Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stacks Bluff, Ben Lomond National Park

After a cloudy, cool and windy day on Bent Bluff, we were happy to get another one of those random and rare sunny calm days to hike up Stacks Bluff at the south end of Ben Lomond National Park. This is the second of two access tracks at this end of the National Park. This, of course, raises the possibility of a through walk between the two access tracks, perhaps hiking up Storeys or Sphinx Bluff along the way. We, however, were bound simply for Stacks Bluff on this trip.

 Doug and Denison Crag

The track starts from Storys Creek, an old and mostly abandoned mining settlement. There is not much in the way of signage to get you started but, if you make a right turn at the old school (assuming you have entered Storys Creek along the paved road) onto an old road and follow this for about one kilometre to a fork, turn right at the fork and park soon after, you'll find yourself on the right track. There are a couple of road junctions beyond, but they are all marked with cairns. 

Like the track to Bent Bluff, start walking up the road through a lovely open forest of huge eucalpyts until the road ends and the track begins. The ground is stony here, mostly talus so there is not much in the way of undergrowth. The track is marked with cairns and red markers and fairly quickly emerges onto a talus slope that is followed all the way up to a gap in the plateau to the north of Denison Bluff. Tranquil Tarn, set among talus, nestles below and Denison Bluff is an impressive wall of dolerite columns. 

 Late moon over Stacks Bluff

After about 1.5 hours of walking/boulder hopping, we emerged onto the plateau. Stacks Bluff is obviously the most popular route from here and a faint cairned track leads across the plateau to a short 100 metre climb up to the old trig point (only the outline remains) which is over to the east (right) as you top out on the raised plateau that is Stacks Bluff. The old trig is certainly handy for finding the top of this "mountain" as it is all flat slabs and hard to tell which boulder sitting on the slabs is the highest. 

We had an hour lazing on top before wandering around the edges of the plateau and looking down the Fingal Valley. Legges Tor is to the north and is 50 metres higher but hard to distinguish as the plateau is so flat. The most prominent feature from the top is Mount Barrow which has a couple of big towers on top. I have not been to the north end of Ben Lomond National Park, but suspect that lovers of solitude will prefer the south end which requires walking not driving to reach. 
Overlooking Fingal Valley

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