Sunday, 9 March 2014

Mt Maroon - Mount Barney National Park

It is rewarding, uplifting, and spectacular, to stand on the highest mountain and enjoy its view. Sometimes it is equally beautiful climbing the mountain beside it. 

In south-east Queensland Mt Barney is the mountain of choice for adventurous walkers and climbers. However, its smaller neighbour, Mt Maroon, is still a challenging day out and the views from the top are all the more dramatic with the looming, rocky peaks of Mt Barney dominating much of the scene. From Mt Maroon you can look across and stare Barney in the face: read its weathered lines and admire its grandness in the surrounding landscape. And yet, Mt Maroon also cuts a rugged and dramatic silhouette. It is broken by deep gullies and rocky cliffs and boasts a wind-swept summit that has a wildness of its own.

Mt Maroon's northern end

The walk to the top of Mt Maroon is a slow, breath-biting slog up a steep ridge. Then the trail drops into an even steeper gully and it is more of a clamber than a walk. Plenty of time to stop and admire the sheer rock wall to the west. Keep an eye out for brush tailed rock wallabies when you finally reach the plateau, just past the patch of forest.

While many of the surrounding peaks were given European names in the early 1800s, Mount Maroon is a derivation of its original Aboriginal name 'Wahlmoorum' meaning sand goanna in the Yugerra language. For more information on the peak and the walk visit the Queensland National Parks website and look for the Cotswold Track information. Although listed as an 'unmarked' route there is an obvious foot pad for most of the way and rock cairns to follow. It is good to take note of where you exit the trees for the scramble to the summit so that on the return you can find the path again amongst the dense scrub.

Mt Barney

On a good day, Mt Maroon offers uninterrupted views of the rugged Main Range and Scenic Rim as well as close up  detail of the northern ridges of Mt Barney. The summit of Mt Maroon would have been the perfect viewing spot for the massive bushfire that ran out of control over the flanks of Mt Barney last year, September 2013. For images of the burn see Rob Packer's amazing time lapse photographic video on You Tube and for a heated discussion on the reasons and reactions to the burn visit the Bushwalk Forum.

From Mt Maroon there are also views to the distant and distinctive square peg of Mt Lindesay as well as the smaller but impressive peaks of Mt Ernest and Mt May. In the evening you can see across the surrounding farmland to city lights, bright and blinking and multicoloured, and vying for attention with the emerging stars above. All this makes Mt Maroon worth standing on. It may be the area's second most peak but it has first rate views. It has wild cliffs, secret patches of forest and swamp, adventures for taking and finding - its own grandness in the surrounding landscape.

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve,
they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”