Mount Haystack is a granite tor near the World Heritage Trail in Gibraltar Range National Park. The climb to the summit is off track. When we walked the World Heritage Trail, we had planned to climb Mount Haystack. But the day was hot and the distance from Bellbird was long, so we walked on by preferring to stop for a swim at Duffer Falls.
But something about Mount Haystack made me want to go back. Itching at me like a bad leech bite. Perhaps the name, who doesn’t want to clamber up a soft haystack and roll down?
This is Bundjaung country, and the Haystack and Waratah Trig are culturally significant places.
On a cooler, misty day, many months later, we returned to take on the Haystack, setting off from Boundary Falls campground. Prior heavy rain meant a wade across Boundary Creek and subsequent creeks, and wet shoes for much of the walk. We passed the turnoff to first Duffer Falls and then the National Trail, with fungi fruiting everywhere and Christmas Bells still flowering in the swamps. Some 500m after the National Trail junction, beyond a swamp and at the top of a slight rise, we turned off the trail.
We climbed the ridge squeezing between and clambering over hard granite boulders, with occasional cairns suggesting we were going somewhere. We trended south east following the lie of the land, until we picked up the main summit ridge which is best approached from the south. The terrain was fairly open and picking a route among the rocks was not difficult.
Up top, as the rocks were slippery from rain, we decided to stay safe and stopped short of the main summit at about 1140m on a minor knoll. We enjoyed our lunch with a glorious view over Washpool’s forested ranges and valleys, with Waratah Trig to the east, before descending for the long walk back to Boundary Falls, wishing we had mountain bikes.
Back at camp for a shower, with numerous scratches and charcoal smudges on our limbs as evidence of a good day out in the bush.