Being a baker means no extra time off over Easter, and no traditional long weekend. The Thursday, bun day, in particular is heaps busy. You only get your rostered days off, which meant I had the Monday and Tuesday. We’d been so flat out at work that the weekend was approaching and I’d not really had much time to think about what I would do, and from memory the weather wasn’t too flash leading up to it. It was, however, going to be ok for the Monday. When a good friend mentioned he was going up the East coast with his daughter and that I was welcome to join after I finished work on the Sunday I jumped at the chance for some company and a chance to clear my head in the mountains.
So I drove up after work on the Sunday, heading towards Fingal with rough plans to meet somewhere. Timing meant everything was flexible and the way it worked out saw me head up St Patricks Head before meeting up at the Pancake place at Elephant Pass, and yes, enjoying probably the biggest pancake I’ve ever seen!
But back to St Patricks Head! I can’t remember the name of the road you turn right into after having passed through St Mary’s on the Esk Highway heading towards the coast. It might be Irishtown road. It starts off asphalt and then turns to gravel/dirt, with all turns to the start of the track signposted (left at the first two forks, straight ahead at the third, three-pronged fork). There’s a small area for parking, with a property to the left, before you make your way through a gate on foot and start the walk.
It starts off open and grassy, the track less distinct, before you head into the trees. The track is easy to follow from here on in, and becomes a little more steep as you approach the top. The trees thin away and the rock appears, and as you get very close you wind your way round anti-clockwise and approach the high point from the northeast. There’s a nicely placed metal ladder in one spot, and a minor scramble or two in others. The summit is nice and open, unfortunately slightly graffitied, with views out over the East Coast.
It was an easy little walk, filling in an hour and a half all up with a brief pause on top, and a phone conversation most of the way up!
Not that it was hard work, but I figured I deserved my pancake after that. And it was a good thing we did treat ourselves, because after a chat with the locals, and a detour to find the man we were after, we came back with some rough directions on a way up the Elephant and news of some beautiful caves up there.. saved for a future day :)!
So we retired to the beauty of the East Coast, setting up our tents not quite on the beach, and us two kids managed a brief walk before dinner. There we found some beautiful reflections, enjoyed the sand between our toes, discovered part of a gummy shark, played in the waves, got a little bit more than wet, and overall had a good laugh. We returned to have a yummy dinner cooked for us, while I was overpowered and tied up in vines by the youngest member of the party :p!
Special way to enjoy Easter, especially in light of the family situation. And there was more in store for the next day.. check out Mt Albert next!
All up: 3.3km, 1.30 hrs, 344m ascent.