Stirling Ranges

A weekend away at the ranges with good friends.

From mid-day hikes, to evening climbs for sunset, the mountains are always a profound reminder of why I love photography.

Weary eye’d, I awoke around 2am in the comfort of my bed and set off east to meet up with some friends for a day of hiking. 4 and bit hours of driving through the darkness later and the light revealed the ranges in distance, signalling that I was not far away. This was my seventh trip here, and every time I see those black silhouettes on the horizon I always squirm and fidget like a little kid on Christmas eve.

After meeting up with the crew, we headed off to enjoy a morning of hiking in the sun on Bluff. We sat round on the summit for a little while, ate some food, enjoyed the clear skies and seemingly endless views. I prefer my cloudy, colder days, but it was nice to be up there on a day as clear as this one.

   

We returned to camp in the early afternoon and the crew decided to catch up on some well earned rest before we set out again for sunset.

We decided on Mt. Toolbrunup for our sunset jaunt, considered the toughest hike in the ranges, it offers incredible 360 degree views of all of the peaks in the park. We scrambled up slippery hills, steep boulder fields, then pushed up the very steep final 50m to arrive at the summit around an hour before sunset, all up taking about 1 hour and 30 minutes, not bad.

We took pictures, joked and ran around on the summit for an hour or so, watching the light of day fade into blue hour in the west. The soft breeze soon turned into a stiff gale and the temperature dropped, so we turned our backs and decided to start on our way down. Not long into the decent and we strapped on our head torches and cautiously made our way down the mountain. Because of the steep and very unstable rocky terrain on Toolbrunup, the decent is no quicker than the accent. However, with only a few stumbles, we made it back to the cars, around an hour and 15 minutes after leaving the summit.

The following day, we awoke at sunrise and took a quick hike along a trail, just off the scenic drive that snakes its way for 40k’s or so through the heart of the ranges. With heavy eyes and stiff legs it was a slow exercise but a stellar way to start the day. After this it was time to head on home, but not without a quick stop for breakfast. We pulled up at a small roadhouse a little before 9am, and as we were in the county and it was a Sunday it didn’t open until 9am. But soon enough a bright man greeted us, sporting his pyjama pants & bare feet. Despite this he was nothing short of humbled by our presence, he cooked us all whatever we wanted, burgers, bacon and eggs, toasties, anything, and did so with great charm. It’s warming to stop somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily look twice at, and meet someone like that, an even greater start to the day.

This concluded the trip, a short, but sweet one. I hate coming home from camping, I mean i really do, but its comforting knowing we crammed all we could into the short time we had there.

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