The clouds were performing a dance spectacle or ballet in the air, and the gentle breeze that was following me earlier had grown into a forceful wind gust. It was threatening to blow me off the ridge and giving me chills. I suddenly had the urge for coffee that I did not have that morning, but more I was getting nervous and thinking I should really start making my way back. I started humming:
There's no stronger wind than the one that blows/ Down a lonesome high ridge line/ No prettier sight than looking back/ On a camp you left behind ... There is nothin' that's as real/ As the warm drink in my mind
From atop the east peak I surveyed around in a whole circle and back, again and again.
...the mountains and the valleys, nothing can compare
I was hearing a song blowin' in the wind
...to these bluelit dancing skies, shining in the air.
I think I just mangled the song.
|Lake Maroon and Mt May|
|the first time i tried climbing barney i got stopped in my tracks in a white-out down there on the east ridge|
|Looking up and down the bluff.|
|Climbing up and then down the bluff|
|I met another scarecrow on the way down the bluff.|
Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear…
Full many a beaut bird perched up high unseenAnd waste its beauty in the forest’s hair.
The other denizens were there too. A pleasant pheasant playing hide and seek. The rock wallaby waved goodbye. And I said goodbye to a dead snake on the side of the trail. Little lizard was out sunbathing. A sand goanna was lunching out, dining on a koala. And the rosellas were frolicking aloft. Another goanna was showing off its climbing skills. A couple of roos were hitchhiking.
I bid adieu to the mountain, saying I’ll be back.
South (Peasants) Ridge:
- 00km Yellowpinch reserve carpark
- 2.0km Creek (Logan River) crossing
- 2.5km Camp 9
- 3.1km Camp 10
- 3.8km South/Peasants ridge trail branches off from main trail. Take the trail on right. Up ahead is an average 15% gradient to rum jungle.
- 5.2km steeper climbing commences, about 27%
- 7.0km rum jungle
- 7.7km The West peak is about 700m due west of rum jungle with a climb of 255m, average 36% grade.
- 8.0km The East peak is about 1000m due east with a climb of 250m.
- 3.35km Southeast ridge trail entrance. On the right-hand side of the trail, look for a tree marked ‘S.E.’ Turn right uphill. Average 28% to east peak.
- 3.85km turn left on ridge
- 4.2km climb steepens
- 6.75km East peak of Mt Barney
- 7.75km rum jungle
Mt Barney is a remote wilderness. The mountain demands respect. Safety is the priority, and personal safety is the responsibility of anyone venturing out here. I have mentioned the ever present danger of falling. There are of course other hazards (slips, trips, getting lost, running out of water or time, hypothermia etcetera), but falling from heights is the most immediate and likely, especially on the return journey when the body is affected by fatigue. In workplaces, a task at heights of two (2) metres or more requires a SWMS or similar. Trekking, hiking, climbing and other activities on foot also necessitate a hazard assessment. And always at any stage of any activity (recreational or otherwise), if you do not feel comfortable, if it does not feel right to you – stop.
After climbing Mt Barney, I feel like I can now attempt to climb those other famous highest trails in Brisbane. I heard of the Kokoda trail in the highest mountain in Mt Coot-tha, or 'chainsaw' in the highest peak of Camp Mountain. It's time to check them out.