Sometimes, ignoring track signs can be for the best.
Normally I’m a stickler for following a set path and signage suggestions, but you shouldn’t always believe everything they say.
For example, we spent Christmas with my family in Far North Queensland. They live in Atherton, on the Tablelands, west of Cairns. (Now, according to the tourism marketers, known as the Cairns Hinterland – blergh!)
Atherton sits at the base of Mt Baldy, the hardened core of an ancient volcano.
In all my years growing up in Atherton I only ever climbed the mountain once.
So on our recent trip home I decided to climb it again for old time’s sake. And to walk off some Christmas over indulgence.
The views from the summit are fantastic – the town below, farms, Tinaroo Dam, volcanic features like the Seven Sisters and Mt Quincan, and ranges in the distance that include Queensland’s highest mountain, Mt Bartle Frere.
The top of Mt Baldy. Widow Maker is to the right
Also at the top is an official, wooden sign that says the track finishes there. But the track appears to continue. And tacked to a tree is a laminated piece of paper with a mud map showing that the track continues down the other side of the mountain and links up with some other tracks to create a loop walk.
This was a real treat for me as I’ve often wondered what was on the other side of Baldy.
And what I discovered was a well-walked track through dense rainforest, which was a significant change from the dry, sparse scrubby bush the track going up the mountain passed through.
From the summit the track went down and around the southern side of the mountain and returned to the scrubby bush around the base. It also linked to a track that went steeply up a nearby hill called Widow Maker, which I’d never known was called that.
The views from the top of Widow Maker were fantastic too.
So instead of a shortish walk up the mountain and returning the way I’d come, I found a longer, more interesting path.
So ignoring the track signs can sometimes lead to some pleasant discoveries. Is there a lesson for life in there?