Compton Falls 2021

Because Compton Falls happen to be one of my favourite waterfalls, I find it sad that the waterfall bears a name that describes neither the creek it is on, nor its shape or emotions. It does, however, describe its more general area, so I guess that will have to do.
So, like Smoko Falls, which lie on Mother Cummings Rivulet rather than on Smoko Creek, Compton Falls do not lie on Compton Creek, but on neighbouring Falls Rivulet. Obviously, they can’t be called Falls Falls, so they got called Compton. I wonder who this Compton was to have a hill, a creek (albeit a different one) and now a waterfall named after him. Google was no help. A friend thought Twin Falls would be a fitting name, but Compton has already been nomenclatured, so that is that.
Both small watercourses issue from Compton Hill above, although they flow in different directions, thanks to the mini watershed provided by Denison Ridge, which begins to take shape about half was down the hill. Whatever; Falls Rivulet is an utterly charming stream from any of its vantage points, but particularly from the area of this shapely twin waterfall.

Compton Falls from afar

Denison Ridge is where we parked the car, on a road that is not on my map, which dates back to the early 90s. Although the falls were pretty much due west of where we parked, the easiest line of travel was to proceed northish for a short while, and then slightly south of west, roughly on contour, until dropping very steeply to our goal. As there are many cliffs protecting the falls, this avoided them, and gave fairly easy access (if you count bushbashing through thick forest without a track “easy”). Don’t be fooled by my nonchalance: this is not an area for tourists or even average club people. It is for pretty serious and experienced bushwalkers.

Compton Falls

Seen from afar, it was a glorious sight. Seen from up close, it was utterly magnificent. Its shape is positively alluring, with wonderful lines of flow and benches for the water to trip over on its way down.

Compton Falls from further back
Compton Falls from further back

This is another waterfall that I tried to photograph from the side, about midway up, hoping thereby to avoid the spray, but once more, the bush pulled me down until I found the vantage point used for the major images above. It was relatively spray free and the movement in the foreground created by the waterfall wind wasn’t too bad. I shot and was happy enough. Caedence and Rob went for a more front-on shot, but I enjoy foreground and a bit of context, (and I like to be different), so was happy with where I was. At first their path to their vantage point looked dangerous, but on closer examination, I was comfortable with it, as there were things to hold along the steep descent (forty five degrees) of mossy log to get across the creek. However, I didn’t want to fight spray, so stayed where I was.

Psathyrella asperosporia

Rob was making videos of himself sliding, and Caedence was shooting from many angles. I got cold, so started slowly back, knowing they would catch up with me eventually if I went slowly enough. They did, and we met up in the forest near to where our routes met the road. My gps had failed to record properly in either direction, but I remembered features of the bush – in particular, fungi we had met on the way out, so like Little Red Riding Hood with her crumbs in the forest, I followed the fungi and headed for the bit of route that I did have, and soon enough, heard the other two. It was nice to be able to loiter for a bit and admire the fungi. Moving like that kept me from freezing.

Philiota aurivella

The next falls on our agenda were ones that Rob had worked out (he had worked out Compton as well). We parked and headed into the forest. The distance was not that great, but we walked and walked through endless cutting grass, being constantly pushed to the side of our goal. Unofficially (of course) I have in my mind christened these Ouch Falls, or maybe just Cutting Grass Falls. Yuk Falls would do. In the end we decided we had no great lust to see whatever was at the end of the cutting grass quest and gave up for better things to do.

Tricholoma eucalyptorum

I drove a long way around to the nearest parking spot to Lonnavale Falls. To reach them, however, we had to cross a small creek, but one which was in mini-flood right now. The other two got across without any problems, but I became very nervous about slipping in and doing over $7,000 worth of damage, by the time you count my full-frame camera, my expensive lens, my iPhone and my Samsung gps phone. I also have athletic goals at present, and didn’t want them jeopardised by slipping and breaking a bone. Whatever these falls were, I could come back another time, when I would be less likely to slip or fall in. I also didn’t dare take my dog who would have been clumsy and frightened crossing. If she slipped and fell in, she might be carried downstream to a small fall and drown. Thus I opted to go fungi hunting with her while the other two explored the falls. I really didn’t mind. The forest was wonderful, and Tess enjoyed being there with me.

Styx Falls 2021 Jun

I fear the drive to Styx Falls took longer than the walk – but that is not to say that the walk was not enjoyable or worth the effort: it was wonderful, with all the lushness and mossy beauty that one might expect of anything carrying the name “Styx” in Tasmania, and with a mass of colourful fungi to add to the joy.
To get to our (walking) start, we had to drive along the Styx Road from its eastern end, over the river bearing its name, and then up a spur until we curled back on ourselves, but now at a greater height. Once driving became dodgy, I parked and we began our walking part along a former road, but on a path that is now pretty overgrown (for vehicles; fine for walking).

Cortinarius austrovenetus

That easy part completed, we then plunged like deep sea divers into the green mass of steep forrested matter until the roar of the falls announced that the line we had taken was absolutely correct.
The bush was so thick, and the falls looked so lovely from a distance that I was tempted to try to shoot them from higher up and slightly further away, but found myself being pushed down to where Adrian and Caedence were, at the base. The wind and spray off the falls of the morning had been so bad (and any fallen trees in the basal area so very slippery) that this was not really where I wanted to be,  but the view of the falls was definitely superior to anything I could grab higher, so there I was. I would just have to try to get a spray-free shot. I even got out my umbrella to help, which made me pretty clumsy, and Adrian came to my aid. Part of the problem with falls like this is finding a base that is firm enough to hold the tripod still: not always achievable.

Styx Falls

While Caedence and I played with tripods and long exposures, Adrian explored a bit downstream, returning to announce that there was one small but pretty drop a bit further down, and something that could be a good fall beyond that.
Once our shooting was completed, we followed, to find what was actually my favourite waterfall of the day. It’s good the way that what pleases one person doesn’t over-excite another, and vice versa. For me, size of drop or quantity of water are not as important as finding a picturesque scene, and a fall with a beautiful shape and flow lines; here I had my desire. And it was not so big that it created a monstrous spray.  Hoorah.

Styx Falls Lower

The promising drop below turned out to be nothing but a log jam, so it was time to turn around. This did not disappoint me, as I was by now soaking wet and rather cold. My body yelled that it was hungry.

Aleura aurantia

As with this morning, the drop down had been so steep that I had a few misgivings about getting back up, but, also as with this morning, there was no problem at all, and the climb out was easier than the descent.  It had been  a great day of adventure and beautiful scenery, and I now had a mass of photos to edit. Sigh.
The falls of the morning can be seen at the site: 

Upper Liffey Falls 2021

It had been snowing for several days during the week, so I went up to the Upper Liffey Falls and Pine Lake to photograph a white wonderland. However, most of the snow had melted. Sometimes we don’t get what we hope for. But in that failure to achieve white, I still found many rich browns and scenes of sombre beauty. Here are a few photos from my day. There is also a 2017 post on Upper Liffey Falls should you want to see more.

Richea acerosa
Snowy scene. Pencil pine behind
Upper Liffey Falls
Athrotaxis cupressoides. Pencil Pine, proving that it’s frost resistant.

I had intended to do more exploring on the other side of the road, and set out in that direction, but I was wearing brand new overpants, and I needed to wear them for wind protection. However, there is a lot of scoparia over there, and I didn’t think anything I saw could justify the expense of yet another pair of waterproof pants, so turned around and saved myself 160 dollars.

Pelion Falls 2021 Easter

Pelion Falls

I was in search of a decent-lengthed workout, and have long wanted to visit Pelion Falls, on the northern side of Mt Pelion West. I decided that I’d have a go at reaching these falls (and back) in a single day. If I failed to succeed, the act of trying would be reward in enough. I would have a great workout in the mountains, and get to enjoy wonderful scenery while I did it.
Little did I know that I was setting out on a 55.6 km walk, to be squeezed in before it got dark (although I did have my headtorch in), and carrying a 7.3 kg pack containing food (nearly 2kgs at the start. I returned with 1kg), emergency equipment – both clothes and electrical -, and, of course, my trusty tripod, Nisi filters and full-frame camera.

Pelion Falls

It is pretty impossible to calculate absolutely the distance to be covered from a map, where many of the twists and turns are not reckoned with, but I thought I could be letting myself in for a 35-38 km day. Why would anyone check on the gps track data whilst in motion? I decided to have a look at half way, and without taking height into consideration, I knew I was already clocking up a day of over 50 kms. It was only the day after that I added in the height variables to discover that the reason my legs were a little flat on that day was that I had not only covered 45 horizontal kilometres, but also climbed over 1000 ms, yielding 55.6 kilometre equivalents for the day. I am very glad I didn’t know that before setting out, or I would never have trusted myself to get it in – at all, let alone in the light (which I managed – just).

Pelion Falls

I did know I was undertaking what looked like a big distance on the map, so set out in business-march mode, powering up the first very steep and quite long slope, making it to Lake Price in 48 minutes. I have always nicknamed the tributary at this spot (which is actually one of many tributaries of the Arm River) “Drink Creek”, as it is traditionally a spot for having a drink and letting a group gather all its members together after they have spread out during the climb. Some people take an hour ten, or more, to reach this point. But I was alone, part of no group, so was as free as a bird. I threw down a quick drink and was on my way.
The next twenty eight minutes took me to the high point on my track, which is a saddle overlooking the area of the Overland Trail, with excellent views to Mt Ossa, Pelion West, Pillinger and more. Light clouds decorated the mountains, but I could still see everything I wanted to, and delighted in it. How incredibly free I felt, to be able to go as far and as fast as I liked with nobody complaining. The silence was blissful (as long as you don’t count my singing, but I don’t listen to myself sing; I just do it as I walk. It is an expression of the song that is constantly in my head).

Pelion Falls

Already at this point, I had bumped into five people in two sub-groups, who had climbed Mt Pillinger to watch the dawn up there. I knew the father of the group: he was on Bruce’s staff at Church Grammar, and he and Bruce and other staff members had done an epic crossing of the Western Arthurs many years ago. I have never once seen this person around Launceston, but have bumped into him in the wilderness three times!
I made it to Pelion Hut just as the last people were leaving for whatever they were about to do that day. Three of them stayed to chat to me while I took a brief food break. The lights went on for one of them; he realised who I was and told me he follows both my blog and my instagram. It was such fun to meet them.
After the hut, there is a strip that took me over fifty minutes down to Froggy Flats and its crossing over the Forth River. That split felt shorter, as the scenery was so beautiful time whizzed by. Time did not whizz by for the next split, which looked much shorter on the map than it actually was, due to the many ins and outs the track makes to deviate from a direct path. Such diversions get smoothed out on the map. Also, it is an uphill stretch. I didn’t realise the extent of the climb until later when I examined a graph of my route. At last, however, I came to a creek, which on examination proved to be my much-awaited Pelion Creek. I confirmed by consulting my gps. There was a family group resting there. They asked where I was going, seeing’s I’d just turned from continuing straight ahead. I pointed into the shrubbery: “That way.”
“Oh”, they said, somewhat surprised. It hardly looked inviting. I explained there was a waterfall up there. They wished me well.

Pelion Falls

At last I was there. It had taken, so far, 4 hours and 40 minutes of concerted effort, and would take longer to get back, for sure. Was it worth it? OH YES. Not so much because it was the most beautiful waterfall on the planet, and certainly not because I could tick another box. A cynic could say that this was an example of the psychological phenomenon of Cognitive Dissonance Theory, whereby it is claimed that our brain invents justifications for the advantages of something that we have just invested a lot of time, energy or money into. There is good statistical backing for this. However, I just say that yes, it claimed a lot of work on my part, and that does make it special to me. Things that come cheaply are not valued as highly as things we have worked for. This waterfall will always remain special to me, because I gave so much to it, and it did not spurn me, but greeted me with ethereal, ephemeral beauty of wispy veils of delicate white mist, partly obscuring fresh, lush but rather diminutive pandani trees and masses of moss.

There were far more fungi than flowers on this trip. A patch of maybe five clusters of Ramaria botritis caught my eye.

My only regret of the whole day was that I couldn’t spend hours there, but we are on the lean side of the equinox, and the sun would not allow me this luxury. Having hurried here, I now had to hurry back in a race against the dark.
My race did not proceed without several more lovely social happenings, however. The people I now passed wanted to know how the waterfall was; of course I had to tell them. Then, as I was passing Froggy Flats, I heard my name being called. It was a former school captain of Church Grammar, and thus old friend now. I could have spent hours catching up, but we had to agree to do so in Hobart later. We did a small bit there, and I got introduced to his family. He said he was just telling them that the very reason he was standing in that spot was because of Bruce and me. I felt very emotional about that. You help students, you introduce them to things you love, you share with them. When you hear that it has had a profound influence on their life, it is very meaningful, and it also sent me a pang of grief at the loss of my dear Bruce.

Lots of sections of my walk traversed lush wet forest – always such a joy

Back at Pelion Hut, and having a more substantial food break, someone I didn’t think I knew came rushing out of the hut, greeting me by name (and with a welcome hug). It turns out she was from the ABC and had done a recent interview with me when one of my photos had won third place in a big international photography competition. We had a lovely talk, and someone else from the hut brought me a cup of ginger and lemon tea. How fabulous is that (thanks Tyler)!
And so, now it was time for the final 2.5 hours of my stint … or longer. I was getting tired, and yes, it lasted 2 hrs 50, as my freshness was evaporating. This section was not without social interaction, as I met two more friendly people and, well, this is Tassie. When you meet someone in the bush you don’t just mutter hello and pass by; you interact, and I was no longer on the Overland section of the walk with its crowds of tourists. This bit isn’t in tour guides, so the people you meet are locals. Hoorah.
I felt confident that I would be back before dark, so was no longer hurrying. I’m glad I moved on when I did, however, as I got back to the car right at the end of the visible day. I now had a two-hour drive to undertake with full fatigue. For me, the dangers are not those of the bush, but those of the road on the way home.  I want to stay alive for my family, and also for my dog. If I died on the road, who would know to feed a waiting Tessie? So, I had arranged for my friend Evelyn to go and feed her should something happen to me. I gave her texts when I could to report progress. Meanwhile, my darling daughters chatted to me on the phone (hands free), partly to tell me about Easter, but also, I suspect, partly to help keep me awake at the danger end of a fabulous day.

Cornwall Falls 2021

Quite some time ago, several friends had told me about the existence of a waterfall at Cornwall, but no one could tell me where it was. I had a good map stare, and decided where I thought it should be, or hoped it might be, and drove to Cornwall to test my theory. I got to the road I wanted to follow, but grew uncertain as to whether I was allowed to go along it. Luckily, someone looked to be home at the nearest house, so I asked, and they said it was fine to go along, and yes, there was a waterfall along there. My dog was even welcome, but as they warned me that snakes were likely, Tess had to view the falls on the lead.

Wahlenbergia gracilis

The forest was pleasant enough, and the walk far too short to justify a long drive,  but it was a nice place to be if you happened to be passing by on the way to the coast. On my first visit, there was only a trickle, so I waited for a decent dump over on the east before returning. I decided the rain of last week should do the trick, so called back in on Friday. I was rewarded with water falling this time.

Cornwall Falls

It is worth going a little beyond the falls, as far as the next creek. There is an old “building” of interest, covered in greenery in that next gully.  There is a place to park where my blue line begins.

Cornwall Falls route