Main Range Np reopening

Queensland specific bushwalking discussion.
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Queensland specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Main Range Np reopening

Postby ofuros » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 6:47 am

Most of the Main Range Np has now reopened... :D
https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/17432.html
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby Aardvark » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 10:25 am

We walked one of our regular day walks last weekend. DoubleTop and Mt.Huntley. I say regular, meaning every year or two.
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The road in

The road in was bereft of much gravel indicating a lot of rain. Water was still on the road and some small dams were refilling.

It is always fascinating seeing these places after fire because it reveals things you maybe weren’t aware of. For example, lesser forestry roads branching off which may have been well hidden with vegetation.

The fires that went through here started down near Dollar Bill Rd a few months ago and have left a stark countryside. We had encountered the ranger’s partner a couple of months ago when she gave us a lift back to Cunningham’s Gap. We had been walking along the highway after completing a circuit over Bare Rock and down to North Branch and cross country back to the highway. She told us the fires had gone over Huntley and had crossed to the eastern foothills.

We monitored the fires over the ensuing few weeks whilst they headed north to Double Top, Spicer’s Peak, Mt.Alphen, Mt.Mathieson, Mt.Mitchell and Mt.Cordeaux. Hence the highway at Cunningham’s Gap was closed for some time.

We did not recognise the start point to the rain forest on the south of Double Top. The fire had only penetrated a short way but some tape verified the route. The route is really giving up all signs of traffic. The tape too is gradually disappearing.
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In the rain forest

I was hovering over a large carpet python before I saw him. He was twisted around a vine that I was in the process of stepping over. It was good to see some life. The first living thing that day, besides a few small birds.
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Nearing the summit

As we gained height, the familiarity of the rocks gave warning to the impending summit and the cloud wafted through the trees. Shortly after, amongst damp ground we were reminded of the fires. It had clearly moved along the top of the escarpment but had failed to take out the vegetation below and south of the crest. Burnt grass trees dominated the landscape. All ground cover was gone. Views were a little more accessible.
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More evidence of fire

I believe the route along the crest of the range had more traffic in past decades. It seems less travelled now as the usual sign of unburnt, flattened leaves that indicate a route after fire, just weren’t there.
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North to Spicer's Pk

The route between Double Top and Huntley changed only a couple of times from burnt to unburnt. We caught unawares a large deer whilst descending Double Top and later, another two younger ones whilst ascending what we have always called Hill 1067. It is now Hill 1053. Probably something different on other maps. A very vocal yellow tailed Black Cockatoo hung around for a period. We only saw the one though.
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Eaten out by fire

It was evident that fire had gone over Mt.Huntley and probably a good thing as the grass above the cliff break was way too thick on my last ascent. The fire however, was very selective as to where it did or did not cross the range. There was not a scene of total devastation along the range and down both sides.
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Looking at Huntley

Unfortunatley the lantanna that infests the gullies below Huntley did not get destroyed and it will undoubtedly come back to confuse the routes that extend down into the tributaries of Swan Ck.

The website on Main Range NP is open to interpretation. It makes reference to camping in remote areas and concentrates on where there are graded walking tracks. Of course it does threaten fines for those who go against the direction of park staff or any signs.

I think it makes little reference to off track walking so as to not be seen to be promoting it. That doesn’t mean it is not allowed. If it was more specific about this, it would be complicated and difficult to manage.

I seriously doubt there are the resources for park staff to move around the entire park and assess/ remove all potential hazards after a fire. ie damaged trees at risk of falling etc.

By making reference to these remote areas and their accessibility they would be likely taking on the responsibility of having to assess and clear them. Off track walkers would be expected to accept the risks themselves and be accountable for their own actions and themselves. This is how it should be and why would we want it to be more regulated.

We should not be rushing to the point where we don’t have the choice as to whether we are or not slaves to the internet.
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby CBee » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 11:05 am

I have planned two water drops (Mt. Huntley and Davies Ridge) just few days before they closed the park for the fires. Now the traverse should be ok, water-wise.
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby Aardvark » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 11:22 am

I'd be surprised if there wasn't water in Tree Fern gully on Huntley. Personally i wouldn't bother with a water drop there.
There's also a good chance of water a short way down the west of Steamer saddle at the moment. Cattle can get there readily enough though.
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby CBee » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 3:19 pm

There's also a good chance of water a short way down the west of Steamer saddle at the moment. Cattle can get there readily enough though.

Last time I was there during drought, few month ago, there was some water, but was heavily polluted with cow's poo. I mentioned it in this forum.
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby Aardvark » Sun 02 Feb, 2020 3:31 pm

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Below Spicers Pk

We were walking off track below the east face of Spicers Pk today and to quote my partner 'this is the last place on Main Range i would ever have expected to see water in the gullies'.

There was much more in some others.
I think it says something about what might be in the usual collection sites
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby CBee » Sun 02 Feb, 2020 7:14 pm

Nothing permanent and nowhere reliable. Or almost nowhere. Moisture in the gullies can be found even during drought, but to my limited experience, I always carry water.
I found water running half-way up isolated creek, last November I believe, but no water running at the old hut site. A bit of a hit and miss.
Now we can only hope for a decent rainfall to get things starting again...
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby dalehikes » Mon 03 Feb, 2020 7:26 am

Thankyou for the report Aardvark.

Despite all of the burnt land, did you still have a satisfying/pleasant walk?
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby Aardvark » Mon 03 Feb, 2020 11:56 am

dalehikes wrote:Thankyou for the report Aardvark.

Despite all of the burnt land, did you still have a satisfying/pleasant walk?


Thanks for asking........yes we did.
Not too long ago on a bit of an exploratory i followed an old road cutting down to the east side of a saddle just south of hill 822. This is on the highground between Governors Chair and the NE ridge to Spicer's Pk. I was investigating a theory that it was possible to contour across to the south side of Spicer's pk and rejoin the escarpment before DoubleTop. The ground or the gradient wasn't so much the problem as was the vegetation. Lantanna, treefall and the like. There are a few deep gullies but not insurmountable. I got a long way but never persisted far enough on that occasion.
The fires have changed that prospect and yesterday was the day to try again.
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On a cliffline facing Main Range

It's obvious why the established route for Southern Main Range goes where it does. I've ascended Spicers dozens of times over decades for daywalks as well as multi-day. It is a good challenge and more scenic to stay on the crest of the range.
However, there is always more to a park and its' boundaries than what meets the eye. I don't recommend everybody walk off track. I don't know anyone except me and the two lunatics with me who one day circumnavigated both Spicer's East and West without taking the crest between the two. Some routes are just for the effort only.
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DoubleTop from below Spicers Pk

As you can tell we visited DoubleTop a little more than a week ago. At that time we pondered a cliffline running for about a kilometre eastward from below Spicers at about 750m alt down to about 500m alt. It connected at its' western end to the spur i thought might give reasonable access to the escarpment between Spicers and DoubleTop. Yesterdays walk was rewarding. I don't imagine it won't again deteriorate as the vegetation comes back. I at least know more than i did before.
My reference to water in the gullies was meant to highlight my belief that the recent downpours over Main Range will have the usual, once reliable, water points along Southern Main Range flowing again. It will require follow up rain to ensure that lasts but i expect you will get water for a couple of weeks to come. There was more water along Swan Ck a week ago than i have seen in ages. There are traverses i've done of Southern Main Range in the past where water was plentiful in Treefern gully on Huntley at the time but Swan Ck was mostly bone dry on the surface .
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Below Treefern gully on Huntley 2005
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby gayet » Mon 03 Feb, 2020 12:26 pm

Unfortunatley the lantanna that infests the gullies below Huntley did not get destroyed and it will undoubtedly come back to confuse the routes that extend down into the tributaries of Swan Ck.


Some years ago the local RFS (Cannungra IIRC) boss told me lantanna was a good firebreak - it doesn't burn at all well. The team were burning off the back of my block as a training excercise and I was commenting on all the lantanna I had pulled out, dug up, poisoned etc in an effort to clean it up. He suggested I cultivate it on the bank of the house foundations and across the flat at the base towards the scrub/trees. The back fence was a state forest, with quite a load of lantanna visible. I didn't attempt it though.
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Re: Main Range Np reopening

Postby ofuros » Thu 27 Feb, 2020 7:41 am

Mount Barney NP & it's surrounds are slowly opening up too...bushwalking in our favourite parks almost back to normal after our nasty fire season. :)

https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/17656.html
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