Cashs Falls (not), Apr 2018
What is failure? What constitutes success? If you set out to achieve the impossible, realise it can’t be done (or, at least, not under the conditions of that moment), set new goals and achieve them, have you failed or succeeded?
Cashs Gorge from the lookout
Craig Doumauras and I set out on what was, for both of us, a second attempt at Cashs Falls. Now, sure, we could persuade a friend with a drone to just get a shot for us, but what would be the fun or merit in that? No. For us, the need was to see the gorge personally, or not at all. But meanwhile, these falls were winning the protracted game of hide and seek we were all playing.
Along the Ralphs Falls-Cashs Gorge Track we went, plummeting downhill at the agreed-upon point, where, the contours looked perhaps spaced enough to allow us through the plentiful cliffs of the area. At first, the leads went quite well, although at one point Craig lost his footing and fell a “warning” number of metres, just from a trip. We were in very steep country, and both exercised great care.
The land went from steep to steeper. We were still on the most promising area this side of the river, in terms of the map’s information, but all around us, unmapped cliffy obstacles were accumulating. This was hostile territory. Eventually, there were cliffs to left, right and in front of us. I am not prepared to slide down what I can’t climb back up, so we both agreed that we needed a new tack, and should climb back up the steep slope and try again on the other side.
I am waiting the confirmation of an expert, but I believe this is Athrotaxis laxifolia, a cross between a King Billy and a Pencil Pine. Unbelievably, it is growing in a branch outlet of an ancient Leptospermum!
Off we set once more – around to the Cashs Gorge Lookout, across the river at the top, around the opposite (beautiful) spur, until it was time to descend. Now, when staring at the map from our first turn-around point, I noticed a bluff that might, with a bit of luck, give us a view of our grail, or, even better, produce a passageway that would allow us down to creek level. We agreed to make this bluff a preliminary goal. It was nice to have something to aim for. Given the totally obscure position of our bluff, we did wonder if we could be the first people ever foolish enough to explore this particular territory. That added spice to our adventure. Meanwhile, we were drawing nearer. At the very least, we were going to make this goal, and that felt like an achievement in this terrain. Would it yield a view? Na. That is, we had a gorgeous view, but not of our elusive falls.
Interestingly, this map depicts the falls as being slightly more upstream than the map above from ListMaps. With a canopy that dense, how is one supposed to know?
We sat on our prize, our shapely little bluff that I christened Cashs Bluff, and had an early lunch so as to prolong our time admiring its unique vista. Somewhere below us, tantalisingly close, lay our falls, but there was not even a tiny speck of white to be seen, not a minuscule rush of water to be heard. Given the inaccuracy of the position of some waterfalls on TasMaps, we could not even be sure it was exactly where the map said it would be. It was a mythical beast that would not yield a hint to us today.
Our total height difference for the first climb was more than indicated here. I forgot to turn my tracker on before we were half way down the first descent.
Believe it or not, I haven’t given up on Cashs Falls yet. I want one more try, and have planned my next route, but for this day, we both felt enough was enough. My track data said that by the time we’d returned to the car, we’d spent four hours on this exercise (including lunch and morning tea). We’d walked 7.5 kms and climbed and dropped over 300 ms’ elevation though thick, unforgiving scrub. It was time to visit a waterfall that was more welcoming of visitors (Harridge); one that would let us do this lovely thing called walking, where you put one foot in front of the other, and got somewhere. As for Cashs Bluff, we gave each other a high five once we breasted the top of the climb out from the bosky tangle. THAT mission was successfully accomplished, and we felt good about it.
For the rest of this day, see www.natureloverswalks.com/harridge-falls/