Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

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Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby Tortoise » Tue 17 Jul, 2018 9:43 pm

What began as a trip report ended up as a short book. I wanted to record details both serious and silly, vast and tiny, as together they made the trip the fantastic adventure it was for us. Apologies to readers who just want information about the track. Hopefully you’ll be able to skim off some useful bits and pieces.

Southern Ranges Trip: To Pindars Peak
Days 1 & 2
After years of being regaled with tales of marvels and exploits in the Southern Ranges of Tasmania (notwithstanding a degree of suffering), Tortoise had the general plan to obtain her own. When a forecast of heat wave conditions with light winds coincided with some available days, she instigated a long-awaited foray into the Southern Ranges with two dauntless friends.

Two Abels were calling her name loudly, and she knew Short Step was keen to get to Alexandra - one of only two peaks in that part of the state she’d never visited. Peak Baggers’ Assistant (who is NOT into counting peak-bagging points, but is happy to tag along and share her skills, experience and dry sense of humour) was still recovering from a more challenging trip in the Southwest. But she also had been hanging out for decades for the right opportunity to visit the area, so she pulled off an admirably short turn-around time to join the others on their adventure. Peak Baggers’ Assistant (PBA, aka Grumble Bum (self-titled) or Grandma Boots), at 5 foot 2, was rewarded with the rarely-experienced status of being the tallest of the party.

Day 1: Moonlight Flats
When the long drive was over, the three quickly saddled up and set out. With the mountains calling, the mysteries of Mystery Creek Cave would remain unplumbed, for now at least. The wide, flat track allowed for a good warm-up for the slow plod up the big hill. Some extra water was carried, just in case a dry camp became the best option.

Beautiful forest made for an enjoyable ascent, and the trio eventually broke out into the open. Moonlight Flats, with its stark post-fire contrasts of death and life, monochrome and colour, afforded increasingly expansive views. Adamsons Peak, thus far elusive due to unfriendly weather forecasts and conflicting commitments, stood tantalisingly by, with the Calf and Mesa suggesting they may also be worth a visit. Short Step pointed out the intervening scrub, which is apparently less than hospitable. But then, she is understandably a bit over scrub these days.

skeletons on Adamsons.jpg
Skeletons on Moonlight Ridge with the Calf and Adamsons Peak


Red flower stump.jpg


Threatening clouds produced dramatic skies, keeping secret the details of the day ahead. Bullfrog Tarns pleasantly surprised Tortoise when they suddenly appeared next to the track. These are apparently well known, but aren’t graced with a name on any maps she had seen. (Unlike the Tasmap, the topo basemap on the LIST does show the track where it actually is, right next to the tarns.) Now with abundant water, the adventurers headed off to find some vaguely reasonable spots on which to make a home for the night.

Hippo 4 with Cloud and light.jpg
The Hippo


The Five Fit Young Women
As the three were settling in, they were come across by Five Fit Young Women (who were perhaps a little chuffed at being described as such, but it’s all relative). At first, they had seemed to be a commercial group or with an organisation of some sort - all bearing identical red packs. But no – ‘just an embarrassing coincidence’. It was only later that the Three Not-Quite-So-Fit Older Women realised how easily they could have given the same impression – avoided only because of Tortoise’s dodgy sacroiliac joint that doesn’t like Osprey hip belts. After a brief confab, the Five Fit Young Women continued on at good speed in the fading light, hoping there would be water at Moonlight Creek.

Day 2 : Alexandra
Next morning, an early start was in order. Moonlight Creek turned out to have provided the water and tent sites needed by the FFYW. Certainly not brilliant, but just enough of both.

Climbing Hill 1, Tortoise and PBA were thrilled to finally reach such a special area, and delighted in the vast tracts of cushion plants. Short Step relished being in familiar territory in relaxed conditions, rather than doing the usual scrub bash to PB and back with men twice her size.

Shortstep on HIll 1.jpg


FFYW on Moonlight Ridge.jpg
The first of the Five Fit Young Women on Hill 2


Twins on Hill 1.jpg


Hill 2.jpg
Wylly, Precipitous Bluff and Victoria Cross from Hill 2


After the beautiful open walking of Moores Bridge, a small band of scrub needed to be negotiated, and Tortoise found – well, a route not to be particularly recommended. The sensible thing to do would have been to back out and reconsider options. But she bore optimistically on, crawling on hands and knees through the intricate tangle of low branches, cutting grass and myriads of spiky bits of vegetation, with an “It looks a bit clearer just over there!” now and then. Impressively, Short Step and PBA followed with only minimal complaints.

The scrub behind them, they stumbled onto the pad that had eluded them earlier. Stunning views spurred them on. A beautiful clear pool with rocky base provided the exquisitely cool, sweet water on a hot summer day.

Clear Pool Moores Garden.jpg
Moores Garden


muffins.jpg
'Muffin plants' (newly named)


Scoparia guarded the final few metres of Alexandra’s summit. PBA gave up in disgust. “I don’t NEED to get to the top. I DON’T CARE!” Short Step and Tortoise somehow persuaded her to join them in the scoparia on top, with ‘views all around’ as the bushes were mainly below waist height. Just in case one day she does.

Their return trip saw them relatively obstacle-free, as PBA skilfully led them to more open leads, and onto the old cut track. As they neared the meadows of Moores Bridge, they discovered why they had missed the pad on the way in. A far more attractive open lead had enticed them away from the invisible start of the said pad.

Back at camp, magic light gilded the landscape. Not a breath of wind disturbed even the most vulnerable of grasses. Evening mellowed the sky to soft pastels, and quietly brought the day to a close. Paradise.

Flagged King Billies cont.jpg

Southern Ranges Part 2 is here: http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=28188
Last edited by Tortoise on Fri 20 Jul, 2018 6:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby north-north-west » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 10:28 am

It keeps astounding me that so many people complain about scoparia on Alexandra. I seem to have managed to miss most of it. Or maybe I was so busy photographing the waratah and Richea and orchids that I barely noticed it.
As for the ancient cut line up from Moores, you have to know where it is to find the eastern end of it. I think everyone new to it does the dodge and weave through the scrub on the way up and then stumbles over the pad on the descent.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby Mechanic-AL » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 8:49 am

The tallest member of this trio is.........5 foot 2 :shock: !

I could be forgiven for thinking the Southern Range is the habitat of a rare tribe of Pygmy Women who go by names such as Grandma Boots, Grumble Bum and Short Step :lol:
I love your work Tortoise. An entertaining and informative read.
It's hard to read anything re: the Southern Ranges that doesn't involve some extremes of weather and your photos highlight just how exposed it is. But that stunning scenery looks awesome.

Thanks for the report

Al.
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A reed shaken in the wind"?
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby Tortoise » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 9:24 am

north-north-west wrote:It keeps astounding me that so many people complain about scoparia on Alexandra. I seem to have managed to miss most of it. Or maybe I was so busy photographing the waratah and Richea and orchids that I barely noticed it.

There really isn't very much. She likes to grumble!
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby Tortoise » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 9:32 am

Thanks, Al. I was surprised how few photos of the area I could find easily when I was preparing to go. I was also surprised at how few people go there, judging by places where still-alive cushion plants were the actual track. (Apologies to photographers for the quality of some of the images. I wanted to give as good an idea as I could of the terrain.)
Mechanic-AL wrote:The tallest member of this trio is.........5 foot 2 :shock: !I
We made sure she enjoyed the honour. :)
Have you read Part 2 yet? That's where we got the extremes of weather. But yes, sooooo beautiful, if you're prepared for anything, and watch the forecast. Sometimes you can avoid the worst, sometimes you're going to get pounded anyway.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby Mechanic-AL » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 10:53 am

Yep, I,ve read part 2 and slogging into that weather doesn't sound like much fun.
And a lack of shade looks to have its own set of difficulties on the other side of the coin.
I imagine the exposure has a lot to do with why the Range doesn't get the same number of visitors as the Coast track.

Hopefully the Southern Range ( and the SW Cape Circuit ) can stay the way they are without the need for huts/developers.
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Re: Southern Ranges (to Pindars) Part 1

Postby north-north-west » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 12:39 pm

Mechanic-AL wrote:I imagine the exposure has a lot to do with why the Range doesn't get the same number of visitors as the Coast track.


It isn't actively promoted, for one thing. A surprising number of people go into Pigsty or Ooze and do the return trip to Pindars, but far fewer go beyond for the section between Pindars and PB, partly because there is no official track.

It's strange how often the really bad stuff hits on the Hills or between Pindars and Ooze. Last time through I camped at Ooze (in the forest) after getting soaked through and half frozen due to the wind, hail, fog etc that hit just after getting back down to the track from Pindars.
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