Hiking Queenslands Highest Peak - Mt Bartle Frere
This was definitely one of the toughtest hikes that I have ever done and the earliest start as well. Up at 3.30am and Bernie picked me up at 4am. Off we headed on the 70km drive to Wooroonooran National Park...to the eastern side of the mountain, the side being the toughest to walk. We thought if we were going to give it a go once we might as well take the hardest side lol! There was a bit of fog on the way there which was a bit worrying but it soon cleared...and we near had a close encounter with a wee dog, he was so lucky! We squeeled out heads off lol!
We arrived shortly after 5am and got our torches at the ready because it was still pitch black, scary too hearing all the weird night noises that the rainforest was creating...looking back we were crazy to start hiking in the dark but the first section wasn't too bad. We started off at 5.30am and it took us just over an hour to walk the first section which was pretty flat with a few parts that took a bit of an effort to climb. Once we reached the river there was enough light to see our way about.
It was fun trying to cross the river, and off course i fell right on me ass in the middle of it. Made our way across and realised that we were covered in leeches!! Aaah i hate them so much i had around 7 stuck to me...theyre hard we buggers to get off too. Once the whole leeches episode was over we started the tough climb up. It was so steep in some places we had to literally crawl up on our hands and knees...as well as a few spills on the way, and more bloody leeches! The hike was through rainforest which had loads of trees and roots to step over and pull ourselves up on. I don't know how I ever made it and kept going it was so tough. My legs were shaking like nothing normal and the sweat was pishing off me. Im glad I had Bernie there to keep me going, dont think i couldve done it on me own. It took us 3 and a half hours to climb this section and to reach the top of the boulder section.
This section was alot of fun but still very steep and tricky. We had to do alot of boulder hopping and scrambling over these. Some were so big, near the size of houses. We did end up in some weird shapes trying to climb over these but it was so much fun. The view from these was just amazing a well, we took a short break here to get our legs going again for the last scramle to the top.
Then...we finally made it!! I was so exhausted and it took everything that I had in me to climb this mountain but i didnt let it beat me and made it to the summit! Bernie and me did a good job. We arrived at the summit around 10.30am so in total it took us 5hours to climb Bartle Frere. At the top we sat on a massive boulder and took in the views...it was just so beautiful. We were so high up that even the clouds were below us!! Mt Bartle Frere is 1622m high, 5321ft!! Still cant believe i made it up lol! We sat for over an hour just amazed by the scenery and stocking up on our energy with chocolate, sweets, fruits, loads of food. We knew that we had another 4-5 hour hike back down again. It took this long for my legs to feel normal again and cool down a bit.
I couldve sat up there all day it was just so beautiful...but all good things must come to an end and we had the hike back down to look forward too. The boulders were a bit more difficult coming down but we managed and started on the steep decent down. This was so tough on the knees and it wasnt long before our legs started to wobble! The tree roots and branches came in handy for holding ourselves up. I did have quite a few spills but all quite funny. And also the wee horrible leeches were back on the go! They are mingin wee things. Got down the the length of the river and I of course had to slip and fall in so I had the lovely task of walking an hour in wet shoes...it was funny though and I did get cooled off!
The last part of the hike back to the car was weird because since we did it in the dark we had hardly any recollection of being there before and how long it actually took. We crossed alot of streams that we hadnt remembered crossing on our way up which was weird. But I think we were just the exhausted that everything felt weird. We started to wobble with sheer exhaustion and literally drag our feet along. Then we turned the corner and there the carpark was...what a relief I dont think either of us could have done a bit more lol! The end of our 15km hike.
Into the car stinking!! We wreaked so much and headed back on the way home. Both of us near fell asleep but made it back in one piece, had the best shower ever and hopped straight into bed! Next day...i feel like a penguin, i can hardly walk straight. Every single muscle in my body hurts lol!
Ok here is a bit of information about Mt Bartle Frere. The Noongyanbudda Nagadjon-jii (pronounced noog-yan-budda-nud-jun-jee) local Adoriginal maintain a close connection with this mountain. They regard it as their spirital home. Tradionally they moved seasonally around the mountainside, and in some cases hunted over parts of it, but they generally had no need to reach the summit.
The first European to reach the summit of Mt Bartle Frere was well-known explorer and prospector, Christie Palmerston. With Noongyanbudda Ngadjon men to guide him, he set off on 24 October 1886. It took him 2 days to reach the summit. Palmerston experienced steaming hot conditions, leeches in the forest (which i know all about!) and cold winds near the summit, but views beyond description. Many gold miners made the climb also. It reaches a hight of 1622m/5321feet and is a 15km return hike. It takes a hiker around 10-12hours to complete the journey but is recommended to be done over 2days.