Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hunting the Wild Waterfalls 3 - Billy Brown's Falls



This is an awesome waterfall

Billy Brown's Waterfall proved to be somewhat elusive. There were supposed to be hand written signs somewhere, but I didn’t see those and drove clear through Judbury and Lonnavale before coming upon someone who knew where it was. Not that the trip up the valley alongside the Huon River was wasted - the grass was high and green, hay making was in progress complete with the luscious the smell of of freshly mown grass. There were sleek horses in paddocks along with alpacas with that enigmatic smile they have when they are just about to bite someone. Baby goats (kids) leapt into the air with all four hooves as only young goats can to express the sheer joy of life.

This is a magnificent waterfall, but now I know why I have never seen it on any tourist map. It is not for the faint - hearted. This road, when I finally found it, was even worse than the one I was on yesterday, the more so because it was longer,  steeper, and  rockier.  And yes, there are even bigger potholes around than those I saw at Narawntapu. Here I had to stop every now and then to dip them in case they were too deep for my car. I also moved some of the pointier rocks which lay loose on the road. There wasn't much I could do about the tree branches. If ever there is a next time, I will bring an axe. Please don’t try this in a normal car.  I went very, very,  slowly.  At regular intervals, especially at the river crossing, I  felt very tempted to do the Mongolian thing where the drivers walk around a stone cairn three times to offer a prayer to the Gods before launching themselves over particularly hair-raising passes.


Shame it's such a hard road to get there*
 Around 10 Km and ten years later, I arrived at the nicely painted sign for the falls. "1.5  hrs.return." That didn’t sound too bad. It didn’t say it was going to be 700m straight uphill, followed by the same distance clambering down the other side, slipping and sliding, dodging fallen trees, rockfalls and swamps.It comes into the category of  a challenge. i.e. not something I would willingly do again. I was glad my friend had gone home. She would not have survived the first ascent. I barely did. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that this surely had to end at some point. There is some natural law about this. Something to the effect that the further you go and the more you have invested in something, the surer you are that you must be near the conclusion.
I have also added a new bit of equipment to my kit. It's low tech. It’s the traditional forky stick that bushmen have always used in case they encounter snakes. I didn’t fortunately, but it was handy to stop me sliding down the muddy bits, or for hauling myself over steep ones. Has anyone tried a taser on snakes or pepper spray/ bear spray/ or a hopper stopper? Not that I want to hurt them, but I wouldn’t mind being able to keep them away or stopping them from biting.

When you see tree ferns, expect it to be wet underfoot
There is some pretty rainforest along the way and the photos do not in anyway do justice to these falls which tumble from a cleft in the rock far, far above and then drop in several cascades into a pool below. Definitely a sleeper, if only access was easier.

The downhill (Eastern) side has some lovely rainforest
*It is possible that there is another way to these falls. While researching I read of someone driving from Plenty, near New Norfolk without a 4x4 and finding it quite reasonable, and a smooth - looking dirt road does come in just before the falls track. If so, then access is via a gated road, further along the Lonnavale Road, but which is closed when logging is in progress. I didn't try it on the way back as similar spur roads enter the track at several intervals and could lead anywhere. Waiting to hear from a member of the 4x4 Club on that. Meanwhile, it's so long Billy Brown. Lovely to have met you, but I'm going home to tend my wounds and rest my weary bones.
Too bad about Adamson's. I suppose as Meatloaf says, "Two out of Three Ain't Bad."

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