Distance: 3.5 km
Elevation gain: 620 m View map Download GPS track
Alison goes on a lot of hikes after work, and since I can’t get the motivation to do this myself I figured I’d invite myself along on one of her trips. Today she was heading for Packenham Junior, a small peak to the west of Mount Packenham nestled between the more popular Grizzly Peak
and King Creek Ridge
. It’s described as a steep hike in Andrew Nugara’s scrambling guide
, and as it is quite short it seemed like a great destination for an after work trip.
We parked at Hood Creek and easily located a trail running alongside the north bank of the creek. We followed this as it steeply ascended through open forest, but soon lost it as the route passed through sections of meadow and open pine forest.
The higher we hiked the steeper the slope became, and by the time we reached the open slopes a few hundred meters below the summit, it was about as steep as slopes can get and still be passable. Both of us were uncomfortable on it, but the illusion (delusion?) of easier terrain higher up kept us plodding, scrambling, and crawling higher and higher. We knew getting down was going to be somewhere between tedious and difficult, but presumed we could find an easier route than what we were currently on.
We eventually reached the flat summit and were greeted by outstanding lighting on the spectacular jagged peaks of the Opal Range. For such a small peak the view was fantastic and we spent quite a bit of time taking photos and snacking….and picking ticks off of us. While I’d picked up two on the ascent, the summit was absolutely covered in them. Within a minute I had two crawling on me, and by the time we left we’d picked more than a dozen more off the two of us. With the exception of the first minute, we spent the entire time standing too! Including the two I found later I picked nine ticks off me, a new one-day record!
On descent we stuck to the northern side of the peak and found the terrain to be much easier than what we’d ascended. It was still incredibly steep, but the footing seemed better.
Despite setting a new tick record and the steepness of the ascent it was still a very nice trip, especially on a work day when I would normally have been too tired to do much. Perhaps it’s better as a fall trip when the ticks aren’t as plentiful though…