Montana Falls 2017 Sept

Montana Falls 10 Sept 2017

Montana Falls Upper
I recently published a blog labelled “Montana Falls”, only to be informed by people far more knowledgeable in the matter of waterfalls than I am, that I had been to, and captured, the cascades.
My friends told me how to reach the real falls, and so I returned to the area last weekend to see what I had originally wanted to see. These falls can’t be reached by the Salmon Farm (41degrees south). The cascades can, and are well worth a visit, but they are not the falls.

Montana Falls Upper
To reach the falls, continue driving past the turn off into 41 degrees south,  (having turned left down Montana Rd (C164) in between Deloraine and Chudleigh) until you cross Western Creek. The Needles ridge will come down to meet you from the right at this point. The falls are on Western Creek, and not far from this point, but you can’t just park and follow the creek down, as this is private property. Continue driving, turning left down Leonard’s Rd for about a kilometre until you reach a blue sign that says you have reached Long Ridge Regional Reserve. I just pulled over to the side at this point. It occurs where the road curves about ten degrees from 180.

Montana Falls Upper
There is a black line on the map, marking a property division between private and public land. I was expecting a fence, but found instead a path-cum-road which did not go in a straight line, but which had pink tapes that lead me to my goal. On the way back, I walked the straight line, which brought me out a bit short of the car. Just follow the pink tapes. It is better to do the further (lower) falls first, as then the upper ones are easier to see on the way back.

Montana Falls Lower
The bush was quiet and peaceful; the banks of the river, green and inviting. It felt very restorative to be doing this walk, even if it was only twenty minutes in each direction. It is winter; it was snowing in the highlands above me, and yet I found the waters strangely tempting.

My return route (I visited the upper falls on the way in. You can see them there on the map).

Helder 2017 Aug

Mt Helder Aug 2017

Underway to Mt Helder, walking around Hermit Basin at this stage, heading for the Herder Inlet. Stillwater Hill in the background, centre (I think).
Over the years, I have seen a few photos taken from the flanks of Mt Helder, and have wanted to see these sights for myself. For me, this mountain was all about the view rather than attaining the summit, although, of course, I wanted to do that too; however, being in the wilderness and seeing what could be seen from up there were my primary aims.

One of the very few moments when we could walk where we wanted to – on the white “beaches” of Lake Pedder.
We’ve had a lot of rain this winter, so I was not surprised to see that the normal white quartzite border around the lake (wonderful for quick progress) had been swallowed up by the bloated winter waterbody. This was inconvenient, but it sure was nice to see the lake looking so healthy. The repercussions for our little foursome were that instead of a nice lakeshore march to our real starting point, we would have to do battle with resisting scrub for several hours before we could begin the climb proper.

Looking down to two gorgeous unnamed lumps in the Stillwater Passage. Right to Mt Cullen. It took over an hour to get up here from the plains below.
The first hour and a half of our journey was thus embarrassingly slow. As far as the crow flies (pity these birds can’t carry packs for us), we had covered little territory, having wound back around the lake to where we could see our starting point, all too near.  By lunchtime, we had made a more satisfying dent in the work to be done, but still had a way to go before the “starting line”. After three hours’ walking (plus lunch and morning tea breaks), we were sitting near the base of the climb, ready to begin the steep ascent. We sat there drinking and eating a bit more, girding our loins for the work ahead, and chatting while the day was warm and pleasant. I knew we would be too cold to sit around the non-existent campfire at night when the temperature dropped below freezing; it was fun to do it here, just soaking in the wilderness ambience.

As we chatted, I looked up at the first nobble we would head for, and guessed it would take us an hour to reach it, close as it was. I was hoping that was a pessimistic guess (I like to have pessimistic guesses so as not to be disappointed later), but, unfortunately, it was a little optimistic. Not only was the climb “in your face” steep, but the ground was slippery and slimy, making the work more difficult, as sometimes you’d slide backwards, losing precious height gain. Always, you were on your guard against a really big slide back to unknown depths below.

Dawn next day. I woke just in time to catch the roseate sky. I feared I’d missed it, but the eastern section still had a pink tinge.
However, soon enough we’d reached it, and what a great reward for our efforts. I could have stayed there easily, but this spot wasn’t what we needed if we were to complete our stated intension of ascending Mt Helder. On we continued, to a high point looking across at Helder (on the map below, this is where you’ll see a lot of doubling back and forth). The aim here was to dump our packs, summit Helder, collect water on the rebound, and then proceed a tiny bit further in the direction of Mt Cawthorn. Off we set with water-collecting equipment for the way back, and plummeted down into thick, nasty scrub. We climbed back up and tried a different tack. Now, it was 4.30. We took stock of our current situation: (i) it would be dark by 6; (ii) this forest was very, very resistant to our best efforts, (iii) it would definitely be well below freezing overnight, making being caught-out perilous. It seemed we really ought to abandon a summit attempt for today, and do it straight after breakfast in the morning. This was a much safer option. We went down into the depths for a recce and to collect our water (mud, actually), gathered our gear and went to a nearer tent spot, the one in the picture above (and below). Can you see the ice on the tent in both shots? It was a bit chilly up there.

Day 2.
With plenty of time up our sleeves, we summitted without great difficulty (although with a worthy counter-battle by the bush) in a bit over an hour from our spot, and returned in a bit under, meaning that we had nearly an hour to scrape the remaining ice off our tents (alas) and pack up for a ten o’clock departure.

Summit view. We’d earned it – although I did like the tent view better.
We were more efficient on the way back, staying higher to avoid the thickest of the bauera’s web of unrelenting branchlets and the mass of melaleuca trunks that don’t like being budged sideways, and the cutting grass that likes to slit various parts of your anatomy. We only had to lift our legs high each step over the button grass and deal with bands of bush guarding the many creek crossings. Easy. Huh. We were back at the cars by 3.15. Obviously, we had decided to leave Mt Cawthorn for a time that favoured faster movement.

Sue Ellen looking east, while the camera gazes SW at Mt Cawthorn, and the Frankland Range beyond.

The lower route – to our destination – is the cyan route with black outline. The return route can just be made out – cyan with no black border. Unfortunately my battery ran out near the end, but you can see where we’re heading. The dos and from up high before the Helder saddle are (SW) where we pack dumped, and (NE) where we camped. The end of the black line is where we found water of sorts, so long as you like the taste of mud and grit in your drinks. It’s an acquired taste that I don’t mind.

Close up of the final stages to give you a better idea.

Montana Cascades 2017 Aug

Montana Cascades 27 Aug 2017
I originally published this under the title “Montana Falls”, having followed the Waterfalls of Tasmania website to get there. However, friends then emailed me and told me that what I had shown was not the falls at all, and that one did not access them via the Salmon Farm (41 degrees South). So, I have now called these lovely falling waters Montana Cascades. They are well worth a visit – but so are the falls, the real falls, upper and lower. For them, go to the blog labelled, correctly, Montana Falls. Here is my report on the Cascades.

Just look at that wretched blue sky on a day forecast to be snowing all day! Having forced my husband to read in the car while I went to Upper Liffey Falls solo (because of all the ice and his Parkinson’s Disease), I chose Montana Falls as my second falls for our little trip, as he could easily do those. As it was, however, he has only seen what you’ve seen – my photos.

I reckon it would be pretty cool to own a waterfall and be able to swim below it whenever you felt like it.
Dogs were allowed out the back, but not out the front of the property, so he decided to take Tessa for a walk in the bush rather than come and see the falls. Thus I ended up doing these by myself too – which is actually a good thing, as once the path ran out, I had to climb through prickly gorse bush to get up and around some mini-cliffs before I could continue to where I wanted to photograph. The descent to water level was also not for him. He and Tessa had a lovely walk in the forest behind the main building.
To get to these falls, go to 41degrees south salmon farm, just out of Deloraine, (on the way to Dairy Plains or Chudleigh) and pay a fee to walk along the track to where you can view the falls. I asked permission to go beyond that official part.

Upper Liffey Falls 2017 Aug

Upper Liffey Falls in the snow. August 27 2017

Upper Liffey Falls in frozen glory – just what I wanted.
The forecast for today was snow down to 300 ms. I figured it might possibly be cold, and a bit unpleasant for a jaunt that would last too long, so I chose Upper Liffey Falls (and its nearby mate, Montana Falls – see separate blog under that heading) as my option for such a day. Upper Liffey Falls shouldn’t take too long. I told my husband to bring a good book, as I didn’t think an icy waterfall would be suitable for him. This was one to do solo. He could join in on Montana Falls.

It was kind of hard to find a good place to park the car, as off-road was very icy and covered in snow, but on road seemed asking for trouble. I eventually found a spot near to where I wanted to launch myself into the white wonderland that was a compromise between the two, and off I set, not sure what would be in store. It was a bit bushier than I expected, and the branchlets were laden with snow, so any hint of a track was not exactly clear, and I kept being bombarded with tiny snow missiles. Every now and then, I found tapes, which let me know I was going where others went. I’m sure that in conditions in which the ground is not covered in white powder, things would be clearer.

Anyway, nothing mattered. I knew exactly where I was going in the grander scheme of things – I was just being a wuss and seeking the path of least resistance so as not to get covered in snow as I went. The temperature outside the car was “only” zero, but that didn’t take into consideration the wind chill factor, which felt pretty extreme. I was glad to drop out of the blast as I descended to the falls. It was another case of “make your own way down”, which is fine, even in these icy conditions, although I did take it slowly. No one was going to come and rescue me if I was hasty and slipped and hurt myself.

This is a non-bushy section up the other side. That looks like a track , but it’s not. I don’t think there is one up there. The bushy bits are lower down.
I was a bit disappointed not to have more snow surrounding the falls, but I’m just being fussy. I was, however, downright peeved to have the wretched sun come out just as I was preparing to shoot. Lucky I had my stoppers, polarising filters and other toys to hand. The shots are 30 second exposures, which is long enough to flatten out the water and give a silky flow, but not so long as to turn the whole thing into a white blur. I hope you enjoy today’s “catch”.
I had heard of these falls quite a long time ago. I’m pleased to have seen them in real life at last.

Cam Falls, Upper Cam Falls and Owen Brook Falls 2017 Aug

Cam Falls, Upper Cam Falls and Owen Brook Falls. 24 Aug 2017.

Upper Cam Falls
Being somewhat new to this waterfall bagging business, I was really confused about whether the Cam Falls and the Upper Cam Falls were the same thing. Many web sites depict a waterfall and name it the Cam Falls, but the picture is actually of the Upper Cam Falls, which is confusing if you’ve come in from the outside. The Waterfalls of Tasmania website does not list the Cam Falls as either a documented or an undocumented feature of our environment. Wikipedia kindly has them both, and the wiki-map cleared up for me the confusion about where each one was. See the map at the end of this article.

We had a free day on Thursday. It seemed like a nice waterfall sort of day. Off we set. I decided to tackle the easy one first (Upper Cam Falls), so that we didn’t return from the drive empty handed. Good idea. What a delightful waterfall this is!

We headed south from Burnie along the B18, driving past Ridgley of Guide Falls fame, and continuing on to Hampshire. Here we turned west onto the C103, and continued until the western road swung to the north. At this point, Lockwood Rd is to the left, and this is the road you follow until a yellow boom gate stops you. The falls are then down to your right in a ferny glade. You can hear them from your car.

These are the Cam Falls (without an “Upper” prefix). I cannot find another web image of these falls.
Next mission was whichever of the remaining two was easier to find. We returned to the C103 and continued northish until that road intersected with the C101. There was a very nice man nearby, a local, and I was wondering if he might be the person I needed to ask to get permission from to go to these falls (or might at least know whom I should ask), so I asked him about the finer details, and he was very helpful. He muttered nothing about private property or keep out, and told me exactly what to do next, which was to turn left onto that branch of the C101, and to drive 3 kms to the end of the bitumen.

And this is the base of the Owen Brook Falls. I was unwilling to climb any of the mossy, near-vertical rocks on offer to try for a better shot of the falls, which are huge, and whose base part A can be seen at the top of the image. I was also hungry, and if you haven’t yet worked it out, my stomach rules. This was as good as it was going to get this day, and this is the only web image of the Owen Brook Falls I can find, so you are not allowed to complain. 🙂
We parked by a green, corrugated shack (which I knew about from a different useful post), and I went up to it to ask permission to see the Owen Brook Falls, which are in a paddock behind the house. My web source said this person was friendly and granted permission. However, there was no person, and the shack was broken down and vandalised. The yeahsayer was gone. I decided to see the Cam Falls first, as these were also in walking distance from the dwelling, on the other side. This took a very long time, as I was super cautious descending the excessively steep and not-necessarily stable slope, choosing trees that might take my weight, finding footholds that wouldn’t give way. What an impressively steep gorge!! There is a railing up the top to allow you to view and lean a bit without killing yourself, but I would not take children near this place unless they were on a lead. I would also not descend unless really competent and experienced in this kind of untracked steep terrain. I hope if you go in, you do so at your very own risk and don’t think it is someone else’s responsibility to keep you safe. My husband did not attempt either descent.

The Cam Falls were on the East Cam River. The Owen Brook Falls are on Owen Brook, which joins the East Cam just below both falls. The gorge area was fantastic and I would have loved to have explored for longer, but we hadn’t brought our lunch, and I was (as usual) starving by now, so we left, contented, and eagerly headed for our next treat – savoury food at ETC, and dessert at the Raspberry Farm. We love this post-walk ritual. Tessa considers herself to have bagged three more falls.