Friday, 31 October 2014

SOTA Activation Cabbage Tree Fire Trail

VK2/ST-035 is a high point in Monga National Park, below Clyde Mountain between Braidwood and Batemans Bay. I identified it while surveying the South Coast summits, and named it after the fire trail I thought it was on as it doesn't have a proper name on maps. This proved to be wrong as you will see later... It was activated previously by Al VK1RX who advised it as fairly easy, so gave it a try.

Drove to Braidwood, then headed down the Kings Highway towards Batemans Bay. Turned off at Misty Mountain road on the right. For Canberra drivers this is just past Government bend, after the road levels levels out for a while before dropping again.

The road is unsealed but suitable for 2WDs, providing not too wet. Note the reference to the "Corn Trail", which is an old historic track from the tablelands to the coast. I have walked this track, it runs from River Forest Road above dropping down to the Buckenbowra River. Lots of lush rainforest and very steep...The idea is to have a car waiting at the end to pick you up, hence the sign.

The road drops down and crosses Sugarloaf Creek

Stopped for a brief look at the creek, some nice rain forest, looking downstream

Looking upstream

Continued on, climbing up the mountain. After 20 minutes drive from the highway reached the junction with Cabbage Tree Fire Trail

Looking down the trail, looked steep...probably need a good 4WD if you want to try it.

Parked just near the junction. At this point only about 250 m from the summit and about 40 m below it. Entered the bush just opposite the junction.

The bush wasn't that thick, easy going between the trees.

I would not advise going too far South, looked a lot thicker. A tall tree fern.

Just before the summit an open forest grove

Reached the summit after about a 5 minute walk, a large flat activation zone, plenty of old stumps for squid pole support as this used to be Buckenbowra State Forest and was logged in the past. Used one of the stumps.

Shack at the base on the tarp

Got on 40 m, signals quite good from VK2 and VK3, although lots of QSB. Started a small pileup as I had got on air only 20 minutes before UTC rollover. Contacts with both VK3CAT Tony mobile in Melbourne and VK3PF mobile in Gippland on the way to a summit. Worked the same chasers again post UTC. Tried 20 m, only one contact, VK5WG Nev. I could hear some US activity on 12 m, so gave it a try, but no luck. 24 contacts all together.

As the weather was starting to get warm and the wind picking up packed up at noon, and headed for the Braidwood bakery for lunch :)

Track log of walk, Monga 1:25k map. Misty Mountain Road, Cabbage Tree Fire Trail, even the Corn Trail all marked.

Track log on Google Maps. Zooming in on the road, it was labelled as Cabbage Tree Fire Trail, which I supposedly followed up to the summit? Misty Mountain Road does not exist! Do not rely on Google Maps for minor forest roads, use a decent topo map.

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