Mt Cobberas No. 1 to Cowombat Carpark via Western Spur, Alpine National Park - February 2018

It wasn't a bad view to wake up to.
My night up on Cobberas No.1 was interesting, to put it mildly. This was my first night in my new Borah Gear bivy bag after retiring my old Paddy Pallin bag. My new bag is slightly larger than the old bag so there was a bit more room in it than I’m use to, which combined with the fact that I was using Sam’s three quarter sized sleeping mat and the fact that the bottom of the new bivy bag’s floor is really slippery meant that it was like sleeping on a big bar of soap, as everything kept heading in different directions. Now it wasn’t only the inside of the bivy bag that was slippery either, waking up for my old man’s ritual 3am piss, I emerged from my cocoon to find that I’d slid around four metres down the hill, my crumpled ground sheet back up the hill now in danger of blowing off the mountain, yeah I’m obviously going to have to make a few adjustments in the future! Seeing that it was 3am on a very cold mountain top now I just dragged everything back up the hill and found a small hollow to lay in, at least I wouldn’t end up down in the valley like a human toboggan.
Crawling out of the bivy this morning I was greeted by a beautiful day.
I ended up quite a few metres down the slope at 3am this morning!
The view to the east.
Needless to say after my restless nights sleep I wasn’t overly keen for a crack of dawn start to today, dozing on and off as the sun crept up over the surrounding mountains. With a bit of sunlight starting to warm up my bivy bag I decided that I’d better make a move, after all the whole purpose of heading up here was to catch a great sunset and sunrise and while I’d caught the sunset I was now in danger of missing the sunrise. Staggering to my feet I headed a few metres to my rocky perch to check things out, the view over the fog shrouded valleys and mountains to the east towards the Snowy River being particularly good. After meandering around the summit area for awhile rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, it was soon time enough to pack up and start my journey back down to the ute.
Cleft Peak, with The Pilot in the middle distance and the Main Range in the distance.
Did I mention the view to the east?


Literally shoving everything into my pack it was probably one of my quickest ever pack ups, from go to whoa it took less than 3 minutes to break camp, hmm why couldn’t it always be this quick and easy? My route back down to the ute had me initially following the walking track that comes up from the Playgrounds which meant that my days walking started off very civilised. The walk along this high alpine ridge is a very good one, the faint pad fading in and out a bit as it meandered it’s way through the twisted Snow Gums and across small Snow Plains. Passing yesterdays route I continued on now dropping steadily as the walking track faithfully followed the crest of the spur down now heading in a south westerly direction.
It was easy walking initially this morning as a followed the Playgrounds Track for a couple of kilometres.
The Cobberas No.1 summit ridge makes for superb walking.
At one stage the pad headed down through what appears to be an avenue of Snow Gums.
There was no shortage of twisted and contorted old Snow Gums to distract me this morning.
I was now keeping an eye out for when the walking track would take a 90˚ turn to the south east and drop off the side of the spur indicating the spot that I had to leave the track and strike out off piste again down the spur. As it turned out identifying this spot was very easy and I was soon picking my way down the spur using brumbie pads to help find my way around rocky outcrops and some of the thicker areas of scrub. The walking on this upper reaches of the spur was really nice actually, there were enough challengers to make it interesting without the walk turning into a slog as some off track walks can tend to be. A couple of brumbies and plenty of parrots also adding something to today’s stroll.
After crossing a couple of these open grassy clearings the track left the ridge, while I continued on down the spur.
The upper reaches of the spur was still pretty easy walking.
There was a bit of light scrub in spots....
.....and plenty of rocky outcrops.
Reaching a large rocky knoll that Mr Tempest has labelled Rocky Knoll the spur swung around a little to start heading north-westerly. Gradually as I was dropping lower and lower the walking was getting scrubbier and scrubbier and while it was still pretty easy as far as off track waking goes the scrub now meant that there were no real long reaching views, so navigation became a little harder. The spur also had a couple of rock bands to negotiate, one of them being particularly steep. Overall though, so long as I stayed on the high ground as I descended the going was reasonably straight forward, however staying on the crest of a spur descending in scrub is never just a walk in the park.
Lower down I was pushing through a bit of this alpine scrub.
Have I mentioned that it was a pearler of a day?
Eventually the spur started to open up so I was now almost following a bearing as I pushed the last kilometre back to the ute. Avoiding a couple of open grassy leads I stayed faithfully on my bearing, eventually popping out of the scrub onto the dusty Cowombat Flat Track around 100 metres from the car park, happy days. Arriving at the ute I quickly changed out of my sweaty clothes, throwing everything in the back of the ute I settled in for the 7 hour trip back home with that euphoric feeling of having experienced a great walk.
Sometimes I'd pick up brumbie pads for awhile.
These rocky outcrops where now the best spots to get a bit of a view to help with the navigation.
Down at ground level I was concentrating on staying on the crest of the, now fairly broad spur.
Progress was still pretty good though.
With no long range views I concentrated on the little things in the forest.

The Dirt.
I walked 7.5 kilometres and climbed around 120 metres on today’s medium grade stroll. Over the two days of this walk I walked 15.5 kilometres and climbed 870 metres on what was probably a medium grade overnight walk. The walk as I did it is pretty much the same as the one written up by Mr Tempest in his Daywalks Around Victoria book, while it is possible to do this walk in a hard day out, being such a long drive from home the overnight option suited me better, and spending a night on Mt Cobberas No.1 meant that I’d get a bonus sunset and sunrise, all good! As I mentioned in the day 1 post, I used Mr Tempest’s maps along with my GPS maps to get me through. The off track walking up at the Cobberas can be a little rough in spots but as far as off track walking goes it’s generally pretty good, there isn’t a lot of the almost impenetrable regrowth that now characterises a lot of the Australian alpine country.

Relevant Posts.
Day 1 of this walk, Alpine National Park, 2018.
Stony Creek to Cowombat Flat, AAWT, Alpine National Park, 2017.
Cleft Peak, Mt Cobberas Number 1, Moscow Peak, Alpine National Park, 2016.


It takes a fair bit of willpower to avoid these open leads....
....and head back into this.
I've just met up with Cowombat Flat Track around 100 metres from the carpark.
Looking back to the start of the spur that I've just descended, it all looks pretty easy from here, doesn't it?
Time to settle in for the drive home.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Plenty River & Blue Lake, Plenty Gorge Park - June 2018

Tin Mine Huts to Cascade Hut, AAWT, Kosciuszko National Park - November 2017

Langhi Ghiran Walk, Mt Langhi Ghiran to Langhi Ghiran Visitor Area via Link Track, Langhi Ghiran State Park - August 2018