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Once again deciding to go check out Mount Cougal was an on the spot decision.  The write up sounded interesting and fit in well with our late start time frame.  It was a beautiful day so we headed out on the motorbike.

A quick stop at Woolies for some cheese and bacon rolls and we got to the car park after 1.5-hour ride.  The last 3km was an enjoyable dirt road.

We headed off up the hill through high grass and sugar cane.  The path was well trodden and sometimes it was like going through tunnels of sugar cane.

After a short walk up the hill following the border fence we came to a clearing with a nice lone tree for shade and awesome views towards the ocean.

Nice view of Mount Warning

Mount Cougal East and West Peak

Soon the grass gave way to a nice rainforest and still following the border fence we enjoyed the total lack of human noise.  When we got to the rock wall we missed the caves on the way up.  The last bit was a nice scramble up, but nothing too hairy.

Border crossing

A bit of scrambling with the help of roots

At the top of the east peak, we joined another few hikers for lunch and enjoyed the 360 degrees view. Some guys also came back from the west peak, which took them 1.5 hours.  We decided to leave the west peak for next time.

Mount Cougal west peak

On the way down, all I wanted to do is find the cave we read about.  Apparently, if you can squeeze through the cave to the cliff face on the other side you can sign a book.  Sounds pretty straightforward, I thought.  It wasn't hard to find the cave (located at the top of the track just before you turn right to follow the rock wall), which looked really spectacular.  It didn't even look too hard to do, all we needed to do is squeeze sideways through the crack in the mountain.

Luckily Kerrie packed a head torch.  It was going great until things became very tight.  I could see the exit with a sinking heart.  There was no way I could squeeze through there.  On top of my disappointment, the walls seemed to close in on me and I all I wanted to do is get out of there.  I didn't even give Kerrie a chance to take a photo of the exit.  There is no way to describe the feeling of joy when I got out of that dark place.  Today I learned that caving is not my thing.

One very happy Alex back outside

The way back to the car was as beautiful as the way up and by the time we got down I even contemplated giving the cave another shot next time.  But even if we can't do the cave, we definitely need to come back to do the west peak.

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