|This is my mate Eddy, he lives with me in my office at work. I like Eddy because not only do we share a love of fine metal but we also look the same, especially after I've worked another 12 hour day at this time of the year!|
It's been a bit quiet on the blogging front at the Feral household this week. I've been looking at these photos for a week but haven't found the time or the mojo to actually write anything up. Coming up to Christmas work is going crazy and I'm finding myself with barely enough time to work, eat and sleep, blogging has been put on hold for a few days. Luckily I did manage to head out last weekend for a stroll, this was another of those walks that I wanted to do to check out the feasibility of me doing a food drop in the area next year in preparation for my Australian Alps Walking Track stroll. My plan next year is to drive to Lake Cobbler before most of the Alpine roads are open and then ride my mountain bike up to Mount Speculation to place my food drop. So apart from climbing Mount Cobbler today I was also interested in sussing out the likelihood of me getting up to Lake Cobbler in the ute in early spring next year, the good news is that it looks feasible but I reckon I'll be carrying a chainsaw.
Today turned into a bit of an epic, starting at 6am and ending 16 hours later illuminated by flashing blue lights, the Feral charm seeming to have run out....hmmm. The drive from my house to Lake Cobbler, which was the start point for this stroll, is a long one. Almost 5 hours after walking out the door I pulled up in a cloud of dust into the car park beside the lake, happy to climb out into the warm sunshine and stretch my legs. Lake Cobbler was almost deserted this morning, there was only one other 4wd drive parked there, the occupants heading up the walking track to Mount Cobbler just as I pulled up.
|The beautiful Lake Cobbler.|
Having never been here before my first objective today, well after pulling on my boots, was to find the start of the walking track to Dandongadale Falls. It didn't take me long to find an un-signposted pad heading in the general direction that I needed to go and after pushing through a little further my pad joined a few other faint pads all heading down from the lake shore. With the track now fairly obvious I just had to follow the creek down stream for awhile and soon enough I arrived onto the open slabs on top of the falls. Now if I'd bothered to actually read my notes I would of known that these falls were actually not the main falls, yep and if my aunty had balls she'd be my uncle. Yeah right, so after scrambling around the falls for awhile and taking a couple of photos I was soon on my way back to the car park, satisfied that I'd now checked out Dandongadale Falls, although they were strangely smaller than I'd imagined. Arriving back at the car park I had a closer look at my notes and map as I was now looking for the track up to Mount Cobbler, it was now that I realised that I'd only visited the smaller waterfall, the main Dandongadale Falls need a bit of a scrub bash west before picking up another track. Now in moments like these the dilemma is always, do I retrace my route to check out what I've missed or do I chalk it down to experience and tell myself I'll check them out next time, apathy won today.
So having reconciled myself to the fact that I wouldn't be visiting the falls today I set off up the track to Mount Cobbler. All was good in the Feral world as I started my climb up the wide sign posted track, after 15 minutes though things once again took an unexpected turn. Climbing up through the regrowth I heard what sound like shouting behind me, now that was a little odd as the only other people in the remote car park were already at least an hour ahead of me up the track. After another minute I couldn't ignore the shouting any longer, turning around I noticed a young bloke bounding up the track behind me waving his hands and asking if I could help him. It turns out that my new mate was over in Australia from Italy working and doing a bit of back packing, like any red blooded young Italian bloke he'd got himself a V8 Dunnydoor to get around in during his time in Oz. Unfortunately the Dunnydoor was now wedged hard up against a rock somewhere back on the access road, apparently the rock was preventing forward progress and gravity was prevent backwards progress. Oh well, with my finally tuned Feral physique I needed a bit of a warm up anyway! So back down the track I trudged following along behind my new Italian mate as he bounded down the hill. Arriving back at the ute we headed up to his stranded car, with no tow bar on the Dunnydoor the only option to tow him backwards was to tie off onto his diff, this is where being a fat f*#ker has its advantages as there was no way my generous circumference was going to be able to crawl underneath his car, only one option there so it wasn't me shimmying around on my back in the dust. The good news is that after a couple of goes we managed to extract the car from its perilous position and get it safely parked on some level ground. Heading back down to the car park again I once again set off on what was becoming a somewhat elusive Mount Cobbler, as it would turn out the 90 minute delay would have some ramifications for me later that night.
|Heading up to Mount Cobbler.|
All was good this time though and I quickly (well quickly by my sloth like standards) made my way up towards Cobbler Plateau. The walk up here was a little bit of a surprise for me, the track was actually pretty clear of scrub and I wasn't hurdling fallen trees all the way like I seem to be on a lot of walks in the Victorian Alps nowadays. To top it off the climb was even broken by the crossing of a small gorge, the creek being the source of the main Dandongadale Falls, an off track excursion from here to the falls being filed away in the deep dark recesses of my brain as a future adventure. After leaving the creek I climbed through regrowth before arriving at a track junction on Cobbler Plateau, the track on my left would be my later return route. Now I was on the open plateau I started to pick up views ahead of me of the summit of Mount Cobbler through the Snowgums, everything appearing pretty strait forward.
|The climb to Cobbler Plateau crosses over this creek, incidentally this is the last water for the day.|
After a beautiful walk along the plateau, the route started to climb a bare rocky area, it was here that I got my first close up look at the summit of Mount Cobbler, it was now obvious that the climb had a bit of a sting in it's tail though. Climbing up over the rock I got to a cairn marking the spot that I had to descend very steeply into a narrow saddle that joined the part of the mountain that I was standing on and the actual summit. Now the climb in and out of this saddle wasn't anywhere near the hardest climb you can read about on my blog but it still required the use of hands for a couple of easy scrambles, and at the same time there was quite a bit of exposure in a couple of spots, all in all a pleasant surprise really.
|The ground got pretty rocky as I approached the top.|
Once on the summit it was time to drop the pack for awhile and take in the grandstand views. The mountains spread out before me included Mount Buller, Mount Howitt, Mount Speculation, Mt Despair, The Razor, The Viking and Mount Buffalo. I haven't mentioned it already but today was a beautiful blue sky kind of day, and with the bush still being a bit wet after our wet spring there wasn't any prescribed burns going on, so that meant the atmosphere was super clear today which wasn't a bad thing for checking out the view. All good things eventually come to an end though, so after having a bite to eat and giving Sam a call to let her know that I'd be a little later than planned I shouldered the pack and retraced my steps back to the track junction on Cobbler Plateau.
|That's Mount Buller in the distance.|
To make this walk into a circuit I was heading along Cobbler Plateau in the direction of Mount Speculation until I met up with Cobbler Lake Track coming up from the lake on my left. The walk along the plateau was a very enjoyable section of today's outing, the track along the plateau had been cleared of regrowth since the last fires went through so the walking was easy and at the same time there were quite a few trees that had survived the last fire. Arriving at a large grassy clearing I sat under a tree for awhile and checked out one of the Timbertop Logbooks that I often find scattered around this area of the alps. Timbertop is the Alpine campus of Geelong Grammar and it's not unusual to come across groups of teenagers wandering around the bush up here, even more common is coming across the small plastic lunch boxes that the school use to house their log books. After sitting under the tree on the soft grass it was a bit of an effort to clamber back on to my feet, I would of been pretty happy to pitch a tent and spend the night in this beautiful spot.
|Climbing out of the small saddle that connects the top of the mountain.|
Meeting up with the 4wd track that is the Cobbler Lake Track I started the long, fairly gentle descent back to the lake. This is the track that I'd wanted to check out for next years food drop, and while it wasn't particularly steep for a high country track, it looks like it's still going to be fairly tough riding my mountain bike up here weighed down with a 5 or 6 days food. Heading down on foot today though was a pretty easy finish to the walk, the deserted track allowing me to divert my gaze from my feet and take in the view through the trees, the soft late afternoon sun adding to the atmosphere. Eventually I started to get glimpses of Cobbler Lake to my left through the trees and a couple of minutes later I met the access track down to the lake.
|Cobbler Lake Track above the lake.|
After taking my boots off I settled back in for the long drive home, stopping on the drive down the mountain to get a photo of the sun lighting up Dandongadale Falls across the valley which looked almost like a Blue Mountains scene to my eyes. Now we get to the flashing blue lights bit, yeah due to me mucking around doing my good Samaritan act I was a lot later than I had planned and being the tool that I am I was pushing it a bit on the way home. Yep, one minute I was floating down a hill on the Maroondah Highway pretty content with life, the next minute the cab of the ute resembled a blue light disco as constable plod did his job. Oh well, I may be a tool but at least I'm a tool with a big heart!
|Cobbler Lake in the late afternoon.|
I used some old notes out of Glenn van der Knijff's book, Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps. The book I was using is out of print I think but Mr van der Knijff has written a new edition that is published by Glenn Tempest at OSP. Mr van der Knijff rates this as an easy stroll, but for me it was probably a medium grade walk, walking 15.3 kilometres and climbing 754 metres with a bit of easy scrambling it was a solid day out. Actually I've used a few of Mr van der Knijff's notes over the years, he used to write a lot of track notes for Wild magazine back in the day, and like Mr Chapman I reckon I've got to multiply by the fat bastard factor when working out how long it will take to complete one of his walks. This walk is a long way from Melbourne, it took me the best part of 5 hours to get there, the good news is that there is some great camping around this beautiful alpine lake, the bad news (for some) is that you won't get lakeside in a 2wd car.
|The road up to the Cobbler Lake is just ok for a 2wd car, but don't drive the last bit down to the lake shore unless you have a 4wd.|