Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Mystery Of Single Hill

Single Hill might only be 200 metres high, but, it does achieve a certain prominence over Seven Mile Beach and certainly looks as if it would offer a fine view from the top. Last time I had walked along Seven Mile Beach I had found a new track that wraps around the headland below Single Hill, and, some research on-line turned up a map which showed a track going right over Single Hill from west to east, and, thus, the idea of a leisurely stroll along the beach followed by a trip up and over Single Hill was formulated. 

Doug and I headed out one warm Monday morning planning a walk of perhaps two or, at the most, three hours. We would park at Day Use Area #2, stroll along the beach, walk around to the west side of Single Hill and saunter over the top and back along the beach. 

The map that started it all

Except, I had dressed in my usual Tasmanian winter kit, despite it being a very spring like - nay summer - 25 Celsius, and, by the time we reached the track at the south end of the beach, after slogging through soft sand due to the high tide, I was feeling wretchedly sweaty and hot. Truthfully, I was also feeling fatigued and plain worn out from a cumulative 4.5 months of heavy gym workouts interspersed with hiking, bouldering, climbing, paddling, and, nary a day off. 

It is, however, a very pleasant track, and, all up, it is only about five kilometres from Day Use Area #2 right around to Axiom Track which heads uphill and northwest through a strip of reserve between houses and eventually joins into all the other Tangara Tracks. Where Axiom Track crosses Kirra Road we were heartened to find a track sign for Single Hill and continued along through the reserve. At the back of the residential lots, a faded arrow marker points the way north but we knew this would only take us a short distance up Single Hill via the south ridge before we would run into private property. At this point, we assumed that Clarence Council had negotiated some kind of right of way with the land-owner allowing pedestrian access to Single Hill via a developed track. 

Seven Mile Beach through trees

So, we carried on along Axiom Track with a small public reserve on our right hand side and private lots on our left. At the apex of the hill, the track descends down the other side to reach Axiom Way (road). I was hot, sweaty, weary, and, losing even the 70 metres of elevation we had gained just seemed too much so, after some deliberation over the map, we decided to walk uphill through the public reserve and across the top of the private lots to intersect the Single Hill track. All I can say is it all looked fine on the map. 

There is a labyrinth of single track mountain bike trails through the public reserve and we followed these until we reached the private land and a series of large and officious looking NO TRESPASSING signs. It all seemed very public for trying to surreptitiously sneak through fences and across to the public track, so we decided to do the right thing and follow the map. So, back down hill along the fence line to Axiom Way. Along the black top to Cahill Place, and a kilometre of walking along Cahill Place between McMansions with slathering and barking dogs trying to bust through fences to rip our throats out to where the track should be, and most definitely was not. Just more NO TRESPASSING signs, and, with all the big windows facing us across bald lots, no chance of slipping by unobserved. 


There was, however, an old and faded sign indicating a development proposal was in the works for the land up on Single Hill and it slowly dawned on us that the track and right of way did not actually exist, at least in the real world. Perhaps in the virtual world people are daily strolling over Single Hill. We, however, were not. 

We trudged back down the road past the slathering beasts, back along Axiom Way to Axiom Track, where, coming from the west, a sign indicated "Single Hill" obliquely to the left. Instead of following Axiom Track back down to the coastline we walked up the hill and topped out on a flat spot of ridge right by another NO TRESPASSING sign, this one also warning that ALL DOGS SHOT, which seemed a little harsh and cruel. Doug peed over the fence for good measure, that being difficult for me, I just peed on a fence post, and we sat down for a well earned thermos of tea. 

 Good fences make good neighbours, or do they

The view was pretty, but I am sure the view from the real top is better, or maybe that's just a "grass is greener" effect. Walking back was much quicker, down the track we had passed over an hour ago, back along the coastline, and finally along Seven Mile Beach where the low tide had left firm sand behind. Along the way, we looked for the eastern end of the Single Hill track and found nothing but a narrow cattle pad, and more NO TRESPASSING signs. 

Back at the house, some diligent research (actually reading the long planning document that accompanied the map) seemed to indicate that the Single Hill track is "low priority" for development and contingent on property development on Single Hill. Finally, Facebook came through as I heard from Tangara Recreational Trails that Single Hill is a "proposed" track slated for development when the subdivision proceeds. The mystery of Single Hill is solved. The hill itself, however, is likely in a much nicer state now than it will be when lined by McMansions with blood thirsty hounds baying for a fresh kill. 

 Not quite Single Hill but not too shabby

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