Saturday, August 12, 2017

Richea Creek

With three days off in early July Kylie and I set our sights on Lake Rhona.  It had been a record dry June in many places so, despite being winter, we thought we had a chance at crossing the Gordon River.  We had heard mixed reports about whether the crossing log was usable so we decided seeing is believing.

Tiger Road bridge
Much of our first day was spent looking at various closed roads.  Following instructions from our trusty Abels and Southwest Tasmania guide books we headed along Tiger Road in the Florentine Valley.  In the theme of seeing is believing we passed a permanent-looking sign warning of bridge-induced road closure.  Sure enough the Tiger Road bridge over the Florentine River is fatally compromised with at least one of the main bearers in the drink (above).  While this closure did not appear on John Chapman's South West Tasmania update page, we did find it on the STTas (Sustainable Timber Tasmania - formerly Forestry Tas) Road and Track Closures page.

Contrast between temporary road sign budget of Parks and Forestry
So...  Back down the road and up Eleven Road where the bridge is sound.  Another permanent-looking sign warned of the road being closed at "Twin Lakes Bridge."  Nothing with that name appeared on our maps so that was bit of a mystery.  Just over the road from the sign a much-less permanent looking Parks and Wildlife Service sign (laminated A3 paper stuck to a tree) indicated we were on the correct road to the Lake Rhona walking track.  Ironically, there were several more intersections to negotiate without even a 'budget-basement PWS sign' to help.  At least these turns were as per the guide book instructions.  Perhaps this is an indicator of the difference between the budgets of Forestry and Parks.

We drove past the amusingly named Mother-in-laws Road just before arriving at the car park for the Richea Creek Track.  After a quick bite of lunch we optimistically shouldered our three-day packs and headed down to meet the Gordon River.

Gordon River at Richea Creek
Time for another broken bridge.  We could see the origin of the mixed messages.  The log is still there but broken near the far bank.  The river was flowing over the log by up to half a metre for a section of about 5 metres.  On this day the log was treacherously slippery so an epic straddle or a very dicey crawl would be needed and that's before reaching the submerged part.  We did not feel terribly brave at this point and resigned to missing out on Lake Rhona this trip.


Mr Chapmans notes talk about wading the river 20 metres upstream.  However, the Gordon is a big river at this point and it was flowing strongly.  Looking from the bank it appeared over two metres deep and, again, neither of us were in the mood for a swift-water swim to find out.

Twin Lakes Bridge
Back up at the car park we decided to investigate the Twin Lakes Bridge mystery*.  We suspected it would be at the far end of Tiger Road where it crosses the Florentine River to rejoin Florentine Road.  Sure enough the bridge at that location was closed.  No obvious droopy bearers this time but the surface has not seen much love for a long time.  Surprisingly this does not rate a mention on the STTas road closures page despite this being the route described in The Abels as access to Wylds Craig.  At the bridge there was still no reference to Twin Lakes.

While in the area we scooted up the road leading to the 'new' access track to Wylds Craig.  A large log over the road stopped us about 600m before the track.

After failing to cross the Gordon we had plenty of time to dream up plans to fill in the remaining 2 days.  We hit the Maydena shop for extra supplies (to allow us to stay away an extra day) en route to a sneaky little camping spot in State Forest (Permanent Timber Production Zone**) at Catagunya.  Where we went from there is another story...

* I found Twin Lakes!  A map searched revealed the "Twin Lakes" to be a pair of tarns near the summit of Mount Shakespear just north of Wylds Craig and about 5km as the crow flies NNW of their namesake bridge.
** Tasmania no longer has any State Forest.  Instead we have Permanent Timber Production Zone (PTTZ).  How's that for a politically charged term?  The label is even more ludicrous considering over half of the PTTZ is not available for timber production due to stream side reserves, wildlife corridors, buffer zones, etc.

1 comment:

Robert Gracie said...

Super Helpful