A man at home in someone else's castle

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A man at home in someone else's castle

Postby iandsmith » Sat 01 Mar, 2014 2:09 pm

After a day enjoying Stanthorpe and its numerous wineries, lurching from air conditioned premises to air conditioned premises as we tendered our artworks for competitions surrounding the annual Apple and Grape Festival, we’d finally bunked down again at Girraween, keen to sample more of what the place had to offer, including a hot water shower, such a rarity at a national park.
We planned to have a crack at Castle Rock, another famous outcrop. Though not as dramatic as some others, it promised the best panoramic views when you reached the summit. With the summer temperatures predominant, we aimed for a seven o’clock start and, for once, were on time.
The 6 km walk started through the main camp site that was closed for refurbishment and soon after that we came upon almost continuous outcrops of granite in a myriad of assorted shapes, with the accent on round.
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (27) (424x640).jpg
Early morning light
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (27) (424x640).jpg (320.39 KiB) Viewed 1868 times

Stanthorpe Adamellite (pink orthoclase feldspar, white plagioclase feldspar, black biotite mica and clear quartz) is what the rock really is. I knew you’d all want to know that! That’s why it has a mixture of colours as distinct from pure granite.
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (35) (424x640).jpg
Lots of photo opportunities on this walk
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (35) (424x640).jpg (321.01 KiB) Viewed 1868 times

“The finest workers of stone are not copper and steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.” – David Henry Thoreau
The weathering achieved by a combination of lichen growth, water and the occasional lightning strike beggar’s belief. Then there’s the vegetation; the occasional tree hugging a rock, ferns growing in seemingly impossible places, tiny flowers sprouting from the minutest amount of soil; this was nature on the edge.
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (9) (640x424).jpg
Arty angophoras
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (9) (640x424).jpg (326.22 KiB) Viewed 1868 times

We flitted through the shadows and began the climb on the well-made path with numerous photo stops to capture some of the variety that entertained us the whole way up.
Just as we were about to split off the Mount Norman track we heard a quick clack-clack behind. No sooner had we heard it than a German expat strode purposefully up to our position. I remarked what good time he was making; to which he replied, unsmilingly, “I have to, I have a heart condition”.
While I stood somewhat bemused he went on to explain that he had a stint and needed the exercise to keep his heart working. He was about to do the 5 hour 12 km walk on his own because he hadn’t been able to find anyone to share his walks with. At his pace, I, for one, was not surprised. He also related how he’d walked to Bald Rock (in N.S.W.) and back in 10 hours and had done every walk in Girraween multiple times; even tried to climb the second pyramid twice, but had failed, which proved he was human after all.
We had a drink and moved on, eventually through a couple of tight cuttings of a type that Lorraine never imagined she’d venture into and then out onto the rock face below the top.
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (110) (424x640).jpg
It's tight in places
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (110) (424x640).jpg (260.69 KiB) Viewed 1868 times
From here you had to traverse 100 metres with the rest of the face falling sharply away from you. Vertigo was a word I heard used here.
Then you had to do a U-turn into the most difficult bit, scrambling up a crevice with granite debris sticking up that you had to negotiate. One slip could well have been painful and speed was not of the essence.
Then, the summit; a broad affair with the promised vistas across much of the park. We paused to eat a pear each and soak up the atmosphere that destinations such as this afford. The cooling breeze played across our sweat laden necks and you couldn’t take the smiles off our faces. It was walks like these that make you realise why you go bushwalking.
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (115a) (424x640).jpg
Just like a painting
Girraween - Castle Rock walk (115a) (424x640).jpg (306.95 KiB) Viewed 1868 times

The return was covered in jaunty style as we looked forward to a swim in the pool that we now knew the whereabouts of. About 80 metres long with a ladder for convenient entry/exit and a clear view to The Pyramid; what more could you ask for after a sweaty walk?
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Re: A man at home in someone else's castle

Postby weighty walker » Mon 03 Mar, 2014 6:15 am

I love these rock formations, I had forgotten how great they are.I must go back again its been over 20 years :shock: Oh how time flies. Thanks for sharing :D
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Re: A man at home in someone else's castle

Postby cams » Mon 03 Mar, 2014 10:19 am

Great photos and report.
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