Friday-Saturday 20-21 October: Long time and night walkabout – L/E. Walk from Hall to Forde on the Canberra Centenary Trail (including One Tree Hill), leaving around 2pm. Around 20km and 250m climb. Attend a critter night spotlighting event at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary (see below). Walk back to Hall, leaving around 11pm and arriving around 4am. Stop at the CCT northern campsite for a midnight feast. No moon. Each walk and the spotlighting event is optional (eg. just walk from Hall and go spotlighting; walk from Hall and go home; go spotlighting and walk back to Hall; do the lot – 40km and 500m climb). Map: Hall. Leader: John Evans 0417 436 877 firstname.lastname@example.org . Transport: ∼$10 per person. Book by the prior Wednesday evening, so I can organise logistics.
Friday evening 20 October: Mulligans Flat spring spotlighting walk – S/E. A joint outing has been booked exclusively for members of Canberra’s three major bushwalking clubs, the National Parks Association of the ACT, Canberra Bushwalking Club and Brindabella Bushwalking Club. This ‘twilight tour’ of the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary is on the evening of Friday 20 October 2017. It will be led by an ACT Parks and Conservation Service ecologist with a good knowledge of the threatened animal species which have been re-introduced to this woodland conservation gem on the northern boundary of the ACT. These species include Eastern Bettong, Eastern Quoll, Bush Stone-curlew, and New Holland Mouse. There is an informative video, ‘A Short History of Mulligans’ on the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust website at mulligansflat.org.au for those seeking to learn more about the reserve and its species. The cost is $30/person, payable in advance. This covers the cost of employing the ranger and gives us access to the woodland sanctuary which is not otherwise accessible at night. Please email Isobel C for further information and/or to make a firm booking. We need 20 participants for this to go ahead. To my mind, it’s worth it just to hear the beautifully eerie call of the Bush Stone-curlews, at present being regularly reported on the Canberra Birds chatline.
I still struggle to get accurate climbs. My GPSr (recently recalibrated the altimeter) showed 1050vm, Google Earth shows 1099vm, I blogged 825vm on 17 Jan 15. Changed the terrain grading from E to E-M, as even a track is a bit more difficult at night.
Distance: 43.6km | Climb: 1050m | Time: 1.10pm – 1.25am (12hrs 15mins), including 15 mins of breaks during walking and a 55min transition | Grading: L/E-M; H(12)
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Hall to Forde
The weather on Friday afternoon didn’t improve as forecast, so Greg and I enjoyed a showery, windy and quite cool trip from Hall to Forde. Two blokes and a dog on One Tree Hill, one cyclist were the only people we saw.
Is it perhaps a little sad to see the sprawling Gungahlin suburbs encroaching to the very base of the One Tree Hill ridge? The newest suburb of Taylor has its infrastructure in place and the street lights were on as I returned. Still, people have to live somewhere.
Greg is great company and a great talker, so the eastward trip seemed to go very quickly. We were admiring ACT border marker A1 and Greg found his first geocache 😛 . The free-stone sculptures continue to proliferate, although some of the large ones appear to have been pulled down/fallen down. We had a 10min afternoon tea break at the northern camp ground. A rang my dear wife. Not a terribly inviting place and windy, showery cold today, but water in tanks if needed and a loo.
Looked up under the huge eagle nest in a large tree near the top of the ascent from the camp ground.
Eventually down along the side of Duke Road, down beside Gundaroo Rd with the pools by the road grates a-croaking with frogs, a half-hearted magpie swoop, over the stile and so along the wide path which was the Old Gundaroo Rd.
Reached Greg’s car at the Amy Ackman St car park for Mulligans Flat at 5.35pm. The 19.9km trip took 4hrs 25mins. I retrieved an extra bag of goodies from Greg’s car. Greg wisely departed.
As it was still showery, I settled like an old vagrant in the shelter at the car park, got out my stove and had tea.
At 6.30pm I wandered up Quinane Avenue to the meeting point on Justice Kelly St. I’d never been to this park and entrance to Mulligans Flat NR before. Phillip S kindly provided the back of his truck to leave my gear. Isobel checked us in and our guide (a PhD student from ANU?) and assistant arrived.
What a wonderful time followed! Our guide was absolutely so passionate about her work and the inhabitants of the fenced sanctuary. A briefing, then we walked to the Woodland Gate. Here another few facts on the sanctuary (which is to be expanded to include Goorooyarroo – another 40km of fencing at $10/m). Then to the Shearing Shed for a briefing, including videos, on the Bettongs, Quolls and Bush stone-curlews. Dark by now, we were issued with red-light torches and off we went, our guide in front with a powerful white-light torch swinging from side to side.
In all we saw 9 bettongs, a quoll with a radio collar, several possums and, of course, wallabies and kangaroos. We heard the mournful call of the bush stone-curlews and, at a lovely swampy area, 6 different frogs. Our guide (who had younger ears and eyes) heard and saw bats. Fabulous!
Thank you so much to Isobel for organising this.
Forde to Hall
I resisted Phillip’s generous offer to drive me to where I’d parked my car and set off back to Hall. I love night walking. No need for a torch till around Oak Hill, as the sky-glow of the city lights provided sufficient illumination. But I started to slow and stumble, so headlight on. A pity, as it draws your world in.
My ‘midnight feast’ was a sad affair 😆 . It was around 10.45pm and only me (who is poor company). A 5min break.
But a thrill when I looked up and saw around 2m away a lovely Owlet-nightjar (probably). I said hello and it took off.
I found my walking poles of use to maintain pace and stride, as well as provide steadiness. Got a bit tired towards the end. 4hrs 5mins (including 5min break) for the 19.9km trip.
This night section reminded me of the Cbr100 when Mike B and Mac K paced me through this area, in reverse, in March 2016.
A tin of Coke in the car. Drove home via Phillip’s to pick up my gear.
2 walkers Hall to Forde – Greg J, me.
∼20 critter spotting
Forde to Hall – me.