Mt Cougal Bush Walking Track
For some weeks we had been looking forward to completing this bush walk, I dreamt of reaching the summit and capturing some of the beautiful photos I have seen online. Today was the day, after a number of cancellations due to inclement weather conditions and various other incidents that wrecked our plans we were ready!
Just a quick stop off at Palm Beach Camping World to pick up some wet weather gear. The garbage bags that I had in my backpack wouldn’t have been very effective and no rain was going to stop us today. In addition my son was so well prepared with rain jacket etc he shamed me into it.
We climbed over the fence at the end of Garden of Eden Road, took a sharp left and started up the hill following the fence line.
It’s amazing how a few weeks can change the appearance of the terrain, the ground wasn’t so damp and the undergrowth appeared much thinner. We followed the meandering pathway through the tall wild grasses to the open plateau, where we gazed at mystic Mt Warning in the distance and planned a future day out.
A snake appeared on the Cougal Trail!
Just a few metres further on we encountered a coastal python, although we didn’t know that at the time. The snake didn’t attempt to move, just stayed coiled up its head was sitting on top of its body watching our every move.
We had to circumnavigate it as it watched us intently; it was raining by now but it wasn’t deterred. Then we notice the large bulge in its body. Looks like brekkie had just been consumed! We continued on, stopped for a few breaks but made good time.
Mount Cougal Summit was within reach
We reached the point of our last journey and climbed on, it didn’t look so intimidating this time keeping away from the barbed wire fence has its advantages, plus the fact that our technique of climbing this spot was more evolved, scrambling up the mountain was a better option.
Reaching the rocky outcrop we turned right away from the fence line, someone had placed ribbon markers along the way which was comforting to see.
We squeezed through the fallen tree that was blocking the pathway and came to a dead-end, headed back and saw the marker, it was time to negotiate those boulders, it appeared a bit of a challenge, but was easier then we initially thought.
Until you turned around to survey how far you had climbed and remembered we have to climb down.
We saw a cave just to the left, not sure if this is the one everyone talks about but we will investigate it on the way back. The summit was our only focus.
Narrow ledge was a bit hairy
We continued along the narrow ledge, this is beautiful country the sound of the birds and wind in the trees was wonderful; imagine being an explorer and surveying the surrounding mountains! I wonder what snacks they had in their bags, certainly not a large block of chocolate from the local supermarket!
Just above us was the last ribbon before the summit. We could see the deep blue sky peeking through the narrow rock face with ferns strategically placed as if by a landscaper to soften the climb. Only meters away are those spectacular views from Mount Cougal.
Can I make it?
I looked at the slippery rock face and the available footholds and knew I could do it but not today. The rain was really setting in now and the energy required and upper body strength to exert myself just wasn’t there and the fear of slipping and the images conjured up had its impact.
Disappointed we headed down it wasn’t till arriving back on the ledge that we realised we had taken a different route back and had to squeeze past the fallen tree.
The cave was further along the ledge ready to investigate on our next adventure on Mount Cougal.
Arriving at the grassy plateau, the coastal python was still there the rain didn’t deter him at all, now he was much more active. Video camera ready to take some great shots to put on this blog, I gingerly set everything up and was pleased with what I had filmed. There was only one problem!
I hit pause instead of record. The photo is the only evidence of our encounter.
Leaving this wonderful bush walking adventure for another day, there were parts of Mt Cougal that didn’t want to let go. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself that I had escaped the dreaded leeches, those little pests that like to keep part of you on the track.
Feeling a pricking sensation on my arm, I looked down to find a huge one ready to have a feast and two more climbing up from my shoes! They were quickly deposited on the Garden of Eden Road.
So don’t pick them up if they are looking for a ride back to Mount Cougal bush walking track.
The up side of this day is we have to finish this adventure and success will be so much sweeter.
Recently I was researching Mount Cougal and came across an article in the Brisbane Courier Mail 20th October 1928 when Mount Cougal was climbed for the first time!