10 PICS FROM THE STICKS PART IV: FLAXTON MILL ROAD TO MAPLETON FALLS AND BACK AGAIN

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The view from Mapleton Falls Lookout. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

In July 2013 another need to get fit reared its head and I found myself driving up to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk with Karen to do another hike. This time I had recently gotten fairly fit training for a Half Marathon and decided I needed to take a full pack of 23kgs approx. We set off rather late in the day to cover 14.2 or 15.8kilometres approximately, about a kilometre in my pack became heavy.

 

Wanting to try something new that would still equate to roughly 15kms I had looked up a path that began at the Great Walks Entrance on Flaxton Mill Road where we had finished on our last hike which looked to have an interesting amount of the various things you look for on a hike. Changing vegetation, scenic views and perhaps a waterfall. When we arrived it was fairly sunny and we set off. Starting off from where we parked we travelled 2kms to Flaxton Walkers Camp where the path at times becomes a road. The second section of Sunshine Coast Great Walks begins here. Past the camp you start on a narrow path as you descend into a gully. 1556

Setting off down the gully. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

Already getting fatigued I could only look forward to how much fun it was going to be when I had to ascend the other side. By the time we reached the bottom it had started raining and the path became muddy. Karen slipped once or twice but thankfully was not worse for wear. We were both wearing boots as well which was good. I did this path with my siblings last year and for any Australian readers, note the path then was not muddy but rocky and uneven, make sure you have good comfortable shoes.

 

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Karen at Baxter Creek Falls. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

 

1572Karen Crossing the Baxter Creek Suspension Bridge. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

At the bottom we came a bridge where only one person is allowed on at a time. We went to the side as well to get a closer look at Baxter Creek Falls. Not as spectacular as Mapleton Falls or Kondalilla Falls it is often deserted and can be a calm pretty place to relax. Unfortunately we didn’t stay long this day as I was mindful of time and excited to show Karen where we were headed. The hike up was really where the mud got slippery and of course it was our first serious up hill part of the day. Pushing through this we got out to more open ground and while remaining overcast it stopped raining as we lost the canopy of the rain forest. The trek eventually moved into wider roads and big houses on hills that seemed to be eroding precariously.

1576I loved the red of these trees against the blueish-gray sky that I had to get a picture. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

We reached the open road of Obi Obi Road and even walked on footpaths as traffic whizzed past. Turning off and walking along Mapleton Falls Road we knew we were close to being halfway. While everything was wet and overcast rain was still minimal. My shirt more wet from all the sweating I was doing, I have to admit nothing really beats how great your shoulders feel after you’ve hiked with a full pack. I mean they feel shit but it feels good to have done something that pushed you. Along Mapleton Falls Road are horses and barns and then as you get close there’s bus parking spot for tourists to be dropped off. We’ve driven up to the Mapleton Falls several times since to show friends, one time I drove Karen’s grandfather up there and we sat out there with him on his walker eating brie cheese and drinking tea out of a thermos. He was 92 years old but he made it all the way from the car park to the look out without a problem. About 7 months later he passed, sometime later we took him for a drive around town for an hour. When he went to Mapleton Falls we were probably right on the edge of the last few days he could make such a journey. I’m glad we did.

1590The view from Mapleton Falls Lookout. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

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Mapleton Waterfalls © Copyright Lloyd Marken

There is something to be said though about hiking up to a spot that most people drive too and that was how we first saw Mapleton Falls, probably the most spectacular look out on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. I took my pack off at this point and enjoyed the view but was mindful of the time. Soon enough we were back off again but as my phone started to run out of battery power on Mapleton Falls Road we came across an echidna in the wild. This was a special treat and one of our best hiking memories.

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Echidna in the wild. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

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Echidna in the wild up close. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

Those were the last photos I took of the hike but it was more of the same. As we headed down the gully due to the rain, the late hour or our quietness I can’t say but birds uncharacteristically fluttered about more freely and undisturbed by our presence. We got to see a few more up close and in detail then we ever have. Another treat to boost our spirits. Once crossing the rope bridge I began to find it particularly tough hiking up hill with full pack. I shudder to think how I would go now in my current fitness. I’ve hiked steeper and longer but maybe only once further and over such trying terrain. I definitely struggled to maintain a pace but I just kept pushing forward. We soon enough went past Flaxton Walkers Camp as the sun set. This let me know there wasn’t far to go but even so as we reached the last part we were back on a narrow path in thick rainforest and eventually it was dark, sounds of wildlife buzzed around us but I was very fatigued and did not want to bother taking off my pack to get a torch if it was a handful of metres left. Our pace quickened and at the point where I may have looked for the torch to ease Karen’s mind a single lamppost appeared in a clearing near us. We had made it. I don’t think we managed Capriccios that day but it had been a terribly rewarding hike. Maybe one of my favourites.

-Lloyd Marken

P.S. This series of posts was inspired by Cindy Bruchman’s series Five Shots. Check out this fantastic post of autumn leaves in Arizona canyons. Just beautiful!

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A View from Mapleton Falls. © Copyright Lloyd Marken

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42 comments on “10 PICS FROM THE STICKS PART IV: FLAXTON MILL ROAD TO MAPLETON FALLS AND BACK AGAIN

  1. I was in Australia once; I loved the crazy animals. I got a big kick out of the cockatoos in the trees.

  2. Paul S says:

    Your photographs bring to mind the words of Australia’s national anthem, a land abounding in nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare!

    • Lloyd Marken says:

      Thanks Paul, you’re English right? You have some beautiful countryside too.

      • Paul S says:

        Yeah I’m English. I live outside Manchester and I’m lucky that I can walk 10 minutes from my front door and be up in the hills. The only fly in the ointment is the weather. Today was a fine sunny day, last Friday we had snow showers!

  3. Karen says:

    It was tough hiking that day but it was all worth it to see that echidna. I was so excited but the echidna was totally chilled just doing it’s thing.

  4. Karen says:

    Can I just say, in my defence, that when I selected my outfit that morning I did not anticipate that people around the world would be viewing these photos. Next time I will wear something more stylish.

  5. Jay says:

    Cool photos! Impressed with the echidna encounter.

  6. It’s a pretty looking place for a walk. Incidentally, I’m impressed by Karen’s late grandfather. I hope I’m still able to get out and about at the age of 92.

  7. ibdesignsusa says:

    Just love the pictures and the views that you shared. Thanks for visiting my blog, also!

  8. beetleypete says:

    Late to this one, but I really enjoyed the scenery, despite the weather.
    And an Echidna too! I would love to see one of those in the wild. (But maybe not all your dangerous spiders…)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Lloyd Marken says:

      I know what you mean but being a city dweller I don’t have too much to worry about. The biggest concern on the track is parasites and we’ve never had a problem.

  9. vinnieh says:

    I love the pictures, something about nature always pleases me.

    • Lloyd Marken says:

      I’m glad to hear Vinnie. It was overcast that day and to my eyes the best hiking photos I’ve posted so far were in the very first 10 Pics from the Sticks post so I’m glad you liked this. Are you sure you enjoy my film review posts the most? The hikings ones seem to elicit more comments. 🙂 I’m just glad to have you like my site.

      • vinnieh says:

        All of your work is very good, I just have a real affinity to film reviews.

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        Thanks Vinnie, as a fellow film buff I know what you mean.

      • vinnieh says:

        I must say thanks for your amazing support and comments on my blog. You really have a way of discussing things that is very good.

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        I try to be engaged with my followers and the people I’m following. Sometimes I might not like something or I might like it but have nothing to add. Generally with you though it’s pretty easy. You invite discussion and even if I have limited knowledge on the subject I feel like remarking on how you’ve shown me something new or discussing first impressions or other work from the artists. Beyonce is a good example of that. You have a very fun blog, it’s easy to be engaged by it. 🙂

      • vinnieh says:

        I try to be as interesting as possible and introduces others to different movies and music. Your praise is very much appreciated.

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        I appreciate your support too, keep up the great work mate 🙂

      • vinnieh says:

        Likewise Lloyd.

  10. Jet Eliot says:

    Thanks for taking us along on your lovely hike, Lloyd. I love the image of both of you with Karen’s 92 yo grandfather enjoying brie and tea here. Great photos and trails. And I LOVE seeing the echidna. I saw one once in the wild, and they are not easy to come across.

    • Lloyd Marken says:

      Thanks Jet, I have a lot of regrets in life but I never regret driving him to Mapleton Falls that day. I’m so glad you’ve seen an echidna too. It’s quite a treat, we certainly haven’t seen one since. Thank you for stopping by and glad you liked post.

  11. Jordan Dodd says:

    Some great pics here, they are familiar cos they are Aussie 😉 What state are you in? I’m in Adelaide

    This really reminds me, I need to get out myself and take some photos. I’ve got no one to hike with though 😦

  12. Eric Binford says:

    Gorgeous! I want to go there!

  13. […] 10 Pics from the Sticks Part IV: Flaxton Mill Road to Mapleton Falls and Back Again 20 […]

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