Saturday, November 17, 2018

Mt. Dromedary Unconquered



Start of the Mt. Dromedary Track, eventually - unmarked as well

I can confidently assert that my reputation as a slothbagger remains unblemished. I blame Google Maps for this at least in part, for first sending us up a couple of backroads that ended in large gates and private property signs. The signs may not have deterred me all that much, but the slavering dogs behind them certainly did.
After a roundabout journey which involved an assault from the back of New Norfolk, we did eventually find ourselves on another track which did not however, bear any relationship to the first one. 
 
It looks like a waxflower but is in fact a lemon -scented boronia (Boronia Citriodora). I didn't think of smelling it


Mt. Dromedary has a couple of claims to fame. It does have a distinctly camelid shape and at 989m it supposedly gives excellent views of the surrounding countryside, especially up and down the Derwent, so good in fact, that famous bushranger Martin Cash used it as his lookout to check for the arrival of stage coaches and or passing strangers who might be worth robbing. At least he was a gentleman about it, always polite to the ladies and kind to the poor, public protest being the only reason he wasn’t hanged and was able to end his life peacefully as police constable and orchardist in the foothills of Claremont below. Mount Dromedary is also reputed to have some interesting geological features – tafoni, which are very popular with striated pardalotes (not the extremely endangered ones).

One of several kinds of berries - possibly a Cheeseberry (Cyathodes straminea) or one of its relatives


We wandered up and wandered down. After a few hours we came to a t- junction and the second of a little clutch of tape markers. Unfortunately, they seemed to point mainly in the direction from which we had come, with no indication of whether to turn right or left.  My walking partner took the high road to the left and I proceeded down what looked like a gentle slope to the right. In case one of you bright sparks suggests we should have used the TasMap for this area, the latest walking guide says that the Tasmap isn’t correct either. Next time I will tape a GPS logger and a camera to my forehead, so that both Google and TasMaps will know exactly where to go. I will also take along a supply of breadcrumbs.

The mountain berries were especially bright here - (Leptocophylla junipera) Don't get excited though they have the taste and texture of polystyrene

After a kilometre or so, it looked as if neither of those tracks went anywhere, so we drew lots and headed south west on the assumption we should at least meet up with the other track from Platform Peak which was the alternative but longer route at the first junction. After another couple of kilometres we came to another track  which veered off confidently to the right – this in my estimation  could have led to the point where the track was to climb steeply uphill for 50 minutes, but instead it made another lunge downhill and in the wrong direction. My friend who is on the whole more cautious than I am, decided that we should quit while we were ahead and turn around before we got terminally  lost. 


White hakea was very prolific here too, though mostly this forest is rather dry and sparse


The tracks may well have been woodcutters’ tracks –there was a lot of sawdust and fallen timber about and the whole area had been burnt out a few years ago, which may have been the reason there were so few markers, as was the case at Little Fisher River a few weeks ago. This is getting to be a habit. I am a bit disappointed with my walks this year.

Three way junction - if anyone recognises this and can tell me which way to go I will give it another try. At least Mt. Dromedary isn't as far as Ben Lomond or the Hartz


By the time we got back to the car my feet felt like bleeding stumps and I had the distinct feeling that I should have stopped about three kilometres earlier. Secretly I am rather relieved that we didn’t find the ascending track. I don’t think I could have survived the 50 minute “Moderate” climb.  My friend estimates that we walked ten or twelve kilometres as it was, and it has taken me at least three days to get over it.  Soon I should be able to get to the upstairs bathroom without my trekking pole.(Don't worry, just joking. No need to send condolences).
 
Zoom still not working on my camera, but I think this may be a Hobart Brown Butterfly (Argynnina hobartia) Tasmania's one endemic butterfly - there were lots of them on this walk though Tasmania is not blessed with a large number of species, only 39 compared to the mainland's 400 or those in more tropical regions, but this too is an area which has not yet been well studied.

Still, if walking is about leaving the city behind and getting some exercise and fresh air, rather than achieving loftier objectives, we succeeded admirably and also saw some pretty wildflowers and dancing butterflies, not to mention a forlorn lilac tree in full bloom (not a native). You could say we had a lovely walk around Mt. Dromedary, if not exactly up it. However, this walk also reminded me  how truly wild Tasmania is, even just beyond the city fringe. It's no wonder our houses huddle together around a narrow coastal strip and generally turn their backs upon the bush.   


 
Last rays of sunshine as we head back down

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