The power of a photo on Facebook! It was the whole reason I found myself climbing Mt Black yesterday… I’d seen photos on Facebook quite some time ago that suggested a route using what looked like old roads was in fact a horrible scrub bash, though it might prove easier than trying to get access to use the mining roads (or avoiding detection by mining personnel if you decided to use them regardless). As a result, Mount Black had dropped down my list somewhat.
But then another friend had posted a photo from the ‘Mount Black track’, and another bushwalker had been a tad faster off the mark than me in asking ‘what? where?!’. Though the question was slightly rhetorical given that if there was another track, it was fairly obvious where the sensible departure point would be. Sure enough.. it was on the high point of the road between Tullah and Rosebery.
That in itself wasn’t enough to send me racing off, but the question that if I was going, could I bring back a GPS track for the Tarkine in Motion movement, was more than incentive. I was going to be out that way anyway to check out the start to Kate, so why not. West Bluff and Mount Sunday were also needed, and I was all set to go to West Bluff, except the weather wasn’t looking so great when I needed to make my call, so Mount Black it would be instead.
A slow and frosty drive from Cradle Mountain saw me park at the high point on the road just before 9am. Walk a little way back and then have a search around in the forest for tapes, I’d been told… I walked straight on to them. Easy.
And so began a lovely walk through the forest. Sassafras, ferns, myrtles and, nearer to the summit, lots of little King Billies (they do make you smile). The track was taped, and mostly easy to follow, though there were a few fallen trees to negotiate, or sections in which the pad seemed to disappear and you had to hunt around for the next bit of tape. But that was all part of the adventure.
When I came across the first survey line, I was puzzled by such a straight path, perpendicular to where I was headed, until I remembered another friend telling me that the track made use of some survey lines. It all made sense! Onwards I went, laughing at the irony behind the use of ‘Danger, no entry’ tape to mark the pad now. I wondered where it might have come from initially.
The summit was very unimpressive, complete with helipad, solar panels and a few other installations, so I didn’t stay long. The view out towards Murchison grabbed my attention most, and I thought again about one day camping on top, and walking around the bowl up there (in good weather, mind you!). I have no doubt it will happen :)!
The wind was up now, and the rain was expected, so I wasn’t going to delay any more, and down I went. I thought about what I’d do next. I felt a little guilty for driving all the way out west for just two 3 hr walks (that’s a pretty bad drive-walk ratio), but at the same time it’s not about ticking mountains off… it’s more about sharing and savouring the experience, and I’m increasingly aware that although I still have quite a few mountains left on my ‘list’ and quite a few that I’d like to revisit, the list isn’t getting any longer.
So home I drove… my frustration at being stuck behind not one, or two, but THREE logging trucks (funny, wonder why there’s so many out and about this week?!) and one even slower car, was only surpassed by my frustration at the weather. It would prevent us from seeing some very, and I mean VERY, impressive aurora action. Oh well…. when I do get to see one, I’m going to enjoy it very much!
All up: 3:09 hrs, 7km, 517m ascent.