After camping at the Leven Canyon picnic area (& witnessing some other campers get a fire going on a Total Fire Ban long weekend grrrr), I decided to climb Black Bluff. From all accounts it looked like an excellent walk up to a glorious mountain.
I was walking by a bit after 8am from the grassy area at Taylor’s Flats on the banks of the Leven River. It was cool in the forest, as Black Bluff remained shrouded in morning cloud. The track was flat initially as it remained with the watercourse, but it soon began to climb. It was a constant climb, never ridiculously steep, but very rarely easing off either. It did allow me to keep a consistent pace without the need to stop and get my breath back very often. I was wearing new gaiters, but the track was in such good condition that they weren’t really getting much of a test! As I ascended, I noticed that the clouds had lifted, and Black Bluff and its conglomerate cliffs were now visible! After a small stretch of overgrown track (but still easy going), the vegetation opened up, I rounded a bend, and I had reached the majestic Paddy’s Lake. The most northerly glacial lake in Tasmania, it sits below the final climb and is an absolutely superb location. The track continued on, climbing around the edge of the lake, before reaching a signposted track junction. Black Bluff was the sidetrip, while the Penguin-Cradle trail continued on along the range. Again, the climbing was enough to feel like a solid climb, but not steep enough to require breaks. Every now and then I would get excellent vantage points, and soon enough Cradle Mountain came into sight. I passed underneath enormous masses of conglomerate scree, and was soon at the trig station that marks the summit of Black Bluff. It was windy up here, but the views were excellent. Leven Canyon, the Dial Range, Mt Roland, Western Bluff, Cradle, Barn Bluff, Mt Ossa, Walls of Jerusalem, Mt Oakleigh, St Valentines Peak, and much, much more! I hung around here for a while, before heading off track towards the high point of the Black Bluff Range. Why? Because it is a mere 1 metre higher in elevation than the trig station, and for those chasing Abels, this is where you must go. It was a pretty easy walk though, the scrub never got above my knees, and there were vast expanses of grassy lawns which I have seen described as a bushwalker’s delight; that it is! The high point of the range is a mass of boulders, which was tricky to climb up onto given the strong winds. But once on top, I was treated to some more wonderful views, albeit pretty similar to earlier. I did have a better view of Mt Beecroft, Mt Tor and St Valentines peak though. It had taken me 3 hours to reach this point.
I had to leave eventually, but I enjoyed every minute of the return trip, having lunch at a nice rock overlooking Paddy’s Lake. Unfortunately the flies found me and I had about 10000 of them flying everywhere but that’s life sometimes! I raced back down the well graded track, making it back to the car at around 2:15pm I reckon, allowing me plenty of time to drive back to Hobart. Interestingly, I didn’t see any smoke from the fires in the Central Highlands. Fingers crossed we get some favourable weather in the near future!