyone personally who carries anti venom. We need to use different ones for specific snakes I think so it is important for medical staff to have the species identified first. Yes, it’s certainly true that we have many venomous snakes and spiders here and a few dangerous jellyfish as well. However, we do not have large land predators such as bears and large cats and wolves so in that regard we are lucky. Thanks for commenting. Lovely to hear from you! 🙂

      • Ah I see, pressure bandages, very interesting. I’m going to do a bit of research on the topic, inspired by your post!
        It is true there aren’t any large predators. Are the baby eating dingoes still a worry? 😛

        • It is interesting how the venom acts. My grandfather used to supply venomous brown snakes to make anti-venom. He would catch them with his bare hands. Sadly, I never knew about his early life until he died otherwise I would have asked him about it.
          Actually, we do have problems with dingoes in some parts of Australia. I think there were even two deaths on Fraser Island some years back. The problem occurs when humans feed them and they lose their fear. The numbers build up on the island and there is less food for them. The dogs start to expect food from humans and are no longer timid. There are now signs up warning people not to feed the dingoes and people are warned to be careful on walks. I’ve lived on outback properties where there are dingoes but they always ran away from us. So it’s more a case of human interaction having contributed to the problem. Most of our fears when hiking are about small things such as snakes and spiders and if you live in far northern Australia, crocodiles in the rivers or marine creatures such as jellyfish and stonefish. 🙂

  12. Men! What cheek! You certainly showed him!
    How could I have missed this walk? Definitely needs to go on the To Do list. Awesome post Jane 🙂

    • Hahah…don’t worry, Dayna, I am pretty sure he regretted those words as it meant I had plenty of ammunition to tease him later! It gave me something to liven up the blog post a bit anyway. It is a fantastic walk but easy to not know about as isn’t a mainstream destination. It’s more known to dedicated hikers and climbers really. The last bit of road is dirt and there are no facilities there such as toilets. I am sure you would love this one! And you’d be much faster going up than me. This anaemia just forces me to go slow on steep parts. The whole Mt Barney National Park area is a wonderful spot. Thanks for reading and commenting, Dayna! 🙂

      • Well I can’t say I was much of a hiker in Qld, and arguably, not much of one right now in Vic! Oh what is give for a week off to catch up on everything I’ve neglected before I go away and get behind again. At least I’ve got a holiday to look forward to. Very, very lucky and grateful for that. 😊

        • It is very difficult to find time! I still haven’t gone on my beloved overnight camping trip I’ve been wanting to do. Just tricky to find a couple of free days in a row. I’m hoping the mid-year uni break will change that! Have a wonderful holiday. You deserve it. 🙂

  13. This is an entertaining post, as always, thanks to your lighthearted style.

    Do I understand correctly that the -moorum in Wahlmoorum became the Maroon in the English name? That seems an appropriate name, as you didn’t want to get marooned up there on a cold night.

    And do my eyes deceive me, or is that a photograph of a milkweed pod doing its thing?

    • Hi Steve,
      I read in one source that the mountain was named after a farm in the area called “Maroon” but the national parks site says it it an adaption of the Indigenous name. I think it is probably both. The property was probably named after a modified Wahlmoorum name and then the name of the property became the name of the mountain. Yes, I think it’s a very appropriate name as it would be very easy to get marooned up there in the dark. In fact, a dog called “Diff” slipped and got stuck on the cliff one night when his two young male owners went up there on New Year’s Eve hoping to see the first sunrise of the New Year. Diff’s barking alerted people to the plight of the two men who also got stuck trying to rescue him. They were rescued but Diff had to wait on the mountain another couple of nights until conditions were right for a climber to put a harness on him and winch him out by helicopter. Dogs are actually not allowed there so the owners were just a bit naughty!
      Yes, that’s a milkweed pod doing its thing. I’m very fond of looking at them. Scotch thistles and milkweed are very appealing to me.
      I’m very glad you enjoyed the lighthearted style. I wasn’t planning to write it up because it was a failed attempt, but it was still an enjoyable and amusing adventure. Thanks for your comments, Steve. Great to hear from you as usual. 🙂

    • I’m sure you’d really enjoy the challenge and the beautiful views! If you ever do visit and I’m still blogging, let me know and I’ll give you a tour. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Have a lovely week! 🙂

  14. I love the hilarity of these hikes, Jane. Your writing style always holds my interest and in the end I’m hungry for more! Honestly, I get a good abdominal workout each time I read about one of your hikes! 🙂

    • Thanks, Lori, you are encouraging to me. I’m glad I made you laugh. I actually left out a few other happenings since I didn’t want to stretch my friendship with Lycra Man too far! 😉 There is a bit of teasing and payback that goes on with our walks. Nothing ever seems to go to plan but at least it gives me something to write about! You know how much I enjoy your posts. They are a delight and always make me smile. Thank you, my friend. 🙂

  15. It’s frustrating that time always seems to slip away when you have others walking with you isn’t it? I am getting used to managing my walking expectations now with a family but some mornings I just cannot work out how we can leave home/accommodation at 8am and not get around to beginning a walk until 10:30?! Toilet stops, food and drink stops and picking annoying things out of the ties of Harry’s shoes – and that’s before the walk begins! But my motto now is “something is better than nothing” so even if I don’t do the exact walk I wanted to or finished one we have started its better than nothing!

    • Yes, I can’t understand where the time flies either! Imagine if we didn’t start the day early – we’d probably be lucky to start before sunset! I remember there was so much involved when I was preparing kids to go anywhere. I expected I would be so much better organised with adults, but somehow the time just still disappears. 🙂 Yes, a very wise motto to adopt, Amanda. Something is certainly better than nothing! It can be easy to give up on going out when it takes quite a bit of effort to actually start the walk, but the outing is so great for the mind and body, even if it’s not an epic adventure. Thanks for reading and commenting again, Amanda. I hope the family are well and you have a lovely week. 🙂

  16. Lol – you don’t do small Mountains do you? Certainly by UK standards that’s a big one!

    Despite not making it to the top, it’s the journey that counts – the experiences that one picks up on-route. After all, very little time is spent on the top of a mountain when compared to the time invested in the ascent and descent.

    I can highly recommend hiking poles, especially for a long descent. They will really save your knees and provide additional stability. The latter is important as the majority of injuries tend to be picked up on the way downward.

    At least the Mountain will still be there for a future attempt 🙂

    • Thanks, Rob. You’re right, we usually spend much more time on the ascent and descent that being at the top of the mountain! Good thought to remember.
      I borrowed hiking poles on a walk last year and was quite amazed by how useful they were. I will look into getting some before the next trip. It feels kind of weird though as when I was growing up I never saw bushwalkers using hiking poles. It seems a very European sort of thing to do. I see many more people using them now though and having tried them I’m now a convert.
      Yes, it’s not likely the mountain will disappear any time soon. 😉
      Thanks for reading, Rob and for your encouragement! Happy hiking. 🙂

  17. It has been so long since I last went on any kind of strenuous hike! This was the next best thing to actually going. I always enjoy your photographs of the beautiful things that you find on your hikes. Most people I know just rush by and miss it all. Thank you for sharing with *me.

    *(OK, it is us really, but alone in my studio at midnight it is just me and your lovely post. Is it not?) 😀

    • I feel pleased that you wrote “me” instead of “us” as that is how I want my reader friends to feel. I value each of you. 😀
      I don’t actually get out on many strenuous hikes these days either, as can be seen by my number of nature blogs about walks in the park lately. There was quite a lot of sweating and panting going on in this one, I can tell you! 🙂
      Thank you for your kind words about my photographs. If I didn’t have anyone to share them with it just wouldn’t really be as much fun. Sharing is a pleasure. So thanks for giving me that chance! 😀

  18. Jane, I would feel sadly disappointed also if I had not been able to summit such an alluring rocky outcrop! They are their deliberately to taunt us, that’s for sure, and “STOP” signs like the one you photographed warning of imminent danger serve only as a further lure. Well done on getting as far as you did though, and best of luck completing it next time. 🙂 Leah

    • Hi Leah. Yes, I think there is something addictive about these things sometimes. I hope I make it to the top eventually. As long as I don’t end up like the girls from “Picnic at Hanging Rock”… The mountain was very quiet that day. Almost too quiet (cue for creepy music now). Except on the descent when a torrent of interesting words may have erupted from Lycra Man. 😉
      Thanks for reading and and for the good wishes. You’ll certainly read about it if I do make it! Have a great week. 🙂

  19. Hi Jane,

    You might have to change the name of your site to ‘seriously extreme’ if you keep doing these types of walks! I’m proud of you for your tunnel ball success, I always suspected that tunnel ball would provide a good base for scrambling:) Great post Jane.

    Cheers Kevin

    • Oh Kevin, you did make me smile about “the seriously extreme” thing and being proud of my ‘prestigious” tunnel ball achievements. 😉 You are funny and kind. Thanks for reading and commenting! I can’t keep up with your prolific blogging. You churn them out. I saw your Larapinta one in my inbox which I need to look at. I’ve always wanted to do that one day – in winter that is! The colours of the country out there are very much like where I lived for a time. I love the enormous skies and starry nights out there. Thanks again for your support, You know I actually searched for the tunnel ball ribbon to put a picture in my blog. I’ve kept it for years! 🙂

  20. Hi Jane, It is clear you enjoyed the challenge of the hike – warning signs and all.
    The best bit is, this initial foray means you will be better prepared on your return visit to answer the siren call of Mt. Maroon.
    I loved the photographs of the insects.

    • Hi Margaret, You are right, I will be much better prepared for the next visit to Mt Maroon. That is certainly a positive way to look at it. And the “siren call” is definitely a perfect way to describe the attraction of the mountain. Even though you know it’s a bit dangerous you can’t help but be drawn towards it!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the insect pictures as I enjoyed sharing them with you. Thank you, Margaret and have a lovely week. 🙂

    • Thank you for the lovely comment. I’m very glad you enjoyed the photos. It is a great place to hike. You are right. it is better to be safe. I can try again another time. Have a lovely week. 🙂

  21. Your set up for this post is wonderful Jane. It made me laugh out loud and smile profusely. Lovely writing! Wonderful photos and the track looks quite scenic in itself. I enjoyed walking it with you and Lycra Man, thanks! 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Gail. I appreciate the kind support of my writing. I’ve been struggling lately with the fuzzy old brain! I’m glad it made you smile.Yes, there are lovely views along the track. It was a great walk really even though I didn’t make it to the top. The whole Mt Barney National Park is well worth visiting. Have a lovely week! 🙂

  22. Another great post Jane. It’s always a tough decision to turn back but hey …. you get to enjoy it all again next time as well the summit ! Besides, hiking should be about savouring the environment and noticing all the small things too. Otherwise we would be fell runners. Love the photos & will look forwards to ‘Mount Maroon Part 2’.

    • Thanks Steve for the nice comment and also the Twitter share. I’m glad you liked it. Not as rough and steep and chilly as most of your walks though! Given my snail pace, I usually get to notice a great many small details on the way. 😉 I will endeavour to produce a Mt Maroon Part 2 for you. Have a great week! 🙂

    • Heheh…it may be a little while before I get to attempt it again, but you’ll know by the title what it’s about so you can avoid reading it if you want to experience the surprise for yourself. I am pretty sure you’ll make it up there much faster than me. Apparently the wildflowers are lovely in spring but I feel like I need to do it on a cold winter’s day. I sweated enough last time and can’t imagine doing it in very warm weather. I’d need to be loaded down with water! Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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