Detention Falls 2017 Dec

Detention Falls 2017 Dec

As Carrie and I were in the Tarkine area, we decided to visit the Detention Falls not too far from Sisters Creek, despite the fact that I had brought a macro lens instead of a landscape one. The rotten sun was now shining brightly; our nice threatening clouds had all but disappeared. The gods were against us, but we still wanted to have a peep. Why not?

We found the turn off to Hawleys Road alright (having headed first for Meuna out of Sisters Creek), and eventually also found a place where that Hawleys Rd ended, so we decided we should stop there. There had been no signs to the falls. What we did find was a series of signs that said: “The falls are not here”. At last, one of the handmade signs said: “Falls Track”.  I followed my nose, watching the grass for signs that other humans had once trodden this way, and on we went, eventually finding a clearer track after we’d followed the farm fence straight ahead through two paddocks. There was also a sign warning us that the viewing platform had been taken away (excellent) and that it was dangerous (of course; life is a very dangerous business, full of shocking and debilitating risk in the 21st century. Luckily there were no blue forms to fill in before we were allowed to continue).

This is not the whole of Detention Falls – they were way too big to fit into a single photo with a 100mm lens 🙁
I steered us towards the top of the falls rather than where a viewing platform once was. The view from our arrival point stopped us in our tracks. There was marvellous tannin-stained water with pools and arches and mini falls debouching to the real ones that fell a mighty distance to the base below. Of course, the base called us. I said I reckoned I could find a way down if Carrie was willing to give it a try. Of course she was. Off we set. The drop looked truly formidable from where we were perched on top, but we made it to the bottom, and had great fun being there as well. There is a pleasant sense of achievement when you reach a place that looks inaccessible from afar. We delighted in being at the base, and I shot what I could with the wrong lens. This is another waterfall I need to visit on a nice (dull) day that stays misty all day – and with my landscape lens!!
The bumph says it’s a ten minute walk to the viewing platform. You will cheat yourself of a great deal of fun if you only allow ten minutes in each direction and no more at these falls. I didn’t time it, but my estimate is that we spent at least an hour here (and that doesn’t include the walking in and out part). There seemed so many things to explore, so many photographic opportunities, that the long time, whatever it was, dashed past quickly.

Hebe Falls 2017 Dec

Hebe Falls Dec 2017

I had seen a couple of photos of the Hebe Falls – beautiful ones that inspired me to try to find these magnificent forest scenes. I located the Hebe River on my map, so knew my general ballgame, got a few tips from an experienced friend, grabbed my fun photographer friend Carrie and off we set to find these falls. I wasn’t completely sure I could guarantee success, but I’d give it my best shot.

Off we ventured into the forest, which was much less thick than I had been expecting (I was braced in head-to-toe armour for a full-scale bushbash, but it was only a moderate battle). Things went well, navigationally speaking; we seemed to be getting closer to a water source. The trouble was, said water-source was not a great distance – horizontally – away, but there was a very big vertical distance to negotiate. Oh well. At least three others have done this and lived. Down we go. It felt like a deep-sea dive, as if we should hold our breathe. It really was very, very steep.

Once at the bottom, I could hear the falls, but we still had some climbing to do, over another knife-edged ridge, and dropping – steering under and over fallen branches – to reach the base further along. At last we could see our prize. We both took in a breathe of wonder. We had found something very beautiful here. I got out my camera to shoot, but the focus seemed very odd. What was going wrong?

OH NO !!!!!! I had brought my 100mm dedicated macro lens and not my landscape one. There were a few darling bright red hygrocybes but that was not what I had just driven three hours to see. The photos here are my best effort with an entirely inappropriate  lens that wouldn’t let me photograph the whole falls at once unless I went half a kilometre downstream. In addition, I could not attach my little stopper to increase the exposure time, or my circular polarising filter to cut extraneous glare. I was pretty sad about this all day, but the falls were so beautiful, and Carey such fun, that I did not weep. In fact, I had my first weep-free day since Bruce disappeared two months ago.

In addition to the wrong lens and inability to use the filters I had lugged into the location, we both had problems with the wretched sun which, despite our beautiful forecast for rain, insisted on making unwanted guest appearances every time we set up somewhere. That’s OK by me. I have to go back anyway!

Ben Lomond 2017 Sleeping on a summit

Ben Lomond 2017. Sleeping on a summit.

Ben Lomond is a perfect place to go if you live in Launceston, want to sleep in the wilderness, and don’t have a lot of time for driving – or for walking, for that matter. My dear friend Gracey and her fiancé wanted to sleep on a summit with me (well, within five minutes of one), so I decided that we should start simple, seeing’s she doesn’t have a great deal of bush experience, and I wasn’t sure how she’d go with an overnight pack. Start short and work it up is my motto.

She and Alex drove up from Hobart after lunch, and then we took a while arranging things (I was lending them quite a bit of equipment, which we needed to sort out – it’s nice owning “too much” stuff [but when it’s useful, how can it be “too much”??]). No doubt we needed to eat a little something before we left … but Ben Lomond is close, so it didn’t matter. Off we finally set up the mountain, into the clouds, arriving up the top at maybe 5 pm. And from where we parked, it really was up and into the clouds, which seemed very romantic and exciting for one’s first sleep on a summit, and Gracey’s tone of voice certainly betrayed that emotion.

Two weeks in a row, I strike a Brocken Spectre. Amazing!
I was a bit nervous as we neared where I wanted to camp, as I hadn’t done a recce, so wasn’t actually sure if we could find two tent spots (or even one) in that rocky terrain. I also didn’t know for sure that we’d find water, and wasn’t carrying any. There was time to get back to the car if all this didn’t work, but I sure hoped we weren’t going to have to go back down and sleep somewhere less exciting. This was looking like fun, and offered glorious views. The other two needed a rest, so I went on ahead to suss out the area and reassure myself that I wasn’t leading them into a rocky jumble of yuk. Hoorah, I found alpine grass, beautiful tarns and space for at least two tents – more if we’d wanted. This was the life. I hurried back to them to tell of our success.

At dinnertime, we carted our gear to the cliff’s edge to eat perched there, staring out at a beautiful sunset unfolding while we chatted.

In the morning, we scampered over rocks to get a series of excellent vantage points as the sun rose. We had breakfast number one high on the mountain, before driving back to my place for breakfast number two.

We’d had two days’ worth of adventure before most people had had their morning tea break. We’re all excited about the next one, which will be longer, but not too long. One leap at a time, and only a doable one at that. Alex and I have to curb Gracey’s excitement and desire to throw herself at the deep end. If one does that too soon, one can end up hating it, as it becomes too tough to enjoy. We need to build up bush muscles gradually, as with everything.

Bay of Fires 2017 Nov

Bay of Fires 2017 Nov

What does a closely-knitt family do when its members have just farewelled their beloved husband, dada or popa? Lena proposed that we go camping at the beach, and that seemed like an excellent diversion, so as soon as the guests had left, we began organising ourselves to go to the Bay of Fires. As there are dog-friendly camping spots, Tessa packed her bag too. She was grieving in her own doggy way as much as everyone else, so I did not want to leave her alone at home.

Which do you prefer – scenery, or this little rogue?

The pure white sands, aqua waters and biscuit boulders (with orange icing) worked their charm. We were even blessed with a fabulous sunset. None of these things turns you magically from grief to happiness, but they do operate like balm on a wound, which, although it may not cure the wound, does make it more tolerable, and promises life after the injury. The beauty of the Bay of Fires made us glad to be alive and together, and refreshed us. Here is a selection of photos of the overnight stay.

This sort of thing is calculated to pick my spirits up.

Lena and Tessa play on the rocks

Even in the boring old daytime, it’s still beautiful.

Twin Spires 2017 Nov

Twin Spires Nov 2017

Twin Spires as seen from Cathedral Mountain.
The mountain called Twin Spires is right next door to Cathedral Mountain, and it would thus be pretty odd to climb one without the other. Twin Spires is the Abel, so I guess if you only had time for one, it would be the one you’d do. I am biased, as I camped on Cathedral and enjoyed the golden hours of sunrise and sunset there, so prefer those views, but Twin Spires was still a very wonderful peak. It is just a fraction less in the thick of the drama than its friend. It does have a tarn very near the summit, so would be worth seeing if it had great views for sunrise at some later date.

For general directions on how to get here, see the post on Cathedral Mountain ( I have reposted the map below.