Rocks of the ages

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Rocks of the ages

Postby iandsmith » Wed 26 Mar, 2014 10:21 am

It made a frightening noise; so frightening that I recall seemingly jumping nearly as high as where the branch had come from. How lucky was I that it was 50 metres behind me though the odds were definitely in my favour that it would miss me. Still, I couldn’t help but look back for the next half a kilometre, it was certainly unnerving. By now my legs were seriously tired and I had to concentrate on merely putting one foot after the other on what would normally be called an easy to moderate track.
Two days clambering over granite rock towers had drained my strength, though my exhaustion was tempered by the thought of having achieved my aims and maybe having shot a good picture or two.
Cathedral Rocks (1) (424x640).jpg
On the roadside
Cathedral Rocks (1) (424x640).jpg (327.62 KiB) Viewed 2161 times

You initially pass through swamps before gently moving upward and then you start to come across quite a few steps at regular intervals. After just over an hour you come to an intersection with an offshoot to the summit. This side trail is not included in the “medium” section; in fact, it doesn’t really rate a mention until you’re at the intersection.
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Sign of things to come
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Obviously I hadn’t come all this way to not scale the heights but this outcrop can fairly be described in one word – daunting! The massive boulders tower into the sky, reaching heights that seem improbable from your lowly position with little indication of route.....and it gets steep as access zigzags along the improbable trail to the top.
I passed a couple from Redcliffe I’d camped next to at Native Dog camp area two days ago and they said they’d reached as far as the chain. Well, he had, but his wife hadn’t even got that far. “Where’s the chain”, I asked.
Turns out it wasn’t all that far from the top but they advised me to leave most of my gear behind. For once, I took someone’s advice, and dumped all but my camera about 100 metres before the chain. Life was so much easier without my load as I gazed at the amazing route indicated by the markers and climbed onwards. Suddenly the air was rent by a stark crackle that reverberated around the granite; it was thunder but the crisp sound was unlike any that I’d ever heard before, an octave or two above the usual and it was disconcerting to say the least.
Cathedral Rocks (79) (640x424).jpg
They come in all shapes
Cathedral Rocks (79) (640x424).jpg (285.17 KiB) Viewed 2161 times

Finally I could see the end; it was a throne like remnant where I imagined thousands had had their photos taken and soon I would join them. Overhead, threatening clouds were drifting towards me and I had no ambition to be the victim of a lightning strike so I hastily retreated to another area where I had some chance of shelter.
Cathedral Rocks (57) (640x424).jpg
On top at last (mind the wasp)
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Crawling around the unknown I found some untracked places and a comfortable spot in shelter as the rain finally fell and made a mini-waterfall off the granite above. You sort of assume it’s going to finish soon without knowing for sure. This time it did and I scampered off the high points back to the intersection and turned right for the motorhome. It wasn’t that long after when the branch missed me.
Looking for angles to shoot the heights I’m constantly surprised at just how far you can go up and down in a relatively short time while walking. Mind you, my legs weren’t surprised and my gratitude at seeing the motorhome and knowing the relief therein was palpable.
There was a middle aged couple from Nowra just refreshing themselves and he got to tell me that when he’d sat on the “throne” up top he’d been bitten by a wasp. I immediately thanked him for removing that danger from my life.
They told me they’d just finished walking to Woolpack and back which was just over double what I’d just done. Again I felt inadequate but reflected that there were many 67 year olds who hadn’t been here today; in fact, I was the only one I knew of, though when I drove down to nearby Ebor Falls and collapsed for a couple of hours, frankly, I couldn’t have cared less.
Cathedral Rocks (109) (424x640).jpg
Impressive from any angle
Cathedral Rocks (109) (424x640).jpg (329.89 KiB) Viewed 2161 times
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Re: Rocks of the ages

Postby tibboh » Sun 30 Mar, 2014 8:17 am

Nice one Ian.
I have fond memories of this spot visiting several times in the mid-late 80's.
My last trip was in '88 while at Uni in Armidale, with my then girlfriend and now wife. I dragged her to the top reassuring her it was a short easy walk (I love boulder hopping).
To this day she still brings up this walk saying the only reason she didn't turn back earlier was she didn't want to lose face in front of me. She made it and I think she had a good time. We were a fair bit younger than 67 though!
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Re: Rocks of the ages

Postby ofuros » Sun 30 Mar, 2014 9:34 am

I've been past that Cathedral turn off so many times & yet havn't dropped in...
..will have to next time...looks great. 8)
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: Rocks of the ages

Postby north-north-west » Sun 30 Mar, 2014 10:17 am

It's a nice little scramble. Good fun if you're into that sort of thing.
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Re: Rocks of the ages

Postby phan_TOM » Sun 30 Mar, 2014 1:06 pm

Nice one Ian, thanks for sharing.

I have some shots that look very similar from a visit in mid-winter 2008 while on road trip through the area, it's a lovely pile of rocks to wander through and over.

I can still remember the car thermometer reading 5 degrees as we arrived at the carpark at 10am on our visit, but the day was fine and clear and turned out to be perfect for the climb to the 'summit', albeit with a very chilly wind up top.
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Re: Rocks of the ages

Postby FreeHiker » Wed 02 Apr, 2014 8:05 am

Looks like an awesome time, it always amazes me when I see some of the positions that these rocks end up in.
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