Cathedral Range State Park: North loop 13.2km

Sunday and hiking Cathedral Range State Park’s north loop was on the agenda. On YHA Bushwalking Club’s agenda and thus mine too. Yesterday south (post here), today north.

The Cathedral Range is part of the Great Dividing Range. Formed from a 7 kilometers ridge of upturned sedimentary rock. This has given the range steep sides, and a narrow razorback ridge.

Our “Fearless Leader” had planned the conquest of four different peaks along the way. But time permitted “only” for three peaks. We probably all got a bit “peaked out” towards the end anyway… Still, a SUPERB day!! Cathedral Range is an amazing part of the world…

The maps…

 

 

We woke up to a foggy morning in Thornton. Mmm… today’s views may be less impressive than yesterday’s… Faith we shall have…

Rubicon Motel, Thornton, Sunday early morning

The group’s hiking commenced after 9 am, again from Cooks Mill camping area. Anti-clockwise, like yesterday. This meant following Little River Creek north for the first couple of kilometers. Flat. Foggy. Beautiful. At least here.

Let the hiking begin…

Parts of that initial stretch was alongside a logging road, cleared out on one side. I suppose that gave us all an opportunity to stretch out our legs after yesterday.

Not that spectacular just yet…

Soon though, the track turned west and towards Cathedral Range. Obviously then, the trail would also start ascending…

Let’s ascend…

Clouds replaced the fog as we climbed Neds Gully Track on what’s called The Fathom Ridge. We stumbled onto a lyrebird near the junction with Neds Peak Track, but no photo. I was too slow…

Then onto Little Cathedral Track and the views opened up…

Off Little Cathedral Track

After some zigzagging, we ended up at a trail junction. Two of the three Cathedral peaks were there on the sign. One either way. Our first summit for today was Little Cathedral so right we turn…

Pretty spectacular… In fact, Little Cathedral was the least tall of the three peaks today, but in my view the nicest and with the best views (not this guy!).

The Mountain Man (not) on Little Cathedral (yes)

Top top top of the world, above the clouds…

Above the low clouds on Little Cathedral

The landscape with all those clouds beneath was almost surreal. You feel that it shouldn’t be that way…

Rock and clouds

A couple of properties were visible behind and below the clouds. Tiny from up here.

Long way down there off Little Cathedral

Looking further north along Cathedral Range from Little Cathedral’s summit.

Low-lying clouds as far as you can see north along Cathedral Range

Yes, everybody’s phone or camera worked overtime up there.

YHA Bushwalking Club hikers on Little Cathedral

After “morning tea”, we returned to that earlier junction. And started walking towards Cathedral Peak. Before you get there, you pass Cathedral North Peak, today’s lunch spot.

The metal legs belong to a surveillance sign with a marker on the ground.

Cathedral North – Not a bad spot for a bite…

THE Cathedral Peak was the final summit and by now the low clouds had largely dispersed.

Views off The Cathedral

Worth a thumbs up, wouldn’t you say?

This guy is blocking the views off The Cathedral…

We continued our rock hopping/scrambling over sharp rocks south towards the Jawbones. Sugarloaf Peak, which we hiked to yesterday, is the pointy outcrop further away.

Rocks, more rocks and even more rocks

All that rock negotiation took time and our “Fearless Leader” (and the rest of us too) felt that time was running out.

Yes, only 20 minutes to North Jawbone Peak, but that would become an hour after “peak stay” and return hike. Most of us live in Melbourne, a good two-hour car trip away from Cathedral Range and Cooks Mill camping area. Hence, the unanimous decision was “let’s start walking down towards the flats” instead.

So we did.

The trail junction with offshoot to North Jawbone Peak at 795m

A normal outcome in groups of people is that splinter groups form. Today, two groups (most of the time), with half the hikers in either group. I was (mostly) in the first group, and below at Jawbone Carpark, we waited a few minutes for the second group. None yet.

Here was the only ascending part of the hike’s descending part so to say (does that makes sense 😉

Off Jawbone Carpark, looking west towards the ranges

Enough time to photograph the information board with text and map.

Information board at Jawbone Carpark

Back at the car around 4.20pm and soon on our way after saying goodbye to the other hikers (I had two fellow hikers in the car). Unfortunately, plenty of traffic around this Sunday late afternoon. There was also a terrible accident on the M3 freeway towards Melbourne slowing us right down.

Still, home after 7 pm, tired, dirty, but with a sense of having seen and done something quite special. And yes, Eurovision was on TV too, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open to the very end…

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