Prosser Sugarloaf: 1 August 2013

Prosser SL GPS route

Prosser SL GPS route

Well, this little peak jumped on the radar rather out of nowhere. I was looking for a walk to do on my Monday off, and thinking I wouldn’t have too many takers – most people work at reasonable hours – I figured something close and short would be in order. But as it turned out, there was interest, but Monday was a no go. Tuesday was a no go for me, and Wednesday was a no go for the third member to join our party. So Thursday it was, and the weather was kind enough to behave too. We were expecting to join up with a 4th member somewhere along the track. He didn’t have the same time restraints we did (I finished work at 9, and another had to be at work by 4.30-5), or a bike, while we all had bikes and were planning to ride part the way (at least on the way back anyway!).

 

The 'ride' up

The ‘ride’ up

As with some walks, this went nothing like expected. For a start, the way I’d thought we would go, via Twamley Homestead, which seems to be a generally accepted route, though slightly longer perhaps than the way we went. It happened to be the route I came across when searching the internet for any info on Prosser SL. Anyway, the third member of our party had a number of friends who had done Prosser, some via Twamley, others via Weilangta road, and it seemed Weilangta was the way we were going. A quick guilty message to the fourth member to let him know we might not be seeing him, and after maybe a 30 minute drive we were at our start point.

 

And then the walking begins

And then the walking begins

The drive takes you from Sorell along the Arthur Highway towards Copping, but you turn left onto Kellevie road before you get there. A right hand turn onto Bream Creak road, followed shortly by a left onto Weilangta road, and it’s just a matter of driving straight along the road until you arrive at 55 G 572377 5274600. There’s a place to pull over on the left hand side of the road. We got our bikes out, kitted up, and off we headed.. under the boom gate across the road.

 

And the real walking, now off track

And the real walking, now off track

After an initial, very brief, period of riding, we realised just how bike unfit we were, and we got off to push.. there were a few times we climbed back on, but fewer and further between. As we progressed, it was clear that the road we were on did not match up with the roads marked on our GPS maps, which had us checking google satelite maps when we got to the spot we thought we were supposed to be turning left, but that turned out to peter out quite quickly to an unrideable very overgrown possible road (see map, first detour). Thankfully 1 bar reception worked, and we knew to keep going along the road we’d been on. It took its own natural route, and soon we were back on the apparent track marked on our GPS maps.

 

On the summit

On the summit

As we rode/walked along, we heard a vehicle approach from behind, and I know I was thinking, if only we’d waited, we could have driven through at the same time, and avoided the ride! The reality turned out to be even worse – apparently you should always check that closed gates are actually locked.. especially when you’ve seen half a cut lock lying on the road. Whoops – lesson learnt! Anyway, the guy, quite friendly, went on his way to chop up some wood and we kept going.. having gone too far to turn back and I knew I was at least enjoying myself, even if we all complained about pushing our bikes up the hill!

 

Joined by a wedgie

Joined by a wedgie

Not long after our first foray off the road, we came to another fork, the road we were on appearing to continue straight ahead, while another, well travelled road, but much muddier and not as well maintained, branched off to the left. We stopped and talked a bit about which way to go, my instinct said left, but we chose to go straight ahead for a bit. After a short distance of nice downhill it was clear on the GPS that we were not going the way we needed to (see map, second detour), so a shout and a turn around and we were back at the turn off. A little bit of mud, just to add to the fun, and we were rolling along the right road. Gave our friendly wood chopper a fright as we said hi again on the way past, and kept going until we got to the high point on the track just before it dips down prior to the final ascent. We stashed the bikes, not wanting to push them back up the hill, and a wise choice it was as there were trees down across the road at the bottom anyway.

 

Muddy bit before the downhill. Back at the turnoff at our second detour

Muddy bit before the downhill. Back at the turnoff at our second detour

It was nice to be walking without pushing a bike, and presently we came to an expected fork in the road, so we took the left fork, marked with a rather old “tram track” sign, from the logging days. The road bends to the left and sidles around the peak, and we were going on info that there was a taped route up somewhere along the side but after a bit of a venture along the road and no sight of it we walked back a bit, to an openish part in the scrub and headed up. The walking was actually quite open, the bigger challenge coming from the kind of scree you can’t trust because it’s not very stable at all, and tends to move as you put weight on it.

 

But the distance was short, and it was only a 20 minute walk from the track to the summit. Nothing too special, a trig, some trees, and not nearly as good a view of Maria Island as you got from the road we pushed our bikes up. But we were treated to a bit of an effortless display from a wedgie. We had a bite to eat, I sent my 30 year old sister a birthday message from the top, and we headed back down as we started to cool down in the wind. Back at the bikes, only a few uphill sections to go, past the mud, and we were onto the road.. and then the fun began :p! Downhill all the way, no peddling really necessary, just some strong hands on the breaks, and the occasional thoughts about gravel rash and broken collar bones as we raced back down to the car.

 

All up, 3hrs 55mins including stops, 2 hrs 45 up, 1 hour and 5 back. The section of the track that we rode the whole way back took 1 hr 20 mins to walk, but only 15 mins to ride back! 16.9km, 902m ascent.

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