Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

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Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby safari » Thu 05 Jan, 2017 11:31 am

To get the new year off to a rockin start I chose to take what eventuated into a decidedly arduous solo bash along the 'other' PCT, the Penguin Cradle Trail. I left Mt Montgomery Road carpark midday Sunday 1st January and finished yesterday morning at Cradle Mt ..with 4 million cars & ice cream eating holiday makers to greet me ...what can I say?!
*solitude- not a soul for the entire journey.
*flood/ storm damage- tricky route finding along the Leven River. Fun, but taxing. Amazing amount of landslips & trees down.
*great weather- a smattering of rain pushed me into 4 Ways camp, otherwise mostly sunshine.
*diverse scenery- riverside, buttongrass, lush myrtle forest, gushing canyon.

I was the first person to sign the logbooks at Blackwood, Bare Mount & 4 Ways in 6 months in most cases so looks like few people have plodded through of late.

I will write up a full trip report soon on my blog if anyone is interested. Main point is that the trail is quite smashed up North down to Taylors Flats as the NWBWC website states but an interesting challenge nevertheless.

Cheers, Sean. (Safari)
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby MrWalker » Thu 05 Jan, 2017 5:19 pm

I did the section from Penguin to Gunns Plains a week or two ago and found it very tedious scrambling through fallen trees. I was planning to do the final section starting from the Cradle Mt link road in a few days time. Is the condition of that part better than the early sections?

On the bits I saw it seemed to be rather neglected and it seems a pity it is not kept tidy, since the tourist office in Penguin has been advising people to do day walks on it.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby safari » Thu 05 Jan, 2017 8:01 pm

I have done that section once before in 2010 or 2011...so thats all I have to compare my hike to- it was in a far more degraded state, plenty of blow downs and 'where is the track now?' moments. Hard to believe the visitor info centre would recommend the track as there are laminated signs from the NWWC at all the road ends suggesting utilising a vehicle instead of walking.
The Cradle Mt section up to Highway C132 is very well maintained in part and completely overgrown a couple of k's either side of 4 Ways camp. I pulled 3 more ticks off my back this evening in addition to the hammering I received Tuesday evening rolling into camp from the leeches, mozzies, march flies, bullants and ticks. Exciting times!
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Nuts » Fri 06 Jan, 2017 7:33 am

Good info, do you have some pics/link to your blog Sean?
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby safari » Fri 06 Jan, 2017 9:21 am

Will get the blog finished this weekend & post a link next few days, cheers for the interest. I'm a tad faster at hiking than uploading pics & info!
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby MrWalker » Sun 08 Jan, 2017 3:00 pm

safari wrote:I have done that section once before in 2010 or 2011...so thats all I have to compare my hike to- it was in a far more degraded state, plenty of blow downs and 'where is the track now?' moments. Hard to believe the visitor info centre would recommend the track as there are laminated signs from the NWWC at all the road ends suggesting utilising a vehicle instead of walking.
The Cradle Mt section up to Highway C132 is very well maintained in part and completely overgrown a couple of k's either side of 4 Ways camp. I pulled 3 more ticks off my back this evening in addition to the hammering I received Tuesday evening rolling into camp from the leeches, mozzies, march flies, bullants and ticks. Exciting times!

You did warn me that the track was overgrown. :(

My son and I did the last section from the link road yesterday. The views are great to the turnoff to Mt Beecroft and I would recommend climbing it as a return walk from the highway, in good weather, for the views. Not that we did the climb, since we were expecting a hard enough walk on the Trail.
After the very steep descent from the Mt Beecroft turnoff the track was very badly overgrown and hard to follow through to 4-Ways and then until about halfway to Pandani Grove. After that the track was less overgrown, but still often hard to find.

From Pandani Grove to the end was not too bad and a possible walk might be a return trip to Pandani Grove from the Ranger Station end. The rest is only suitable for the many people here who really go for off-track walking. Not that we were off track a lot of the time, but on-track was not much easier. We saw no-one from the start until we finished, even though the Cradle Mt Park was jammed with visitors, so it is a walk you can do in the area when you want that wilderness experience. :roll:
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Davo1 » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 7:45 am

Penguin information centre stopped issuing information sheets and maps some time back due to the damage on the northern end from the June floods. (I am led to believe at the request of the walking club but don't hold me to it)

I also heard a whisper that the section past Devils Elbow is being looked at and it is hoped a track will be re routed away from the dangerous section near the river.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby MrWalker » Tue 10 Jan, 2017 7:45 am

Davo1 wrote:Penguin information centre stopped issuing information sheets and maps some time back due to the damage on the northern end from the June floods. (I am led to believe at the request of the walking club but don't hold me to it).

There was at least one person in the Information Centre on 18 December who was not aware about the damage and had been advising visitors to use the the Trail.

I can understand that the high river levels caused damage on the sections along the Leven River, but the the other sections appear to have been just abandoned. The Penguin Cradle trail is ideal for day walks, (unlike most of the Overland track), but there are long sections nowhere near the river that desperately need some care and attention. Their website says that the section from Taylors Flats to Cradle Mt is unaffected by floods, so why is the area near four-ways camp been left so overgrown and with poor track signage?
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby north-north-west » Wed 11 Jan, 2017 5:14 pm

MrWalker wrote:... but there are long sections nowhere near the river that desperately need some care and attention. Their website says that the section from Taylors Flats to Cradle Mt is unaffected by floods, so why is the area near four-ways camp been left so overgrown and with poor track signage?

There are a lot of tracks here that are in desperate need of some TLC, but neither TasPAWS nor the relevant councils have the funds to do it.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby MrWalker » Thu 12 Jan, 2017 7:31 am

north-north-west wrote:
MrWalker wrote:... but there are long sections nowhere near the river that desperately need some care and attention. Their website says that the section from Taylors Flats to Cradle Mt is unaffected by floods, so why is the area near four-ways camp been left so overgrown and with poor track signage?

There are a lot of tracks here that are in desperate need of some TLC, but neither TasPAWS nor the relevant councils have the funds to do it.

Do we really need external funds to fix this trail (or similar other tracks for that matter)?

Although there are some muddy sections that could use boards, that is not really the problem. The main thing it needs is for someone to take along a supply of red triangles, nails and a hammer, to replace the markers on trees that have fallen over. If they take a friend with them then the friend could carry a few stakes, for places where there are no suitable trees.
It would be nice if a couple of others could carry in a brushcutter and some fuel for the spots where the track is overgrown, but that is less critical than making sure the track is obvious.
The section over Mt Lorymer needs a small chainsaw instead of the brushcutter.

Seriously, 2 to 4 people could fix a track section as a day walk. Carry the extra gear instead of tent, sleeping bag and food and it could be done in a weekend.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby safari » Thu 12 Jan, 2017 10:57 am

I'm in. Would be great to give back to the trail & hiker community after my adventure on the PCT last week, take some ownership of the track. I was keen to volunteer for an upcoming work day on the NWWC website in any case. Just about the doing and not talking.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Tortoise » Thu 12 Jan, 2017 6:56 pm

I can only say that there have been a LOT of working bees on the PCT over the last year, with a few people putting in an enormous effort. But essentially more people-power is needed to maintain the track. I'm sure North West Walking Club would be very keen to have more people willing to help out with working bees.

The most recent major project has been replacing all the poles on the Black Bluff Range for safety reasons, I understand. i think that part of the project is now completed or almost so, so other areas will become the focus again. There was a lot of work done on clearing the Leven Canyon to Taylors flats section - before the June floods. :(

I understand the working bees now come under the umbrella of Wildcare, but it is still done through the club. I was hoping to make sure the info I've given is correct before posting, but thought I'd pop in my 2c worth in the meantime.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Nuts » Sat 14 Jan, 2017 6:47 am

Tortoise wrote: But essentially more people-power is needed to maintain the track. I'm sure North West Walking Club would be very keen to have more people willing to help out with working bees.


Asking for help may be a good first step in getting some.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Tortoise » Sat 14 Jan, 2017 9:40 am

Nuts wrote:
Tortoise wrote: But essentially more people-power is needed to maintain the track. I'm sure North West Walking Club would be very keen to have more people willing to help out with working bees.


Asking for help may be a good first step in getting some.

Excellent point, Nuts.
I've been trying to contact the guy in charge without success yet, but I'll pursue it. It'd be fantastic to get some other folk on board to help keep the track well-maintained - and this is probably the best place to find them. :)
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Tortoise » Sat 14 Jan, 2017 3:56 pm

Ok, a bit more info. To join PCT working bees, I gather you need to be a member of Wildcare (which many of us probably are in conjunction with our Parks passes). The track maintenance is now under the umbrella of Wildcare Friends of the Penguin Cradle Trail.

http://wildcaretas.org.au/branches/wildcare-friends-of-the-penguin-cradle-trail/

The working bees in Feb should be up on their calendar very soon. The 2 weekends are 4th & 5th, and 25th & 26th Feb. These will probably just be one day each, not two, with the weather influencing the final choice.

It would be brilliant to get some help! Somebody will start a new thread about them soon, but hopefully this will help in the meantime.

Cheers
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby PCT INFO » Sat 14 Jan, 2017 6:47 pm

Hi...I read with interest your comments about the Penguin Cradle Trail and it is also interesting to go back over previous years notes. The PCT is over 40 years old, planning started in 1972 and took 8 years to construct by NWWC members and has been maintained by a small volunteer labour force since. The PCT is intended for experienced bushwalkers and offers a different experience to tracks such as the Overland Track and other well used main stream tracks. The route it traverses is very prone to wind falls and 2016 was a shocker (in fact the ground was so wet trees were falling often and too dangerous for working bees in some areas). Having said that there is a plan being prepared at the moment for major work to be started. Appreciate comments about walking with a chainsaw but as the track is on land under control of the PWS we have legislative requirements to follow.
As tortoise mentioned we have formed a WILDCARE Friends of the Penguin Cradle Trail group and you are more than welcome to visit the site and join us if you wish (still a lot of work to be done to keep our members informed....but will get there).
Something else that may be of interest is we are nearing completion of a brochure and map set for the PCT. This is a 28 page brochure with history, Fauna, Flora, Geology and track notes. The maps are a 5 map set 1:25 000 scale (there will be no GPS file available). This is planned to be available from the WILDCARE on-line shop.
Our long term wish is for the Dial Range system of walking tracks near Penguin to be brought back to life with some form of community ownership leading into the PCT for more experienced bushwalkers...what a magnificent resource on our door step.
Here's to the next 40 years....
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby MrWalker » Sun 15 Jan, 2017 12:59 pm

Tortoise wrote:I can only say that there have been a LOT of working bees on the PCT over the last year, with a few people putting in an enormous effort. But essentially more people-power is needed to maintain the track. I'm sure North West Walking Club would be very keen to have more people willing to help out with working bees.

The most recent major project has been replacing all the poles on the Black Bluff Range for safety reasons, I understand. i think that part of the project is now completed or almost so, so other areas will become the focus again. There was a lot of work done on clearing the Leven Canyon to Taylors flats section - before the June floods. :(

It's a pity I've only done the first and last sections, and the first bit didn't include the Dial Range, which I had done before and is always kept in good condition. So my impression was that the track was abandoned and unloved. I'll try the Black Bluff Range next rather than giving up on the entire Trail.
Thanks.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby north-north-west » Mon 16 Jan, 2017 2:17 pm

MrWalker wrote:I'll try the Black Bluff Range next rather than giving up on the entire Trail.

Black Bluff Range is marvellous country. That and Beecroft are the highlights of the walk.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Nuts » Mon 16 Jan, 2017 4:29 pm

Thanks PCT, good to see it.
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby safari » Tue 17 Jan, 2017 11:39 pm

Pics and blithering commentary are up on my blog: www.safarihiker.blogspot.com.au/2017/01 ... mania.html
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Re: Penguin-Cradle Trail Jan 2017

Postby Nuts » Thu 19 Jan, 2017 10:22 am

Ha, good reading! ta.
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