Mt Cougal Eastern Summit
Third time lucky they say and how good it felt to make the top of Mount Cougal’s eastern summit. Around 7.45am we were driving down the Garden of Eden Road, which was littered with branches and foliage, the remnants of some rough recent weather. On our right was Mt Warning bathed in shades of deep pink in the early morning light, it was breathtaking, rising early does have its advantage.
The old timber gate was a heap of rotted wood dumped to one side, no more climbing over it, a small opening allowed for easy access. (It might be different next time). The familiar dilapidated van still resting further up the track on private property is now draped in staghorns the rotted carpet lying across the roof claimed by the rainforest for a host.
We start our climb, you need a walking pole
We turned left and followed the fence line up the hill, and started to climb. This part of the Cougal bush trial I believe energy wise is the most strenuous part of the trail. One of the comments I received on this blog was from Jeff, he suggested a walking pole would be beneficial on this section of the bush walk.
How right he was, I purchased two one for my companion and one for me. They were brilliant we just powered along, it is hard to believe what a difference a walking pole came make, and I highly recommend it!
A walking pole would be beneficial on Mt Cougal walking trail…
The grassy plateau rich colours
Soon we were entering the tall wild grasses and then the grassy plateau with glimpses of the twin peaks in front of us, the air was cool and fresh, and the colour was rich and vibrant, waiting for the artist’s paints to capture the scene.
In some sections the grass was over 2 metres (6 feet) tall it was incredible, swaying back and forth with the early morning light turning it a rustic red. There before us was our final destination waiting for our arrival.
Mount Cougal’s Western Peak
Within an hour we were starting the last leg of our journey, commencing the climb up the root mosaic, reaching the top we headed a few metres to the right away from the fence line, and up to the next ledge and then up further till we reached the base of the exposed rocky escarpment. It is along this ledge that you will find the access point to the final ascent.
The second time we climb to this point someone had placed a marker on the spot, but it had been removed, so we had to find an easy access point to climb up. This wasn’t easy and after attempting to climb up a couple times we decided to go back to the fence line and have some morning tea and a rest.
The Vista from the south side is beautiful, you know that just a few short metres above you is the prize, so we were feeling a little flat. Nonetheless after taking in the magnificent views of the valley and Mount Cougal’s western peak, it was time to go back and try again.
Prize in sight
Scrambling back over tree roots and rocks we were back to our last attempted access point, all I can say is when you are tired you don’t think very clearly. There staring us right in the face was the way, it’s a bit like going to the secret garden and trying to find the gate shrouded in vines. Fortunately everything was quite dry although you have to be careful; we were within reach of our goal.
The feeling of finally reaching the top of Mount Cougal was wonderful and the view spectacular, the grass trees encircling the sheer drop gave you a sense of security. However standing there and imagining if all the vegetation hugging this peak suddenly disappears you might realise how vulnerable you were, which would accentuate the distance and steer drops you have skirted around.
The views are worth the effort..
From this vantage point you can see Coolangatta Airport, the Tweed Valley with its patchwork quilt of colours, and Mt Warning rising from the valley floor. Mt Warning looks a long way off compared to the outlook on the grassy plateau below, but nonetheless magnificent with the deep blue backdrop.
In addition Springbrook National Park with its mountain escarpments bathed in the morning light, accentuating their steep face, and the Border Ranges in the far distance, truly a magnificent view.
Here is a link from a failed attempt to climb these peaks, and directions to the location …take care and take note of this signage.
Always check before any bush walk for information and updates, people have got lost here….
Take a virtual walk and climb up to Mount Cougal’s eastern summit right now!
See you at the top again…