Bruny weekend 2022 May

I had had a glorious day on Bruny, shooting coastal scenes and fungi hunting on Mt Mangana, and now made my way towards my accommodation. My hopes were high. When you pay $650 for one person for two nights, you expect to be really treating yourself. Well; I do. My companions agreed. I am not usually so extravagant, and regard this as a large amount of money to splash out on myself just for two nights, but decided to do it anyway. I have stayed at several places – even on Bruny – that were more in the $230/night zone, and have had very comfortable and quasi luxurious stays. I was expecting something pretty wonderful for this amount of money.

Neck Beach Bruny. My first morning. Holiday off to a great start.

Google implied it was at the end of the Cloudy Bay road, so I drove along, waiting for a sign. I found none, and arrived at the breach. Luckily some locals were there, and they told me to backtrack and I would find, tucked away, a somewhat obscured driveway. With the extra advice, I found it. Not for the first time, I was VERY glad I was not arriving after dark!

Lycoperdon perfotum Puff Ball – such an interesting texture

I found the lock marked for my accommodation, and applied the code. The thing fell apart as it collapsed onto the sand. I grabbed my key, but didn’t dare put it back into the broken lock box. There were many padlocks on this gate, none marked. I needed to try every single padlock before the key fitted something. Good old Murphy.

Lepista fuliginosa Mt Mangana

The old gate was heavy, and its own weight pulled it back to the centre the whole time. I was faced with the problem of keeping it open while I drove through. I searched around for a rock or a stick to aid me, again happy that I was arriving in the light, which I don’t always do, being a photographer who shoots the sunset and then goes to her accommodation. I found neither rock nor stick. My best aid was a fern frond. These are not very strong, so I was nervous, but made it.

Bakers Beach Bruny

On I drove on the sandy, windy road. B had said ten minutes, but I was sure I would be slower than he was, but as twenty minutes approached with still no sight of my cabin, I realised that my rendez-vous with my friends in the pub for dinner was going to be impossible. I could not do this in the dark. Besides, there were endless turnoffs and choices to be made. Maybe later, but on my first night I needed to get a bit used to this place and its driveway. That was a good decision. In the morning I got lost trying to get out, and landed up under someone else’s bedroom – a someone else who had rented a beautiful cabin made of glass, so I and my car would have been very visible as I approached their bed at 8 a.m.. We were possibly both as shocked as each other.

My view

Anyway, at last my cabin materialised. Marvelling that anyone with a mere two-wheel drive car could make that journey, I headed to look through “my” windows at the grand place I had hired. Oh. The curtains were aged and drab. The mock wood of the kitchen cupboards had been tossed out of most places in the 1960s. It looked tired as well as old.
I approached the next coded lock to get in. Hm. It, too, fell apart in my hands, and I couldn’t put it together either. Oh well; problem for later. I’d keep the house key in my pocket. In I went. The place smelled old to match its look. I examined the books near the couch: I often like to browse at such things. 2006 National Geographic. Oh; thanks. I went to examine the coffee making facilities. None. There was ONE sachet of instant coffee and a Bushels teabag in an old saucer on the bench. WHO drinks instant coffee? I haven’t done that in decades.

Sunset over Cloudy Bay

Oh well. At least the location was good. I didn’t want to waste beautiful daylight hours mourning that I had just tossed a lot of money away on not very much. I quickly grabbed my camera and set off to go to East Cloudy Head, to see what could be seen there. It was, unfortunately, 4 p.m. by this stage, but I have confidence in my speed, so packed nothing other than my photographic gear and house key. I luckily did have my phone so I could send a view pic to friends and relatives.

Bruny forest

The view from up high was wonderful; the sunset, pink and pretty. The track was sandy, so the fact that it was sunset and I was up high with a walk back did not deter me in the slightest. The white sand would reflect any ambient light – although I did know the moon would not be rising to aid my cause. No problems. Down I went easily, and along the beach, stopping to chat to some fishermen who plied me with many questions, thus delaying me so it was now totally dark with absolutely no ambient light. Along the shore I went.

Fisherman Cloudy Bay

Oh oh. Um … where was my shack? How would I find it in the dark? I had left no lights on, and the shack itself would, in the dark, no doubt be totally obscured by the dunes and shrubbery. Whoops. I wandered along for what seemed a very long time (time goes slowly when you’re not having fun – but actually; I was. This was an adventure, so long as it turned out well. If it didn’t go so well, this was a huge amount of money to spend sleeping on the sand in almost mid-winter).
To and fro. To and fro. How can you be so stupid Louise? I thought of my photographer friend Marley, trapped out once overnight. Hm. Keep trying. Then I got a bright idea: I used google maps on my phone to locate the shack, and my own position in space. Ah ha. I had not gone quite far enough. When the device said I was parallel to the hut, I searched for a gap in the bushes and found my way home. A good adventure livens life up. I phoned my friends to say dinner was impossible. I looked at the emergency provisions I’d packed. Soup for dinner. Fine. I like soup.

Sunset over Cloudy Bay

But, meanwhile, I was freezing. I had already worked out that I didn’t know how to open the fridge, which lacked a metal casing, so perhaps it didn’t work at all. Nothing was going to go off in a place this cold anyway. I really needed to light the gas fire. I tried everything and failed. In the end I phoned the number I had been given. I was coached over the phone, but that failed too. Eventually someone came to help me. The heater was broken, but he fixed it. While I had been waiting (an hour, wrapped in blankets), I tried to recharge my camera battery using the plug that had been put in especially for me, but it didn’t work. Maybe the person who was coming could fix that too. (He did). Had he not fixed it, I would have been really stuck, as I need to recharge my battery every day.
I had also tried to get hot water and failed, and, as so many things were broken or not working, I decided the gas failure had meant no hot water either. However, there was hot water, but by the time that was ascertained, I and the house were so cold that the idea of stripping off to shower was intolerable. The bathroom would have kept the beer cold, but not Louise warm. Gradually, as the heater did its work, I warmed up enough to go to bed, but without using the bathroom. I was too cold to try the astro photography that I was actually there for.

Cortinarius tasmocamphoratus Bruny

Normally for breakfast, I have porridge, followed by espresso coffee and a bun or pastry heated in the oven. The porridge bit was fine, although there were only four bowls in a place that says it sleeps eight. The nicest bowl, shape-wise, was made of plastic, so I chose a cheap, thick, crockery one. Then came the problem of second course. I had brought my own espresso coffee, so boiled water on the stove (there being no electric kettle; fine). I poured hot water on the grains and waited for the grinds to sink. Not exactly the luxury I had been anticipating. The oven didn’t work. I pointed the fire gun at every single hole available, but nothing happened. I had old cold bun with my coffee. I thought a place charging that amount might have bought a modern stove that self-ignited, but I was wrong.

Below Mavista Falls

Ah well. Off I set for more fun and adventure, today selecting Mavista Falls on the east of the island for my fungi hunt, returning shortly after lunch to then go exploring above the house again in the afternoon. I left the house at 2.30. Why would you pack a torch at 2.30?
I climbed the headland again, chatting to nice people I met along the way, photographing a few fungi and the scenery. I had made excellent time, so decided to go offtrack and explore the enticing cliffs that I had eyed up the day before. Perhaps there were some dramatic shots to be had. (There were.) It was glorious and I was afloat, unaware of almost everything in a world of beauty. The sunset was red but brief, not really worth photographing, as the bank up of clouds obscured the horizon … and made it get dark much more quickly.
I was off track, and could see no hint of a path that would take me from where I was back to the main track. It was safer to follow the treacherous cliff line than bushbash and get stuck, so backwards I went. Fine; I am bush-capable, and found the pad that led to the track and followed it in the dark, which was now proper dark and not just a hint of darkness. But I am confident in the bush. On I pressed and got to the beach without incident.

Mavista Falls Bruny

I followed the shoreline along. I heard the sound of splosh, splosh. Oh. I was in water. Hm. It must be very dark. I went up higher, onto the rocks, treading carefully now. Could I find the tell-tale sign I had left for myself, just in case it was dark again? Of course not. Anyway, I did find my shack. I didn’t have time to get changed, so went to the hotel to meet my friends in my walking gear, with boots and gaiters.
It was a fun meal. Everyone had had a great day exploring, and all had tales to tell; snaps to show. “We” on this occasion were my camera club, NTCC, and although all of us shoot with proper cameras and tripods, most of us also take phone shots for messaging family and friends, for dinner show and tells etc. But meanwhile, we are also all looking forward to seeing what everyone else managed to capture later, when we post on the club site.

Bruny Forest

As if I hadn’t had enough of an adventure by this stage, I felt what seemed to be a tick on my head during dinner. A big one! Friends doused me and Mr Tick in pure alcohol. He was reported missing, but nobody knew where. I envisaged him just changing spots in my hair, but anyway, life went on. I was so very grateful to have discovered his presence during dinner when I could get help and not later, when alone and inaccessible. I am also, of course, grateful to the army of alcohol dousers and searchers who got rid of my intruder.
As the night was cloudy and the forecast bad, the Astro shoot at the lighthouse was cancelled. Home we all went.
Now my little cabin was very warm and cosy, as the helper-guy had said not to turn the heater off. Not wanting to burden him with a two-hour journey again, I had obeyed. I read a bit and, because I was now operating from a warm base, I decided to take a night shot of the cabin in the dark. Maybe I’d get in a few stars. It didn’t seem to be as cloudy as it had been earlier.

Aurora Cloudy Bay

I went out and shot, looking east. But then I looked south. It was clear, and I could detect, not quite subliminally, beams. I almost yelled. I actually ran down to the beach through the bushes in the dark along the sand track with camera and tripod (yes, again neglecting anything else helpful, such was my sense of urgency) and shot south. BINGO. An aurora. A BEAUTIFUL aurora. Oh; I can’t tell you how happy I was. I messaged two friends from the club to alert them, and then spent until 11 pm shooting. I just couldn’t stop. Auroras do that to you.
Meanwhile, I have forgotten to mention the drive to and from the Hotel. Maybe driving along a sand track with more paddymelons on it than blowflies at a midsummer barbecue is not your idea of fun. It certainly meant I didn’t dare go more than 15 kph, but I absolutely loved it. These cute chubby bottoms hopping away and towards, across left and right while I tried to inch forward … I loved them all (especially as they are not eating my garden). I said “Goodnight” to them as I finally went to bed, leaving them nibbling the grass in front of my lodgings.

Mavista Falls Bruny

Next morning I awoke at 5.30 a.m. and looked out my bedroom window. The sun wouldn’t even think about rising for another hour and a half; it was still pitch back. The stars twinkled in the window, just like they used to at home before the gottverdammt Health and Safety maniacs who pollute the planet ruined my view by lighting up the place next door, just in case an octogenarian felt like a 3 a.m trot around her place and tripped in the dark.
But meanwhile, I realised as I gazed at the stars that I was warming to this little shack, now that it had warmed up enough to allow such a change in attitude. However, I did think the owner was greedy charging so much, but spending so little. How much would new curtains or blinds, some slightly nice crockery, a modern stove that self-ignited, and a heater that worked really cost?

Bye bye, Cloudy Bay

Such criticisms aside, I was sad as I drove that sandy track for the last time. I went to Cloudy Bay Beach to bid it farewell from that side, and drove to meet my club friend for another fungi and waterfall shoot. I had had a great holiday. Life needs adventures.

Fungi of Cataract Gorge 2021

Launceston’s Cataract Gorge is my playground. I can be found there every day of my life – unless I am up a mountain or off exploring some distant waterfall. The gorge is my “daily drag” to which I owe much of my fitness. It is my sanity and my soul’s revival. Whilst my husband deteriorated with his illness, the quiet beauty of the land, the gurgle of the river, the pattern of flow as the river defined its daily course over boulders and smaller rocks, the tweets and songs of the birds … all these things brought me peace while my legs beat out the rhythm of my daily run. With that as medicine, I needed no other.

Mycena nargan
Lichenomphalina chromacea
Mycena viscidocruenta

Every day I run my chosen path, delighting in the workout provided by the many hills present, noting en passant the flowers, leaves, flow lines and fungi that line my route. Past the “tourist section” filled with beautiful flowers, paddymelons and wallabies I go, and on to my preferred lonely sections of mostly unmaintained paths that are wilder, freer and less populated. Manicured nature does not please me for more than ten minutes or so.

Mycena kuurkacea
Lepiota fuliginosa
Cortinarius archeri

And then came Covid.  Australia went into lockdown, but we were still allowed our gorge. Like cattle, we were herded into the one nice place to go. I figured that if I could smell someone, I could also breathe their germs, and the main gorge paths were now full seeing’s we were locked out of National Parks territory. I spent my runs holding my breath and gasping for air when I found an empty spot. I had to change the paths on which I ran. This lead to new opportunities, and I have never returned to my old route. I still haven’t worked out how you can claim that herding the citizens into a small area and locking them out of the wide open spaces provided by National Parks helps prevent the spread of disease. As soon as they made the announcement, I said: “They’ll have a massive mental health bill to pay”, and my words have unfortunately proven to be correct.

Leratiomyces ceres
Cortinarius rotundisporus
Entoloma viridomarginatum

In order to find space in the gorge, I began to explore off-track areas and tiny paths that had not previously called me. My rewards were many, and the number of new fungi genera and species that I found in these conditions has been a massive bonus. I have continued with my “covid routes”, even though lockdown ended over a year ago. And I continue to find wonderful fungi.

Marasmiellus ‘earth odour’
Mycena interrupta
Mycena kuurkacea

Here is a collection of 20 or so favourites from the gorge. You will see my natural instinct is to favour the small and dainty ones. However, I also love many of the larger ones as well. Space does not permit me to show everything.

Amanita xanthocephala
Marasmiellus candidus

Amongst the genera and species not shown here, just in case you’d like a full check-list of what I have found and photographed in the gorge, are the following:
Agaricus austrovinaceus
Agaricus marzipan
Amanita carneiphylla
Amanita pagetodes
Armillaria luteobubalina
Austropaxillus muelleri
Byssomerulius corium
Callistosporium ‘dry red’
Cantharellus concinnus
Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Mycena vinacea

Chlorophyllum brunneum
Clitocybe semiocculta
Clitopilus pseudopiperitis
Coprinellus disseminatus
Cortinarius ‘green gills’
Cortinarius austrovenetus
Crepidotus orange
Crepidotus variabilis
Datronia brunneoleuca
Dictyopanus pusillus
Entoloma albidosimulans
Entoloma purpureofuscum
Entoloma rodwayi
Entoloma sepiaceovelutinum
Inocybe sp
Laccaria sp
Lepista nuda
Leucopaxillus amarus
Limacella pitereka
Macrolepiota clendandii

Descola phlebophora

Mucronella pendula
Mycena albidocapillaris
Mycena austrofilopes
Mycena carmeliana
Mycena cystidiosa
Mycena subgalericulata
Omphalotus nidifomis
Oudemansiella gigaspora
Postea dissecta
Pseudomerulius curtisii
Rhodocollybia butyracea
Rickinella fibula
Russula persanguinea
Singerocybe clitoboides
Stereum ochraceoflavum
Tyromyces merulinus
There are others that I have seen but either I have not got around to photographing them, or couldn’t ID them, so saw little point. Some of the “big browns” and “big whites” are rather challenging to ID.
I hope there are no misprints, typos or false IDs. Please alert me if you spot errors. There is far too much misinformation in the web. I do not wish to be part of it! I hope you have enjoyed seeing what our gorge has to offer.

Wellington / kunanyi falls and fungi 2021 June

It was a perfect day for fungi hunting – albeit a little cold – and, as I had been waterfall bagging cum bushbashing the day before, I decided to have a lovely relaxing day searching for treasures on the slopes of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. I also wanted to get my first ever photo of Myrtle Gully Falls with a decent flow, so headed in that direction.

Amillaria novae-zelandiae Myrtle Gully Falls

Silly me. I only brought my landscape lens. No matter. It meant I could return later with my macro one. I hate changing lenses in the forest anyway.

Crepidotus variabilis

Having set out early so as to ensure a parking spot, I had the entire forest to myself on the way out.

Mycena austrororida Myrtle Gully Falls

At the time, and having finished shooting landscape shots, I was cross at not having brought my macro, but once I’d resolved to return, I could just relax and select the specimens I wanted to photograph later.

Mycena epipterygia

One patch of fungi that intrigued me was a total gang of Hygrocybe firma in a kind of open mossy area. I resolved to also bring little Abby there later so she could play fairies. There must have been at least 50 specimens – all tiny – in a slightly scattered cluster.

Mycena sp – about 3mm across

On the second trip, I met heaps of people: some in family groups, lots walking their dogs (all on leads), some fungi hunting, like me. We all smiled as we passed each other in a general feeling of good will. Several commented on how lucky we are to have this mountain at the city’s doorstep, and they were not wrong. It made me really happy to see so many people out enjoying its beauty.

Anthrocophyllum archeri Myrtle Gully Falls

My joy, however, was quickly dispelled when I returned to the area of all the Hygrocybe firma. There I saw four females in their early twenties (probably) ducking down and gathering things from the ground. There were NO Hygrocybe firmas left! I was really cross. I asked them what they were doing, and they said with a kind of chuckle: “Oh, we’re just doing a little foraging.” Their hands were absolutely full of fungi! Fungi that belong to ALL the people of Hobart, and not just them. I was so cross I followed them back to the car, and took a photo of their number plate. They were in a car from NSW. Tourists, stealing our fungi. As if it isn’t bad enough that our government wants to rape and pillage everything called “National Park” to sell it as a commodity to tourists without said tourists also thinking they can come and destroy public space in this manner. I told the slowest of them (the others were scurrying away from me) that she should take up photography, as then she could “take” fungi without touching or destroying them for others. I pointed out that their piles of fungi were presumably going to land in a bin somewhere; they weren’t even of any use. One of them was videoing the caper (as I arrived). I’m sure it made a fantastic Insta story.

Mycena interrupta

So. I didn’t get to show Abby the red fairy bonnets growing on “her” mountain.

Fern Glade Burnie fungi

Fern Glade, Burnie, is situated on the beautiful Emu River – a place where you feel like whispering, and not just because of the plentiful platypuses and paddymelons. Actually, on my visit, marsupials well and truly outnumbered fungi, which I had gone to see, even though the latter were numerous.

Mycena nargan Fern Glade

How many times have I driven past this place but never bothered to explore it? Countless. At last I was rectifying this matter today, thanks to posts on the fungi website.

Ramaria botrytis
Agaricus austrovinaceous (young)? Fern Glade Burnie

There are actually three Fern Glade walks in Tasmania: one here at Stowport, part of outer Burnie; one at Fern Tree halfway up kunanyi (Mt Wellington); and one leading to the Marakoopa Caves near Mole Creek. You could kind of do a Fern Glade fungi-crawl, trying to do all in a day, which is not, however, advised, as each is so beautiful, and the fungi so numerous in autumn / early winter, that the rush would destroy the hoped-for goal of enjoying peace, serenity, that “ancient feeling” one gets when in the presence of trees whose age and size makes your own look ridiculously diminutive and inconsequential, and whose majesty far, far outclasses anything humans can come up with. I suggest three separate days. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by beauty.

Cyptotrama asprata baby Fern Glade Burnie
Cyptotrama asprata adult … huge and a bit washed out. Fern Glade

I didn’t really know anything about this place apart from the fact that it boasted nice fungi, so parked at the start, as that seemed a reasonable thing to do, and set out walking beside the river. I had no idea where or how far I was going. Besides, when you know you’re going to allow yourself to be waylaid by fungi, neither time nor distance has much relevance. It was a cold morning, and the paddymelons who greeted me looked even colder than I did. They just sat there, huddled up with their usual “bad posture” and didn’t budge a centimetre as I passed by. They were too cold, and too unthreatened to bother.

Amillaria luteobubalina. Honey fungus, which unfortunately causes root rot in Eucalypts.

I walked to the end of the “manicured” tourist-type track, but saw it was possible to continue, so that I did, for so long that I got hungry. Having left the car at 9 o’clock, I didn’t return until after 1 pm. There was plenty to amuse me!
Here is a selection of some of the fungi that I found. There were, of course, many more fungi than this. This is your “trailer”. The film lies in Burnie.

Entoloma albidocoeruleum
Leafy liverwort, not a fungus, but so delicate and beautiful I had to include it.

Re IDs. I have tried my hardest. Sometimes one asks for help but doesn’t get an answer. This is my best effort. I am happy to receive corrections.

Cullen, Twelvetrees Range, The Needles and more

Ever stuffed up arrangements for the start of a walk? What did you do?
Here’s what I did on this occasion.
As I explained in my previous blog*, I had been up most of the night worrying, getting only three hours’ sleep, before driving 2.5 hours north to pack my bag. There was then a 3.5 hours’ drive to reach my meeting place with the other bushwalkers of the group in the far SW of the state. Trouble is, with so much fatigue, so little sleep and so very much stress, despite setting out before the others, I didn’t quite make our rendez-vous, and when I tried to find them early next morning, they were neither where they said they’d sleep, nor where they would park at the start of the walk. I searched and drove to and fro for half a day. Had I found their car, I would have given chase, but there was no sign of it. Had they had an accident or been unexpectedly delayed? I drove back to the Needles saddle, where there is range, but there was no sign of a missed call or message. By an early lunchtime, I decided I now had what was left of three days to do my own thing. Oh the choices!!!! Such a wealth of them once one is down in the south west!

Hygrocybe firma at the base of The Needles. I was not expecting fungi here!

I had been going to climb to Pandani Shelf for photographic purposes (not using the out-of-bounds route), but the reality and the forecast proclaimed that clouds would dominate up there, so I decided for some lower joys that would nonetheless involve climbing.

Blandfordia punicea. I WAS hoping for that. These are called Christmas Bells. They seem to have failed to have noticed that it’s March.

I ate an early lunch, and settled on my first goal: The Needles, which I have climbed many times before, but never with small children in mind. Now was the time to climb specifically watching for aspects that might daunt pint-size people (like metre-high steps or huge mud baths). If all was well, then we could come here as a family in April. I have also never devoted time on the Needles to examining the flora of the region, and was interested to see if plants were recovering after the fires of two years ago.
My other question was, how long would it take: was it a good length for a diminutive five year old?

Geum talbotianum

The pictures tell you that I found very beautiful flowers, and meanwhile, I decided that we can definitely bring the children, although Abby will need lifting (“flying”, she calls it) over some of the two-metre-long stretches of gooey mud, … and perhaps a hand up some of the steeper parts where sliding backwards is possible (very few of these).

Blandfordia punicea, habitat photo.
Needles scenery

The amount of burnt devastation is very sad, and yet the new growth brings hope, and many of the shrubs are recovering nicely. I even found a Geum talbotianum,  which the web tells me is on the threatened species list.
Back in the carpark, I met two other very friendly plant enthusiasts, who recommended Tims Track to me,  so that seemed like an excellent suggestion. My focus would switch to fungi.

Possibly Cortinarius austrocinnabarinus

The above fungi were the first to greet me. How could you miss that? They were huge and bold and cheery. I had met more lovely people in the carpark here, so was feeling generally cheerful. I might be alone on this trip, but I was certainly not lonely, and was enjoying meeting other like-minded souls.

Cortinarius sinapicolor

The above fungus was part of a little cluster of canary yellow fungi, also pretty big and bold, yelling “Hello” to me as I involved myself with their world.

Hygrocybe lewelliniae

The Hygrocybe lewelliniae I happened upon was far more subtle. I don’t always require a siren to stop me in my tracks. This fungus has now changed its name, but I am sick of unlearning and learning anew, only to have the new one change – and of buying expensive books to have them out of date by the time I’ve brought them home. I express my discontent by using the names I have originally learned (mostly), and by not buying a $50 update which I know is already behind the times. Also, philosophically (and possibly more to the point), I am a joiner rather than a divider. Constantly splitting genera into smaller groups doesn’t suit my personality. Where we place dividing lines is a decision made by humans about nature; nature doesn’t necessitate that particular decision.

Mt Cullen: climbing
Mt Cullen: climbing

So, before I aggravate any more splitters, let us move on to my next goal, Mt Cullen, which had been on my bucket list for many years. It is the combination of the long drive and the problem of always needing to find a dog-sitter that has kept me away. Here was my golden opportunity. Having not planned to be here, I had no information, so just chose a starting point that looked appealing and climbed up.

Mt Cullen summit area

I reached the first “summit” in 52 minutes; however, it was not the real summit. Now I was up high, I could see that the ridge led to a higher point, just across the way. However, the route was decorated with jagged rocks with a precipitous drop, and scrub in between. I battled the scrub rather than losing height (bad move), and eventually reached the summit with a bit of acrobatic work that I was not actually comfortable with, so chose an easier route for my exit / descent. It was not necessary to be so “daring”. Anyway, the twenty minutes that summit to summit took helped me kill some time: I had hoped I could spin the climb out for long enough to get sunset from a slightly raised perch, yet still get down with enough light to avoid an accident.

Mt Cullen sunset – not an overdose of colour, but better than nothing.

Once I was sure I could easily get down without trouble, I just sat and appreciated being there, waiting for colour. It was not a grand fanfare, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Back at the car, I had to decide which of all the thousands of possible spots to choose from, would be my piece of territory for the night. I chose a beach, parked the car, prepared it for sleeping and enjoyed the rest of the fading light while perched on a rock eating my dinner.

Lake Pedder dawn

The menu for day two was pretty similar to that of day one: A mountain or two, some recce work, fungi, wildflowers and beautiful forest.
The recce work was on Mt Wedge, sussing it out for the possibility of sleeping on high – but tonight was not going to offer any views, so I’d bide my time. The new mountain was Twelvetrees Range, which I really loved. Its open ridge had a “Sound of Music” feel to it. I could easily have been on Skye, in the Lakes or in Iceland up there with no bush to bash through and big views of water and other mountains. It was great choose-your-own-route stuff, and I wandered happily all over the ridge top. Doing it like that meant the descent to the road at the end was VERY steep. (Under an hour up; more than, down, as I chose a longer, harder route).

Twelvetrees Range – one of my favourite sections

I rewarded myself with food from the lodge, and then set about exploring the Lodge’s Forest Walk (no great finds there today), the Creepy Crawly Trail (this would be more correctly named The Ducky Weavy Trail) and revisiting Tims Track. The weather was far from photographically exciting, so I wended my way slowly east.

Colourful Russula persanguinea
Hygrocybe graminicolor

I love that cute, almost transparent Hygrocybe graminicolor . You may well be asking where the green is, but it can often be washed out like this. The form of its friends and neighbours enjoying the same moss close by indicates to me it was just bigger and more fragile then they were, but still part of the happy family.
I was going to sleep near the Needles, but the wind was howling and the dark clouds were swirling around me, and I decided that after all I have been through recently, I didn’t feel like moody but felt more like being beside a stream nearer the Mt Field National Park so headed even further east, arriving at my spot by the river after dark.

Aurantiporus pulcherrimus

On my final day, my choice seemed to be between climbing Mt Mawson or more fungi hunting. The fungi had been so rewarding I opted for them, so explored the area around the Junee River, with some good finds.

Junee River

And thus ends my weekend: a lot less strenuous than originally planned, but perhaps that was exactly what my body needed, and I certainly found some lovely jewels, and even met some friendly people in carparks – always a bonus.

Routes for Cullen or Twelvetrees Ra available on request.