Another perfect winters day and another stroll in the scenic rim, in particular Mt Barney National Park. Circumstances meant this walk evolved from an overnighter to Monserrat Lookout, then a day walk along the Monserrat Circuit before I finally settled on the track to the Upper Portals. The change in plans came about after a later than scheduled start and was hastened when I decided not to risk the drive up the 4wd track to Cleared Ridge in my 2wd car. What ensued, was a two hour slog up a track that rises nearly 700 metres over a little more than 5km at its highest elevation.
It was worth it though, as it was almost a cloudless day and the views superb across to the twin peaks of Mt May and Mt Maroon further afield. Lake Maroon shimmered below and Mt Barney dominated the skyline from Cleared Ridge. The numerous creeks along the way were ice cold, but thankfully the levels were quite low so I ended up with nothing more than frosty feet. The water wasn't too high either at the portals so I was able to scramble downstream a little way past cauldron shaped depressions in the rock, to an area where steep sided rock slabs lead down to the creek, before returning to the slabs that mark the start of the Upper Portals.
It was a little cool on the return journey as the sun had dipped and was no longer reaching the valley floor. Cleared Ridge was a little warmer, but I wasn't looking forward to the steep descent back to the car. However, I knocked it off fairly quickly, despite my knees complaining loudly and loosing traction a couple of times on the steep pea gravel sections. All up, a little over 18km and nearly 800 vertical metres of climbing; a nice workout, but disappointed I didn't have more time for an overnighter in Barney NP.
Mt May Campground to Upper Portals; Mt Barney National Park at EveryTrail