‘Go retro or get rogered’ – Anonymous.
It’s a saying you don’t hear too often any more, but it’s going to apply for this post. Yes, if you look at the photo of the dubious Fiasco Mission Control, you’ll see what I mean. It shows another look down the tunnel of time to a stroll I did last May. You know what? I actually liked this walk, but it didn’t make the blog back then for one reason. Nothing happened. Oh yeah, the photos weren’t show-stoppers either, so it got filed into the bloated fiasco walk bank.
I know you’re all tossing and turning at night, losing sleep and eating peanut butter sandwiches at an ungodly hour, wondering when I’m going to include something which is remotely current. I’m sure it’ll happen, but even today I had another appointment with the neurosurgeon and the outcome is problematic. Over two years ago I had a cortisone injection in the neck and it was wonderful until January. Suddenly it was back to square dance one. So, a month ago I had another jab and although the bolts of pain are dulled, the non-pain effect is not as dramatic as the previous injection.
Mm… The decision is now to let it run and when it plays up again, which my friendly neuro ‘Ed Gein’ surgeon is confident it will, I’ll have a neck fusion. He did say though, “Can you lose some weight up top? You’re a big bloke and it will be an effort to cut into the neck.” I’m still not sure whether to appreciate his comment or feel insulted.
Anyway, a few day walks with an air-filled light pack are on the horizon, plus there’s a week long jaunt next month, which hopefully will go ahead as planned. Until then it’s just been work and keeping control of an online media empire. Lately I’ve branched out into the odd comment here and there in the Guardian. The results haven’t been great, but one day I’m sure I’ll get an opinion, which will last more than 2.3 seconds before it’s moderated.
Now, the Ted Errey Nature Circuit in the Brisbane Ranges National Park. Remember, it’s a bit of an unusually named park as it’s not remotely near Queensland. Once, someone said to me, “I’m going for a walk in the Brisbane Ranges after work”. I replied, “Good plan”, whilst all the while thinking, “Bloody hell, he’s keen.”
Essentially, all you need to know is there’s some wandering, a hill to climb, then a descent back to the car, followed by some circle work in the gravel carpark before leaving. So, on a cloudless day, I arrived at the Anakie Gorge Picnic Ground, ready to do some walking. At the start, the stroll through Anakie Gorge, whilst following Stony Creek can be quite a popular destination on weekends. Not so mid-week when I pulled up in a cloud of dust.
It was pretty quiet, except for an empty bus, which unfortunately for the long decamped occupants, still had its headlights on. Being a good bloke, I checked it out, but alas, it was all locked up, so the headlights would remain on, draining the battery. I wouldn’t want to return in the early evening and find myself unable to start the car. In that lonely place, I’d be at the mercy of the ‘Brisbane Ranges Butcher’, which is the last thing I’d want. I’m having enough trouble avoiding the ‘Sunshine Slasher’, not to mention the ‘Deer Park Double Penetrator’ and his sidekick, the ‘Ardeer Arsehole’.
Setting off, I’d walked about 3.2 metres before coming to a halt. An enormous tree in the picnic grounds caught my eye and it was just begging to be polarized.
If going there, you can’t miss it. It was so impressive I saluted it, which was way more satisfying than saluting any flag I’d ever seen. After some neck-snapping admiration I continued on into Anakie Gorge. It’s quite a nice spot, but it was a pity Stony Creek was dry as a chip. Waterways without liquid are not the most appetising. I remember thinking I’d return after the spring rains and hopefully see the place looking a bit more lush. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but it remains on my ‘to jaunt’ list.
The gorge walls make for a feeling of seclusion…
…although I did come across a few punters heading the opposite direction. It was here where I first thought of buying the Canon 100-400mm lens. I spoke to a woman who was geared for bird watching. Around her neck was some sort of weird harness, which supported a camera with what looked like the Hubble telescope attached. It was a beastly lens and I remember drooling uncontrollably when I saw it. Luckily I was wearing my ultra-light, titanium woven hiking bib, otherwise I may have embarrassed myself. As she continued on, I thought to myself, “I need zoom. I need potatoes. I need birds. I need a huge lens!”.
The walking was pretty standard fare, as it criss-crossed Stony Creek. Eventually the track hangs a hard-left before climbing up to the top of the gorge, but I had something else to check out first. What do you think sits at the end of Stony Creek? Well, it’s the Stony Creek Reservoir, of course. It wasn’t far past the climbing turn-off, so I continued on the track. Plastic barricades flung themselves open in fear, as I approached.
I remained on the path and for some reason I thought the dam would be at the end of the track. Well, it was, but I was looking at the wall, instead of the water bit, which is what I wanted to see.
After a bit of backtracking and a climb, I was standing above the dam. How about a history lesson? Courtesy of a direct theft from what’s written on an information sign, did you know, when the Lower Stony Creek dam wall was built between January 1873 and June 1874, it was the first concrete dam wall built in Australia and only the third in the world? Don’t tell me there’s not some ground breaking, wild action going on in Anakie Gorge. It’s the epicentre of world achievement.
After some dam wall perusal, I moved on, finding Ted’s track again and headed skywards. Actually, the climb out of the gorge was a bit of a ball breaker. The place must have been burned in the last ten years, as saplings lined the narrow, ascending track, creating a hot and humid atmosphere.
I was certainly glad to break out of the bush near the top, although I was in danger of drowning in my own juices. Talk about working up a sweat. I reckon I could confidently nail a ‘World Sweat-Off Championship’. If I didn’t know better, I’m sure my fingernails produce liquid. If you’re dying of thirst in the desert and come across me, feel free to lick the sweat off my back. I can guarantee you won’t need to drink for a week. I can’t guarantee you won’t vomit though.
I’ve got plenty of photos through this climb, but they’re distinctly dull, so I’m keeping them hidden. Mind you, once in open space it was pretty good, as I approached ‘The Outlook’, which just so happens to be a lookout. Talk about trying to trip me up with terminology.
A lone seat with a view across the gorge looked enticing…
…and once planted, the view was pretty good.
My usual nemesis is never starting a walk early. Up on the Outlook it struck me the sun was a little low in the sky and already, rampant shadow action was happening. I’ll get to some more of that in a minute.
Heading off, I passed dozens of grass trees, which live atop the gorge…
…before coming across an open field with a view beyond. I mentioned the shadows a minute ago, but this was getting ridiculous. There was more shadow than view.
I’ve noticed in the Brisbane Ranges and neighbouring Steiglitz Historic Park, the signs of cinnamon fungus amongst grass trees. I did the right thing when I came across a boot cleaning station with a bit of a scrub…
…and a dunk.
Actually, why am I wearing boots instead of something lighter? Don’t ask me, ask the bloke writing this. Then again, he’s got no idea either.
Under the setting sun, I was moving a bit quicker, but I had to stop when my way was blocked by this wallaby. We had a bit of a stand-off…
…before he lost interest and moved off the track.
Although moving at a normal humans pace, instead of my traditional sloth-like velocity, I still didn’t want to miss out on any highlights. There were more chairs to see and this one at Nelsons Lookout was in another great spot.
I lay on the seat for a while, contemplating a larger lens in order to examine this bird happily enjoying the glow of the setting sun…
…whilst cursing my failure to bring the lens hood for the camera. Welcome to lens flare 101.
Unfortunately, I had to continue, as I battled the lengthening shadows. As an example of what I mean, check out the next leg stretching photo, which is the closest thing to a selfie you’ll find in this blog.
I was nearing the end now with only one more chair to go and the descent back into the gorge. Signs of a previous fire were evident in this fence post, which was still getting the job done…
…whilst his mate had given up.
A red wattlebird was taking in the late afternoon sights…
…as I reached my last seat for the day. I’m not even sure if this lookout has a name? Anyway, the vegetation was blocking the view and I really didn’t have the time to relax, so it was a flying visit only.
Then I was heading down a fairly wild descent, where I was struggling to stay upright. My boots may have a Vibram sole, but they’re so worn, it’s like I’ve got a pair of slicks on my feet.
My aim of reaching the bottom of the gorge by sunset was accomplished and now it was a matter of strolling along Stony Creek, back to the car.
Oh yeah, if I’d only pondered the idea of buying a larger lens, it was well and truly confirmed, as the next pictures show. A robin on a tree branch looked good. If only you had binoculars for glasses. I mean, come on, what sort of crap is this?
Yeah, I can go the crop of the century, but all I get is a soft image.
After that frustration I was back at the carpark. The bus was still there, but the headlights were now extinguished. Either some punter had remembered or the battery was now flat. If stuck, they probably wouldn’t last a night with the ‘Butcher of the Brisbane Ranges’ roaming.
There you go. Another walk written about. It’s a good one as well and I must tackle it again in spring. What else? I’ve no idea. I had something else to mention, but I’ve forgotten, as I’ve been side-tracked by the cricket. If I remember, I’ll include it in the next post.
In finishing off. Remember the polarized tree at the start? It was looking a little more sombre when I left with light fading fast…
I just shade the lens with my hand, because I keep losing the lens hood. Only problem is that sometimes I get my hand in the picture.
Yes, I use my hand most times, especially if the polarizer is on, otherwise I can't adjust it! Lately though, I've kept a hood on most times and it seems to make things so much easier than my usual hand method.
Great pics and entertaining humour as usual, Greg. You always manage to make me chuckle.Having a decent lens to take bird pics is on my dream list. We have the same shoe disinfecting/cleaning station at Mt French. I just hope the forests of old grass trees survive. They are one of my favourites. I hope that neck is sorted out soon…
Nice place for a walk. We did the easy part from Anakie Gorge to the reservoir and back 3 times with kids last year. We started up the Ted Errey climb once but its no fun walking when all you can hear is small people whining about how much their legs hurt! Entertainingly written as always. I have to read the funniest bits to my husband to explain my occasion snorts of lol.
That first lookout spot looks great. Good on you for attempting a Guardian comment! I reckon the comments section there is one of the few worth reading: sure, the usual misfits and time-wasters hang there to destroy other commenters, but in general they do it with humour and far bigger words than you find in most of their ilk!
As a final observation, try saying "carpark" over here and people visualise a place vehicles go to play on the swings…
Thanks! Yeah, having the decent bird lens doesn't mean I use it. Quite a handful even for a day walk. Not bad around Albert Park Lake though when the car is only a kilometre away!
I love a healthy grass tree, so it's a bit sad to see them wiped out some areas. I do wash the soles of my boots after walks, so I'm trying to help 🙂
Neck? Mm… No idea. It's on the wait and see list…
Well, I can imagine the kids complaining, as I was doing the same! I threw out a few expletives, as the hill refused to finish. It took me longer than I thought!
I try for the absurd, but now and again I get stumped. Sooner or later you're going to read a post of absolute crap, as I hit the wall 🙂
It was a lovely walk. Funny how after finishing, I put it in my mind to come back. It's been over eight months and I still haven't got there. That always seems to be the way!
Some of those Guardian comments are pretty funny. Some switched on people let rip in there. If I can get past the moderators, then I might have a chance 🙂
Oh yeah, I forget about American terminology. What's a car park over there? I guess it's a parking lot? Hopefully you haven't had all your vernacular beaten out of you!
I have been on this walk and it's not too bad for stretching the legs, makes for a bit of a change up from the grueling Lederderg! We managed to cross over the dam wall and walk around the dam a bit, not sure if you are supposed to, but it was interesting enough. Hopefully you venture into the rest of the (Victorian) Brisbane Ranges (haha) as there are some interesting little historical areas around. Keep up the good work!
Interesting what you say about the dam. I saw some tracks heading around the dam and thought some people might go exploring. I considered it, but had no chance as it was already in the arvo when I was there.
I'd still like to do the Burchell Trail, but not being a circuit makes it a bit tricky if I went solo. Not much public transport to that walk either! I have walked on a couple of the Burchell Trail bits, but I haven't written the posts. Yet more stuff on the backburner 🙂
Oh yeah, a lot easier than Lerderderg! I must get back to the gorge when it gets a bit cooler.
Ahh yes the dreaded long shadows! Indeed there is very little public transport around there and it would be a bit long and boring to do the whole thing up and back. Thinking of a 'Derg adventure this weekend, but last time we went in the heat it was like a snake pit. Saw at least 8 or 10, including a few too close for comfort, and learnt how well they can swim! Interestingly I saw most of them in the creek bed, mainly red bellied blacks.
I'm surprised you don't come across more in your adventures up there 🙂
Oh yeah, back-tracking would be insane. I've done some dull stuff, but heading back over walked ground would push me over the edge 🙂
Good luck getting down in the Derg. I was last there in November, a few days before the Viking trip. Haven't been back due to the heat and general panic about fires in gorges! Not the place I'd want to be if there was a blaze.
I can imagine the snakes! That's why I spent most of my time in there during winter. The river was icy on the crossings, but at least the snakes were sleeping! I like it in winter. No walkers and it doesn't feel as grim as the drier months with plenty of water in the river.
From beginning to end….the portraits are just mind blowing and perfectly executed 🙂
Thanks for your kind words! The weather on this particular day was lovely, even though it caused me to abuse the polarizer!
Loved your description of the walk. I did it a couple of days ago as part of getting back to life after some serious medical issues and enjoyed it thoroughly, even if it did wear me out completely (an aortic dissection followed by a cerebral haemorrhage tends to knock you around a bit, and It’s been 2 years!). Glad you liked the info sign at the Lower Stony Creek dam wall. I wrote it. Lots of history behind that wall and I hope to get it up on the Friends Group website sometime.
The park was burnt in 2006 during a big fire. About 40% of the park was affected.
Thanks for your comment! Yeah, I do love this walk and I must say, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve done it. Since Covid, I can’t say I’ve done many local walks. I’ll put this one on the list for the upcoming summer. Thanks again!