10 PICS FROM THE STICKS PART VI: PICAPALOOZA

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In this entry for 10 Pics from the Sticks we’re going to break the cardinal rule of only having 10 photos. I’m throwing restraint out the window as I show extra photos from hikes already written about and hikes that have not been covered but cover familiar tracks.

We’ll start with photos from Mt Tibrogargun hike which took place in early 2012. With a full back pack we hiked the steep ascent of up Tibrogargun and back down before covering by comparison the much more flat 6km Trachyte Circuit.

From there we go the well worn track of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. We first walked this track in 2009 covering Lake Baroon to Baroon Lookout before turning around and heading back to the carpark. A nice hike of just over 4kms. Next in May 2012 we covered from Lake Baroon to Flaxton Mill Road 14.5kms away. In July 2013 we hiked just the 11kms from Lake Baroon to Kondalilla Falls and again in May 2015 and October 2015.

Usually we’ll park one vehicle up at Kondalilla and then one at Lake Baroon.

You can go off track to the Narrows Lookout where in late 2015 I was a little adventurous and went off the track to get a better look.

After about 2kms walking up hill you come to Baroon Lookout, the view alone from there is worth it for those who don’t want to hike much more than 4kms.

If you go beyond this point you soon find yourself descending into the rainforest. Sometimes we stop for a snack when we reach the creek at the bottom.

From there you can continue on. At the halfway mark there will usually be an opening with a pretty view.

Sometimes it can be hard to judge how far you have to go until you arrive at another creek where you can sit and eat.

Then you start to really get into deep rainforest where the temperature drops. You can hear the waterfalls before you see them. There are beautiful stone steps that lead down to the base. On recent hikes this section has been closed due to safety concerns. The ascent up while still steep is not as hard on the alternative track but you are not able to see the pools at the bottom of the falls and you see less of the falls themselves during your ascent. There is a new look out thought that does provide spectacular views.

Usually at this point we will get in one of the cars parked near Kondalilla and drive back to pick up the other one at Lake Baroon. Last year when leaving in our car at Baroon having already started the engine I noticed a little visitor on the passenger side window. While our new friend flew around quite a bit, he quite graciously flew back to our window a few times giving me the opportunity to grab my phone and take some photos.

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In May 2012 when we hiked all the way from Baroon to Kondalilla we continued along Flaxton Mill Road for approximately another 2-3kms. Essentially this last part was a hike along country roads until reaching another rainforest track that heads towards Flaxton Walkers Camp. In 2013 we did a hike that started at a small car park at the entrance to this track.

 

This track was to be about 12kms and I set out to hike it with roughly 23kgs on my back. A kilometre in I started to feel the pack and the rest of the hike for me physically was essentially a slog. Some of these photos clearly show sunshine but as we descended down to Baxter Creek Falls it was already raining and the dirt ground turned to slippery mud.

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The Falls themselves located close to a Suspension Bridge are pretty and usually not crowded. This is a path less taken and essentially with it brings its own rewards. In July 2015 my little sister was back over from England and with my brother and his wife and Karen we hiked to here and then back again to Flaxton Mill Road rather than go the full 12kms.

© Copyright Karen Marken, Rebecca Marken, Lloyd Marken.

Back to 2013 we trekked uphill to the road.

Where we came to Mapleton Falls lookout for the first time. There’s a road and car park on site so sometimes since we’ve driven people there after a long hike at Kondalilla Falls but on that day we hiked there and it felt like an appropriate reward for our efforts. There have been times when we drove to Mapleton Falls lookout only to find the walkway shut. I’m happy this was not the case on the day I hiked 6kms in the rain with 23kgs on my back to get to it.

On the way back we came across an echidna in the wild which has remained a special treat from that day.

Going back was particularly tough that day in 2012 but we made it back to the car just after the sun had set and the rainforest had become dark.

In July 2015 I was eager to set off from Mapleton Falls itself for a hike further along the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. 7kms in from Mapleton Falls would place it at the Ubajee lookout and a 14km hike was certainly something we were capable off so we sent off with my friend Tim and Karen. It currently is the only time we’ve done this trek.

Mapleton Falls Lookout was still closed at the time but we made use of the nearby Peregrine lookout.

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When we got the main rainforest track it was quite built up and dense but we soldiered on enjoying a path less taken.

Then we passed into more open terrain.

When we reached level terrain I know we couldn’t be far from the Ubajee Walkers camp site. Not long after we found a little sign and walked down to a simple seat on the edge of a mountain. We had made it. The trek and lack of crowds again had made this view feel more earned.

We retraced our steps seeing much of the same sights but this time we arrived at Peregrine Lookout as the sun was setting.

Well that concludes this special edition of 10 Pics from the Sticks. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to catching up on everybody’s blogs real soon. I leave with a few pics from the nearby Geordi Lane which serves the best savoury muffins and chutney I’ve ever had and whom my siblings introduced me to. On a clear day you can see the ocean from the mountains on their balcony where they serve tea. And of course Capriccios pizza.

-Lloyd Marken

©All images are my own unless stated otherwise.

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10 PICS FROM THE STICKS PART III: LAKE BAROON TO FLAXTON MILL ROAD

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My beautiful wife Karen at the Baroon Lookout. © Lloyd Marken

I had been meaning to write about hiking for some time when I was inspired by Cindy Bruchman’s excellent Five Shots blog series. Cindy is the best writer I follow on WordPress and the Five Shots series reveals a great talent for photography too. Cindy’s series include five different photos of similar subject matter taken from a recent stint in the great outdoors and asks you to consider a favourite. They are usually fascinating depictions of how lighting and colour can make for vastly different but uniformly beautiful sights. My series on the other hand, follows a more conventional description of the hikes with photos but I took a leaf out of her book in terms of limiting the number of photos I include. Her series also reinforced for me the belief that our own backyard can appear very exotic to people far away. When my sister and her partner came to Australia a couple of years ago I wondered with my limited resources what we could do with a couple who had seen the world. The answer I decided was a hike through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk but that is…another story to be told. Again do yourself a favour and check out Cindy’s Five Shots series here and just her blog in general which is fantastic!

A couple of years earlier we had hiked with some friends from Lake Baroon carpark to Baroon lookout 2.2kms away before returning to the car park. This is the first section of the Sunshine Coast Great Hinterland Walk At the time I carried a full pack of 23kgs on my back and remembered finding the ascent to the lookout quite tiring. Our friends must have too because they’ve never been hiking with us since. 🙂 So on the 12th of May 2012 we roped in some new suckers for an even more ambitious hike following our trip to Mt Tibrogargan. We parked one car at the Great Walks Entrance on Flaxton Mill Road and then drove in a second car and parked at Lake Baroon. We were going to hike approximately 14.5kms so I decided to only carry my camelback and webbing which weighed probably somewhere between 10-15kgs.

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Looking directly down at the valley from the Baroon Lookout. One of the many spectacular views. © Lloyd Marken

We were hiking with Karen’s friend Rosie and her boyfriend Sandro who had served many years earlier in 3RAR. As we walked along the trail he often heard people coming ahead long before they came into view. The walk to Baroon Lookout is very pleasant along an established and well maintained path and I found the ascent a lot easier without a full pack despite a significant change in my fitness and weight since the last time.

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Lunch time! © Lloyd Marken

After the lookout we headed down terrain we had never seen before as we descended to Obi Obi Creek where we snacked on our lunch. What follows is the longest part of this hike and for some can be the most monotonous. As the path moves away from the creek we came across some lantana that had overgrown on the path and due to recent water rising the path became muddy making me grateful we had worn boots and covered our legs. This was the least pretty park of the hike but we muddled through.

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Where the path is less maintained due to lower usage. © Lloyd Marken

The path is always most deserted at this point where people who hike up to Baroon Lookout or descend from Kondalilla Falls seldom venture this far which kinda makes you proud to be doing the full route. There are still interesting sights to behold, we came across fungi on a tree which we have not seen since on subsequent journeys.

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The Tree Fungi not far before the half-way mark. © Lloyd Marken

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©Lloyd Marken

We later came back to the creek where a real nice area to have a picnic is but be warned it can take a while to get there. Shortly after the rainforest around us become more dense and the temperature expectedly dropped. It reminded me of a weekend I had spent at Canungra.

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© Lloyd Marken

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The rainforest and creek as we neared the Falls. © Lloyd Marken

The rainforest was very pretty after the lantana and our spirits were high as we reached the tough part-climbing up Kondalilla Falls. Rosie came into her own here having been part of walking groups the steeper it got the easier it seemed for her. This part of the track is closed down at the moment due to land slides but is a really enjoyable way to see the Falls and will hopefully open again soon.

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Stone steps that precede the bottom of Kondalilla Falls. © Lloyd Marken

Sandro in addition to being a former infantry soldier has done a number of hard physical jobs and played many sports. His old injuries began to plague him as we continued to walk uphill along Falls Road. It was inspiring to see his determination kick in and soldier through this last part. He did not want us to go ahead and get the car. From here we walked along Montville-Mapleton Road which does sport some pretty mountain views but we were essentially walking along the road for the last 3kms. Rosie and me raced each other to the cars in the last few hundred metres on Flaxton Mill Road and we were all grateful when it was over. It had been a great hike but Capriccios Pizza awaited us.

-Lloyd Marken

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Karen, Rosie and Sandro pose half-way up in front Kondalilla Falls. © Lloyd Marken

10 PICS FROM THE STICKS PART II: MT TIBROGARGAN AND THE TRACHYTE CIRCUIT

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Inspired by the great series of blog posts by Cindy Bruchmann Five Shots I am continuing my own rip off 10 Pics from the Sticks. I’ll be playing catch up with some hikes me and my wife have done in recent years before hopefully giving new material from this year. In January 2012 my wife and I took our real first serious hike together at The Glasshouse Mountains. The Glass House Mountains are on the way to the Sunshine Coast and consist of 11 mountains which include Mt Beerburrum, Mt Ngungun and Mt Tibrogargan. We had done a couple of things previously, a hike around a forest park in suburbia in 2009, a 4km jaunt up to Baroon Lookout and back with friends the same year which was very enjoyable. Baroon Lookout has featured in our lives ever since in long day hikes with various people and was also where I picked out a stick for Karen and her best friend which were then lacquered and given to them to keep. However notable as an event for us though, on that day we only really covered 5kms.

In early 2012 I was yet again on a health kick and had found hiking with full gear of 23kgs on my back was a good way to burn calories. We arrived at Mt Tibrogargan after lunch and began the steep ascent 800m up to the Mountain View lookout. The track up Tibrogargan is notoriously steep, rocky, uneven and has a chain on the side of the path at points. Maybe to stop people falling off the path but more likely to help pull themselves up. I’ll admit near the end  a couple of times I made use of that function but only a couple.

388We reached a ledge and I took the pack off for the last bit of the climb while my wife Karen waited. At the last bit where I had to hug the wall to pull myself up onto a rock and I thought better of it, noting if I injured myself Karen was going to struggle to get back down with my pack and I was starting a new job the next day. You could say I chickened out but I’m keen to try again. You could say it though. 🙂

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On our way back down a guy came running past us up the mountain with a camel back. I’m pretty sure we’d seen him coming back down when we were going up. Talk about fit. With time to burn we decided to do the 6km Trachyte circuit which is very flat compared to the terrain we usually tackle on the Sunshine Coast Great Hinterland Walk.

404There were Bee farms, and the Jack Ferris lookout and after having climbed the mountain we found this a very easy going walk.

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From the Jack Ferris look-out. Mt Ngugun is on the left and Mt Tibrogargan is the peak on the right.

 

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On the left of frame is most of Mt Tibberoowuccum and in the centre of frame Mt Ngungun.
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To the left is Mt Beerwah and to the right of it Mt Tibberoowuccum.

The sun set on our way back and we were both glad when we rocked up the car park just as it had gotten dark.

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We have since done longer hikes but it was a good one to start off with. A few different friends have posted pictures from the top of Mt Tibrogagan so I will have to try again soon.

-Lloyd Marken