Some places get all the attention and others are seldom mentioned. In the Sterling Range National Park everyone concentrates on climbing Bluff Knoll, but there is as I’ve said on previous occasions a lot more than Bluff Knoll. Believe it or not Bluff Knoll is one of the easier climbs in the park. Another one is Mount Trio. Climbing up Bluff Knoll is not a wilderness experience as there are far too many people. With Mount Trio if you see more than two other people its a very busy day.
Mt Trio comprises three peaks and was once known by its Aboriginal name Warrungup, meaning “three become”. It is 3.7Km to the top and back with an ascent of 418m. The first third of the walk is very steep with irregularly spaced steps. Wildflowers, including the endemic mountain bells (Darwinia leiostyla), are a feature of this walk. Montane thicket on the upper levels of the peaks puts on a colourful display of wildflowers in spring and early summer although we didn’t see this as the area was still recovering from a devastating bushfire and was like walking through a landscape of charcoal sticks.
The going gets easier once you hit the saddle between the east peak and the north peak. The saddle between the cols is covered in Drumsticks (Kingia australis). These grass trees were often called Black Gin trees, a derogatory racist term now not used. The Nyoongar name for them is Pulonok. The track then follows a more gentle slope to the highest (northern) point at 856 metres. At the summit there is a small cairn of stones which people add to on getting there. From the summit on a clear day you get views of Mt Toolbrunup the second highest peak in the range at 1052m. Then all it is a matter of retracing your footsteps back to the start.
Climbing up was pretty taxing on the legs muscles – all those steps were like a sadistic form of step aerobics. Those steps were even more murderous on the way down. It was the muscles that were complaining this time it was my knee joints. At about 500m from the end my knees announced that they were going to divorce me on the basis of cruelty. Thankfully from this point we could clearly see the car in the car park below us and it spurred us on to one last final effort.
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