We'd not done Gladstone Pass previously, walked past it a number of times on Lindeman Pass, so we thought we'd add something new to a well-loved loop we've done numerous times before and fill up a Winter long weekend (thanks to Her Majesty, The Queen) with some brisk walking. …here something about mice and men is trying to make itself known inside my head.
Gladstone Pass – Mt Solitary LoopStarted off down Gladstone Pass feeling quite cold, so gloved up… was a wonderful walk down, though wet and slippery and quite steep and long. Then the walk around Lindemans Pass was very slow-going with lots of scrambling over and under fallen trees. After morning tea we quickly came to Sublime Point Ridge, where we planned to leave Lindemans Pass again heading down to the fire trail.
It was walking down Sublime Point Ridge that my legs started complaining. By the time we got to Sublime Point Fire Trail my legs were just about shot. About two thirds down you burst out of the undergrowth just above a short escarpment that has a wonderful view of Mt Solitary in all its glory.
Walking, or to be more truthful, it was more of a crawl, down to Jamison River we realised I wasn't going to get much further (and Sandi said she was pretty done too). So we set up at the little Jamison River camping spot, thinking that a good night's sleep should see me right. Right?
The next morning was not a lot better. Of note is that I only took two photos during the whole day! Down to Kedumba River was very slow and painful, but that's where we stopped for morning tea (somewhat late), then struggled up Mt Solitary. We were originally aiming for Ruined Castle, but that was never going to happen in our condition, so we aimed for Singajingawell Creek, which we achieved just before sunset. We shared Singajingawell with two other parties of two, it was our first stop at this spot and it really was great; except I managed to throw everything up through the night.
The last day we had intended to walk all the way back around to our car at Wentworth Falls, but from the recent (painful) experiences we decided to see how we were travelling. We manage to clamber out up Golden Stairs just before sunset, where we got rescued by family members.
Maxwells Farm Loop
Four days later we decided to see if it really was going to be so difficult, and decided we'd drop off Tablelands Road down Kedumba Valley Road, up and over the Eastern end of Solitary and overnight at Maxwells Farm before walking out via Goat Track the next day.
Well, obviously not as strenuous, but still had significant ascents and descents. This week was much more what we were expecting last week, and it was wonderful fun, with some skipping and dancing along the way. It was amazing to see how many flowers had come out in just 4 days!
We got to Maxwells so early and with so much left in the tank that we set off looking for Lions Head Track, which we'd like to do at some stage. National Parks are doing a fine job with The Slab Cottage, we understand that they'll be using it for paid accommodation eventually.
Goat Track was a revelation, with a tricky lift using a chain, but fairly straight forward… and nice to cut off all that fire trail walking.
Lion's Head was looking particularly… well, lion's heady. We even took the time to head out to the Cleary Memorial and say a prayer for the repose of his soul. The view from the lookout gives a very different look of Mt Solitary. Then, back to continue sorting, packing and the like (it's just 40 or so days to go now…)
Time to get back to serious packing and food repackaging…
The Friends of The Heysen Trail have a huge amount of resources available, which we have obviously availed ourselves of quite liberally. I'll be updating this as required…