JUNE 2018 | Tara Ulbrich
AS YOU drive across Dairy Plains, the Great Western Tiers rise up as a wall of rugged wilderness. From afar, the ranges and their trees look impenetrable and insurmountable. As you move closer, entry points appear.
One doorway worth entering is the beginning of Higgs Track. The car park is a little further than four kilometres up Westrope Road from Western Creek. As soon as you cross the threshold into the forest all evidence of cars and roads disappear. Another world opens up, an ecosystem of growth and decay.
The fifteen minute, moderate grade walk leads to Dale Brook where an interpretive board explains that the track was cut in the 1870’s so farmers could drive livestock to and from the alpine grazing land above.
Many will choose to make the stream and bridge their destination. They’ll be well satisfied with the contemplative spots on offer and the chance to dip their feet. The more adventurous will climb on.
In 2014 a team of skilled volunteers, using old Scottish stone–pitching techniques, laid walls, drains and steps up the track. The craftsmanship of these men and women will blend into the landscape as moss and vegetation inevitably grow over their work, but the beauty of the features will endure.
A fine spot to view the project lies just forty five minutes of hard climbing up from the bridge. The steep track will give cause to catch your breath. Check in with the proportion of the human form against the height of the sub alpine tree canopy. Turn back after the stone wall here or aim higher for the plateau. But be aware this would make a four to six hour return.
Regardless of your stopping point, the short walk to Dale Brook is a complete experience. Be welcomed into the forest.
Photo | Jade Hallam