Quick little trip out to Sphinx Rock today up on Mount Wellington. I really have no idea how may minutes it is along the Lenah Valley track from the Springs. Mainly because I never bothered to look. And everytime I walk out there it takes me a different amount of time. Depends on how many things I find along the way, what season it is and who I am with. I am guessing today took maybe 20 minutes. There were minimal stops, one to talk about Lichen and their benefit to the ecosystem. Gerry made the mistake of asking me what they do, of course I had to take this opportunity to ramble.
Just quickly, Lichens are super important for the ecosystem. They are the first ones to colonise a disturbed area, and help stabilise the soil. Lichens also have little structures called cephalodia. These contain types or algae and/or cyanobacteria, which can fix nitrogen from the environment. When it rains, or the lichen starts to break down, it then releases a lot of nitrogen. This nitrogen ends up in the soil for others. So they are pretty important, and awesome.
Sphinx Rock is a rocky outcrop that is popular amongst rock climbers. Actually, I really don’t know how popular it is. I’m not a climber, so I totally just assumed it is. You can go out through the childproof gate up the top and check out the awesome view, or knick down the side and play underneath. If you do have a look from the top, make sure you keep small children under control. It’s a long drop to the bottom and probably would ruin your day. I’m happier exploring around underneath it.
I spent today trying to work out the rocks. Picked the sandstone bits at the bottom of the ‘cliff’, but also thought there was dolerite further up. I don’t know if I got it right. I have since read that it is a sandstone outcrop, so the dolerite must have been in my head. Next time I will go back with a rock book, a hand lens and a pocket knife. No wonder I don’t usually get very far when I am in the bush, always gotta bloody work out what everything is!
If you are looking for a good little walk on the mountain with the family, I would say this is one of the best ones. The track is pretty flat and good for little legs and big legs. You can stop and turn around at Sphinx rock or you can keep on going to junction cabin. There is a nice range of flora to look at, nice amount of fungi in the fungi season too. Starting at the Springs is helpful as there is a decent amount of parking and, of course, coffee. They have added a bunch of new picnic tables and are also upgrading some of the little tracks between the Springs and the car park about a minute away which is also the start of the North South track. Take yourself a picnic up and just enjoy it.
Today was really nice. I mentioned the other day about how I always forget to invite people on walks, because I forget who I said I would invite… So when Sarah and Gerry said ‘Come for a walk on the mountain’ I remembered that they were probably two people who I have said I will tell them next time I am walking. So thanks for the invite!
I made the rest of the family come today too. Charlie of course moaned about the idea, which seems to be pretty standard for his six year old self. However when we pulled up he was first out of the car and pretty much ran and jumped the whole way. I was well impressed with Gerry’s botanical latin. Although completely fictional he spoke it with confidence and if I ever find myself in a position where I get to name a new species, I shall go to him for advice.
Getting there and finding Sphinx Rock
Follow the signs to Mount Wellington/Kunyani from Hobart. Straight up Huon Road. Park at the Springs, you can’t miss it, there are signs. The walk starts just behind the toilet block, there are signs. There are signs everywhere really. And if you happen to miss them, just ask at Lost Freight to direct you to Sphinx Rock while you are ordering your coffee.
A reminder to keep your dogs on leads… For more information on dogs on Mount Wellington and why please read the ‘Wellington Park Dog walking information’ sheet