This weekend I’m heading to Mt Barney National Park where I have arranged to walk two different hikes. Today, I am taking a group on a the casual walk to the Lower Portals, and then tomorrow, I am taking another group to climb the more intense Mt Maroon.
I organised to meet the group at the little township of Rathdowney. Once we had all arrived, we convoyed to the car park at the base of Mount Barney. As we drove we passed the rocky face of Mt Maroon, which beckoned me for tomorrow’s climb.
From the car park it’s 3.7km to the Lower Portals, a set of stony passages where water passes when it comes down the mountain. With Mt Barney above us to the south, we headed into the light forest on a rocky trail.
We climbed over small hills on the way through the forest. To be honest, other than the occasional view of Mt Barney through the trees, the walk wasn’t very interesting.
But the group made up for that and after 45 minutes we stopped at a rocky stream for a break.
After our break we crossed the stream and walked south along the bank for another 10 minutes before trail ended abruptly.
Massive boulders blocked our path further along the stream and we figured we had reached the Lower Portals. It was all very anticlimactic.
Until… We located a gap in one of the rocks and climbed up through it.
Like a secret garden, the true beauty of the Lower Portals appeared. Beyond the boulders and perhaps a dozen metres along, the stream opened up to a pool with a gorge on the far side. And at the far end of the small gorge, the Lower Portals.
The tall rocky sides of the gorge were beautiful as a backdrop to the pool and stream.
We hung around for half an hour more, taking in the views, before returning along the same trail to the car park.
Tomorrow, Mt Maroon.
The Trail Wanderer.