Saturday, 11 May 2013

Foresters and above?

I have previously posted about an outing to Monga National Park to survey the area for a possible ANPS Wednesday Walk.  On that trip the plans got a little adjusted and I decided to go back again later to complete the trip.

Frances was otherwise engaged on 11 May so I asked our friends Ros and John if they felt like an adventure.  As expected they were up for this and suggested adding a bit, by including the Link Rd from Reidsdale Rd to   Monga Mountain Rd into the equation.  Here is the plan, courtesy of Google Earth.
As we got into the Park from the Kings Highway an most pleasant sign was seen fixed to a tree.
My impression was that Reidsdale Rd was the main track across this part of the Park and as a result would be in good shape.  Indeed it was not: there seems to have been some rain in the area and this had done a fair job of eroding the track.  This caused me to wonder what the less important tracks were going to be like.

Link Rd was marked "4 wheel drive only" and this was probably a reasonable warning as the track was quite steep in places, with some very serious erosion control mounds, and rather rocky.  I didn't have to engage 4WD although the traction control function cut in a couple of times.  When the track leveled out we stopped for morning tea.  Many honeyeaters, including a flock of about 20 Red Wattlebirds, were migrating through the canopy.

The bush was pleasant....
 ... and a few flowers were evident including the fruiting Choretrum candollei.
 The quality of vegetation was not a function of deep soil.
 We next hit a little bit of Monga Mountain Rd and travelled about 1.5km down that before turning into the Northern Fire Trail.  A Banksia spinulosa was one of many beside the track.
Oh dear the track is blocked.  We did notice that others had gone round the RH end of this tree and that is what we decided to do.  This became a learning experience since I slightly misjudge the whereabouts of the high point on the bank and the car became grounded.  Bugger.
 After quite a bit of digging with sticks - memo to self, put trenching tool in car- I decided that the solution was to jack the car up so that we could:
  1. really clear the dirt and rocks out; and
  2. build up some rocks under the front wheels so climb back out.
This was accomplished quite easily.  It was a good way to learn how the jack worked also - very well IMHO.  (I also noted the very strong plate under the guts of the car, on which it was resting.) The question was then to decide whether to retreat or if we could build a ramp to continue onwards.  We decided that continuing was the shot so rearranged our rock collection to give an off ramp, since that was the problem area.  Low range 4WD with both differentials locked was the go, and over we went.  I calculated that I was about 25cm off line on the first effort.
We rolled on down the road, into Northangera Fire Trail and, after crossing a small creek and leaving the Park, turned into Woodleigh Fire Trail.  The initial vegetation here was quite heathey - as all the forest had been cleared.
After about 2km we were back in the Park with dense vegetation and the sounds of Crescent Honeyeaters as we had our lunch.
Some colourful Epacris impressa were growing conveniently beside the road.
The number of remaining adventures was very good (ie zero) and after briefly checking to see what had happened to the tree which had blocked me last visit (it had been winched out of the way) we went back to the Highway and home.

The title of this post refers to a point of due diligence used by ANPS in classifying the quality of roads to be used.  After the Link Road, the erosion humps on Woodleigh Rd seemed to be pussycats so I reckon Foresters could handle it.  I don't think ANPS should try to do the length of the Northern Fire Trail until the fallen tree has been cleared, but Link Rd might be OK for bigger 4WDs and probably Foresters if driven with a spirit of adventure and a run-up in some places.

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