I love hiking for many reasons, the grounding feeling of being in nature, the silence of all man made noise, the physical exertion.... But one of my favourite parts of hiking is the view. I can sit, quietly contemplating the vista while my mind quietens for hours without realising time has passed.
I’ve been a little lazy lately, I hate cold weather and the idea of getting out of bed in the dark to go for a run has been more than my willpower can cope with. Instead I’ve been concentrating on my rock climbing (indoors where I won’t freeze!) and yoga to keep me strong during these darker mornings.
I quickly came to regret the lack of cardio training though this Saturday, when I had the chance to explore Mount May for the first time.
In deference to the colder winter months we set off at the more reasonable time of 8am but despite the late start the outside temp was still only an extremely freezing 4 degrees. Layered up we grabbed our bags and set off.
The track begins at the Mt May campsite and from the moment you begin, the only way is up. The track is littered relentlessly in loose rocks making the ascent slippery despite the dry ground.
Although only a little mountain in comparison to some of its Scenic Rim siblings with a max elevation of 860m the trail to the summit is one continuous upwards hike with little reprieve along the way. A constant incline meant by the time I was five minutes in my legs were burning and it didn’t take long before the layers started coming off!
Luckily as we approached the North Peak the views started to come in and all pain was forgotten as I began glimpsing the surrounding mountains and sparkling tranquility of Lake Maroon below.
After a small scramble up a rock face the track reduced to a less intense incline and we hit the first peak. Off to the right of the summit track was the perfect viewing platform to observe some of the more popular hikes of the Moogerah Peaks and Lake Maroon in all her glory.
The descent from the North Peak took us across a short rocky ledge and along the ridge line up to the South Peak. I’m not sure if it’s the time of year, or the closer proximity, but the views from here across to Mount Barney were spectacular. Definitely the best aspect I’ve seen so far.
After a break to absorb the view, chat and have some morning tea we began heading down. Although you can go back the way you come up we decided to do the loop and took the South Peak track down. The track begins with a small down climb before the path once again becomes the loose rocks and dirt of the way up.
Eventually we reached a dirt 4wd track that took us back to the campsite via a paddock full of cows and a beautiful little creek. At the very end of the gorge is a large swimming hole surrounded by cliff faces, which will be perfect for swimming in the warmer months when the water is flowing.
All up the hike took us less then four hours, including plenty of view stops. Perfect if you are looking for a shorter half day hike that still provides a challenge.
“Lost is a state of mind, I prefer to think of it as exploring” - Lia Skye
What to Expect
A loose, rocky trail that was relatively easy to follow at this time of year but I have heard of other people getting lost due to false trails, if you don't have wikiloc I recommend printing a hard copy of the map or downloading a gpx of the track and uploading it to Google Maps before you go.
A little bit of scrambling and lots of amazing views you may not have seen before.
Although not overly long or difficult a medium level of general fitness, or the patience to sit and rest often, is required due to the constant uphill trail!
How to get there
Head towards the Mount May camp ground on Waterfall Road or click here for Google Maps
Water – Minimum 2L as there is no where to fill up while your up there.
Not that you'll be going off track but the weeds up there are very prolific so gaiters are always a good idea!
I wasn't too sure how long the hike would take so I made a delicious chickpea salad but you really just need to take a few snacks such as Primal Vegan Jerky (I like to get mine from Uproar so I know the money is going towards a good cause!) or some apples and peanut butter.
As always make sure to take all your rubbish and packaging with you!
Further Reading (for all the technical deets)