Prior Posting: The Mt. Stapylton Trail
As I began to climb down the summit of Mt. Stapylton, I dropped into another valley, but this valley was quite possibly the most spectacular in the whole park:
These multi-colored rock walls are called the Taipan Walls. A taipan is one of the world’s most venomous snakes, found here in Australia of course, and their color is some what similar to these rock walls:
The walls became more and more impressive the closer I walked towards them:
After passing through the valley I had to climb up another hill where I was rewarded with these view looking back on the Taipan Walls:
From the top of this hill I had to climb down one last massive rock face. After getting to the bottom of the rock face I once again had to break a bunch of brush and then popped up in the Mt. Zero campground. From the Mt. Zero campground I then proceeded to head for the trail leading up Mt. Zero:
As I started walking up the trail I surprised an echidna that was walking up the trail as well. Once the echidna saw me it took off into the brush and then curled up into a ball to defend itself:
The echidnas are one of Australia’s most unusual animals because they are one of only two mammals in the world that lay eggs. The other mammal that lays eggs is the platypus and together these two animals are known as monotremes. Interestingly enough both of these monotremes also have poisonous stingers. The echidnas stinger isn’t usable anymore because it is located so far within its quills while the platypus still can use its stinger, but the poison in both animals is not fatal. These echidnas are actually great to have around because they eat nothing, but ants. I wish one of these guys would move into my backyard where it would find a never ending buffet of ants.
Anyway I continued up Mt. Zero and here is a narrow rock passage I had to pass through:
I continued up to the top of Mt. Zero and found this pretty cool summit marker:
was rewarded with this spectacular view of Mt. Stapylton:
You can see the big rock face I had to climb down to get to the Mt. Zero campground. On the opposite side of the rock face is where the Taipan Walls are located plus in this picture you can see the summit of Mt. Stapylton an kind of get an idea of the path I took to get to Mt. Zero. This picture is really great of example of why the Grampians is the top rock climbing capitol in Australia. Just fantastic rock climbing not only on Mt. Stapylton, but across the entire range.
Here is a view looking towards the west:
The field directly below Mt. Zero is actually an olive farm:
The terrain for about another 4 hours of driving west of the Grampians looks exactly what you see here in the distance. Nothing but range land and farms. The terrain really doesn’t change until you reach the Murray River area an hour outside of Adelaide where you have to cross some steep mountains in order to reach Adelaide.
Here is view looking towards the southwest:
In the distance you can see the last peak of the Grampians, Mt. Arapiles which is the singular premier rock climbing destination in Australia. I didn’t have a chance to drive out there on this trip, but I will definitely visit the place at some point. Here are a few more pictures of the view from the summit of Mt. Zero:
After checking out the view I headed back down the mountain and back to the campground. Instead of climbing through all the rocks and bush I had to go through on the way here, I decided to take a dirt road back to the Mt. Stapylton campground:
I made excellent time on the road and even had a chance to give directions to some lost Chinese tourists. After walking for a couple of hours I was back at the Mt. Stapylton campground and who else was there to greet me? No not my wife, but the kangaroos:
The wife did have a dinner of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pringles waiting for me again which was nice. All in all, on this hike since I deviated from the Mt. Stapylton loop trail and also climbed Mt. Zero I figure I probably covered over 20 kilometers on this hike. I definitely felt it in my legs, not so much the distance but the climbing up and down the rocks, however it was worth it. Just a spectacular day out in the Grampians. Fortunately I still had a couple more spectacular days to enjoy.
Next Posting: McKenzie Falls and the Jaws of Death