Saturday–Monday 15–17 April: Mt Namadgi via Middle Creek and return – M/R. Day 1: Yankee Hat car park – Middle Creek – Big Creamy Flats, ∼500 m climb and 10 km distance. Day 2: Big Creamy Flats – Mt Namadgi and return, ∼300 m climb and 5 km return. Day 3: Return to car park down Middle Creek, ∼10 km. Map: Rendezvous Creek. Leaders: Jenny and Rob H. Transport: ∼$40 per car.
The chance to nab GC37J44 Squirrel’s Greater ROCK and GC37J43 Squirrel’s Lesser rock
A late birthday walk.
A sub-party of three went NW along the Namadgi spur to nab geocaches on the granite bulb overlooking Little Creamy Flats, before returning to visit Mt Namadgi.
Distance: 34.1km | Climb: 1150m | Time: 3 days | Grading: M/R; M(11++)
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Day 1 – Yankee Hat car park to Big Creamy Flats
This was a great trip! I was walking with the living legends who introduced me to bushwalking (Rob and Jenny H); who took a newbie to huge destinations in Tasmania (Rupert B); new and old friends; and new and old geocachers. Our destination was my favourite place in Namadgi National Park, plus an area that had attracted me since first seeing it. The weather was perfect. My only regrets were that I left my dear wife alone and missed church on Easter Sunday.
We left the Yankee Hat car park at 9.25am at a leisurely pace, down over the bridge and boardwalk and across the Gudgenby grasslands. 13.5kg on my back plus nearly 1kg of camera round my neck. There were some big lenses in the party. Eagles soared near Yankee Hat North and the kangaroos were loath to move out of our way. We picked up the old vehicle track as we headed into the mouth of Middle Creek and crossed at the Middle Creek indigenous rock shelter. 4.2km in 1hr. Morning tea.
Next, a winkle up the true left side of Middle Creek to lunch. Very pleasant walking along tibmin watching Rob at work, trying to learn how he does it. A little lower than previous trips. 4.1km in 2hrs 15mins. Must be a combination of effects – advancing age, overnight bag, scrub getting thicker – but I could never do the Mt Namadgi round trip as a day walk again.
A good, relatively open run after lunch for a while, but then the scrub closed in again. We crossed to the other side of Middle Creek near the top, which is a lot slower going. Lunch to the saddle at the top of Big Creamy Flats was 4km in 3hrs 25mins. The scrub certainly does seem worse than on my last trip 8 Nov 14 2 and a half years ago. It was now 4.50pm.
You’d think that nice open flats would be easier walking after pushing through the scrub most of the day, but the damp, tussock grass is not so. We kept to the drier, harder ground at the edge of the tree line most of the time. Rob was looking for an area of granite slab (perfect for a camp fire) and near water. We found it 900m down the Flats. Into camp at 5.25pm, so an 8hr day.
The usual routine – water, set up tent, fire, dress for dinner, dinner. Two obvious cooking styles – old school slow cooking on the fire; new school quick freeze-dried tucker on gas cookers 🙂 .
I was in bed by 7pm. A magnificent starry night (and later a nearly full moon). The wind came up early in the morning. Rupert said it got down to 0ºC, but I was toasty warm.
Day 2 – Geocaching on the NW Namadgi spur bulb
Up at 6.30am. The day a little cloudy and breezier, but still excellent walking weather.
Having previously got the nod from the walk leaders, Roger (Marmaduke Rothschild, Neil (IamCoust) and I (JohnnyBoyACT) set off on a little geocaching excursion, whilst the others went direct to Mt Namadgi. It was to be a short in distance, long in time, exhausting day. The NW Namadgi spur with the huge granite bulb on the end overlooking Little Creamy Flats is a magnificently inhospitable place and very difficult walking. This is certainly not the way to normally approach these caches (come up from Little Creamy Flats as the geocache descriptions suggest) but if you’re near Mt Namadgi and have the time, have a go.
Left camp at 7.50am and headed pretty much west up to the crest of the spur to the 1700m knoll. Scrubby going, the 890m across the ground and 200 vertical metre climb taking 50mins. A little clearer and a bit of granite about the knoll, but a false crest and false hope. Another scrubby dip to cross to the next high point, 15mins for 300m. The wind chill dropped the temperature dramatically and the breeze makes the video sound awful, but great views.
Our track now turned directly north for 440m, taking 30mins. A log of GC37J44 Squirrel’s Greater ROCK. Huge views across to Coronet Peak. The west side of the granite mound was in front of us and we emerged up from walking around its west side to here nearly 2 hours later.
Yet further north on the top of the bulb is a video from a place that I’ve hankered to visit for some years. Just spectacular!
What followed was not. After clearing the granite via the east (rather than tumbling down the nose) was some of the hardest Namadgi walking I’ve ever done. 300m across the ground and 70m drop in 30mins through rampant sapling regrowth. But the reward was waiting (perhaps 10m from the posted coordinates) – a log of GC37J43 Squirrel’s Lesser rock.
My weekend goals completed, I was ready to go home, via Mt Namadgi of course.
We began the ascent heading a little west and at a point I sealed our fate for the next 45mins by staying low under the emerging granite wall. No chutes up, just tight saplings along the base of the cliff. Exhausted, we stopped for morning tea at 10.50am. Wonderful views over the gully coming up from Little Creamy Flats (the usual route to these caches) and beyond to the Kelly Spur were our rewards.
At last the crest was reached.
Our 2.9km in 1hr 55min return trip south along the spur to Mt Namadgi was just as Rob had predicted, except perhaps more scrub than granite. Hard going. But at last we were in familiar territory. We visited the wonderful indigenous stone arrangements. The lads nabbed GC182MT Namadgi in Namadgi which I’d logged on 8 Nov 14.
I love Mt Namadgi and the other sub-party left us plenty of great views (but took none of the biting wind with them). Time for a call home and social media contact. Thanks to all my great friends who responded to the Facebook and Twitter posts – they really are true and proper friends with whom I interact face-to-face! Another video clip.
We left just after 1.30pm and made our way down the true left side of the drainage line that runs down to near our camp. 1.9km in 1hr 10mins. Thick scrub; we were tired.
Most of the others were out walking down Big Creamy Flats looking at trees. I lay down. Soup. But we gas cookers reaped the benefit of old style when Rob and Jenny made ‘muffins’ – the mix sealed in foil and steamed over a little water in a billy on the fire. Topped with home-made apricot jam – yum! Early tea. In bed by 6.30pm. Exhausted.
A calm night. Again around 0ºC. A hot night. I’d brought my SOL Escape Bivvy to try and, in conjunction with my thermal sleeping bag liner (as well as silk liner), I was too warm. A little dampness on my sleeping bag, so I guess the emergency bivvy bag is not fully breathable. But a very handy and lightweight emergency bag.
Day 3 – walk out
Up at 6am. A little frost on tents as the night was cold and calm. Away at 7.50am. 8hrs for the 13.3km. Didn’t seem any easier than coming in, even though packs were lighter and we were going downhill.
This trip would be in my top ten. A wonderful time, thanks Rob and Jenny and all.
9 walkers – Rupert B, Mike B, Roger E, Jenny and Rob H (leaders), Erick McP, Lisa Q, Neil W, me.