The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

23 November, 2013

Stirling Range & Porongurup NP

Stirling Range National Park is 80km north of Albany, the range stretches east-west and is surrounded by cleared farmland and at this time many grain trucks and road trains travelling on the roads.

Stirling Range NP, Bluff Knoll

Harvest time, not good for the hay fever

Moingup Spring Camp area

We decided to stay in the National Park camp, Moingup Spring, rather than one of the two caravan parks in the area. After collecting the park brochure we planed on taking a drive through the park on the Stirling Range Road after walking one of the trails, mostly to mountain summits.  Of the 6 bushwalk trails we chose Mount Trio as this was classification 4 in the brochure and has a man walking on a slight grade with walking stick.  The description read "first third steep but the remainder is easy", so that sounded ok, especially two thirds easy!!

Mt Trio, we got at least two thirds up the mountain
We drove to the car park early morning and looked up at Mt Trio at the trail leading up the mountain, gulp, this does seem quite steep.  As we approached the trail the path looked great for the first 20m but the sign at the start had this little man indicating the classification carrying a back pack, which means its a classification 5 higher than first read in the brochure, gulp, my thought was are we doing the right thing, but with Hels very confident to get to the top strode off up the path.

Track looks great at the start.

Still powering on, steeper than piccie shows

About 10 minutes up the side of the mountain we stopped for the first break and already the path was quite steep, but had well formed stairs, so we took in the view and reassured each other that this would be ok.  After another 2 or 3 stops up the hill side we had made it more than half way, I said it looked as though it was getting flatter so we pressed on.  Then we came across another steep section and Helen decided that this was enough for her mumbling something like if she was a mountain goat she would have 4 legs!!!. 

Rest time, but look at the view.

I can do this, nearly there .... I think!
I thought, I'm very close to the top and it looks as though we are nearly there, "I can do this" so off I go however just around the corner it became even steeper and I was watching my footing on each step as I progressed up the hill side.  As I moved on I came to a section which was a little flatter and I could look further along the path.  As it was early morning there was a lot of shade on the path with sections of sun between the trees.  It was at this point that I came to an unmoveable object on the track .............. a black snake.  I was within a metre or so of this snake sunning on the path when I saw him.  Lucky for me the path was relative flat and I started to look further ahead but he was most intent, no bloody stubborn, and was not going to move from soaking up the warm sun on the path. I thought I would throw a couple of large stones to move the bugger on, but this was no good, he was really intent on staying on the path in the warm.  My choices seemed simple, I could jump over the 5 foot venomous black snake or retreat back down the hill.  I choose to retreat down the hill.

WOW that's some road block, move you bugger

Hels made it back to car park before me.
Helen had already made it back to the car when I reached the bottom of the hill, she thought I looked pale from the climb until I told her about the impassable road block I had encountered.  After a cold drink we caught our breath and decided that that was enough of mountain walking trails for a while.

From here we continued on the drive around Salt River Rd to Stirling Range Rd.  The drive through the range had many wildflowers to be seen and various lookouts to take in the views of Mt Trio and the others in the park.  At lunch time we stopped at White Gum Flat picnic area, it was so tranquil you could hear the serenity, it seemed we were the only ones in the park.

Heath-Leaved Honeysuckle

Another wild flower

Enjoying one of the old park benches at White Gum Flat picnic area.
We stopped at Central Lookout car park and noticed three 4WDs which must have passed us when we stopped to check out Talyuberlup picnic area earlier.  I started to walk up to the lookout when more 4WDs arrived -  so many that we were nearly blocked into the car park.  It was a tour group from WA 4WD Magazine of 12 vehicles, so much for our serenity!!  I headed quickly back to the car leaving the group at the look out and after manoeuvring out the car park headed back to our quite camp site for a red wine to rememorise the days activities.

What happened to our serenity
Next morning we headed towards Albany stopping at Porongurup National Park about half way between Stirling Range NP and Albany.  Porongurup NP has much taller trees, karri forest and open jarrah/marri woodlands than Stirling Range NP and is recovering from a wildfire in 2007 which burnt nearly 90% of the park.  After yesterdays adventures we decided that any walking to mountain summits were not on the to do list, so we choose to do the Bolganup Trail, this is classified level 3 and the sign has an adult holding a child's hand, so that seemed a good option.

Tall timber at Tree-in-the-Rock car park

Hels that's the wrong way

But did see some mossy trees

After taking the wrong trail to begin with (started heading up a mountain!!) we soon found the Bolganup Trail and enjoyed the 600m walk (much flatter). 


Big tall mossy trees

Back on the Bolganup trail

Even found a frog on a tree stump (Freddo chocolate!)
 As the walk stared from the Tree-in-the Rock car park we had to find the tree in the rock before heading to Albany.
Tree-in-the-Rock

Tree-in-the-Rock


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