SBW Walks Programs
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Cahill Community Centre (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest.
|Editor||Ainslie Morris, 45 Austin Street, Lane. Cove, 2066. Telephone 428-3178|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871-1207|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray|
|Duplicator Operator||Phil Butt and Barbara Evans|
|David Rostron's Three Peaks Walk||by Tom Wenman||2|
|Map - Route of Three Peaks Trip 1984||Tom Wenman||6|
|Daintree/Cape Tribulation - One impression||Wendy Hodgman||7|
|S.B.W. Committee Meeting 1 August||9|
|New Members & Addresses||9|
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre||10|
|Search & Rescue||11|
|George Walton's Trip to Cloudmaker||Emma Duncan||12|
|Snowshoe Sojourn - June Long Weekend||Roger Browne||15|
|Social Notes for September||Roger Browne||16|
|Southern Cross Equipment - Change of Parramatta address||16|
11th, 12th and 13th MAY
by Tom Wenman
|Starters:||David Rostron,Malcolm Steele, Ian Rannard, Jim Percy, Spiro Hajinakitas, Jim Laing, Tom Wenman.|
David Rostron's Three Peaks walk began in the cheerful atmosphere of Aroney's Cafe over a decidedly decadent variety of food of which Dr. Pritikin would most certainly not have approved. “Oh, we'll burn off all the excess calories over the weekend” was the general excuse. Discussion of pack weights led to the revelation that nobody had actually managed to get down to the prescribed limit, and I think each one of us felt a little relieved (I did anyway).
A Moonlight Flit
The walk along Narrowneck began at 8.10 pm precisely, with a cool breeze, a clear sky and a nearly full moon. We soon warmed to the pace, however, and the party moved buoyantly along in excellent spirits. The lights of Sydney were clear to our left and the east, whilst the cool rock walls of Narrowneck on our right overlooked the Megalong Valley where shone the occasional light of a solitary farmhouse. Taro's ladders were reached and climbed down in good time, and we skipped over Mt. Debert and down to Medlow Gap by excellent moonlight with the occasional torch illumination.
It was becoming a bit of a trudge, however, by the time we reached the foot of White Dog where it was dank and cool. It had taken us four hours. We pitched two flies, gathered some firewood for the morning and were soon in our sleeping bags and asleep.
At 5.30 on Saturday morning Spiro was the first to awake and nobly brought forth fire to the darkness and some encouragement to the remainder of the party to bestir themselves. With daylight, the morning, proved fine but cool as we walked down to the river.
On Jim Percy's advice that the river level had been quite high recently it was decided to cross at the first opportunity. A chest-high river crossing at that time in the morning, at that time of the year, is a very cool experience, particularly for the more delicate parts of the body. This was no exception.
After some riverside walking, the foot of the Kooriecone Ridge was reached and the climbing began. Like many of the ridges it starts off steeply and is clear of scrub. It is unrelenting in its ascent however. A steady plod took us in due time to Gentle's Pass where we climbed through a tree-fern gully to emerge on top of the cliff line. We were rewarded with a splendid view of the Kowmung Gorge, with in the distance the Broken Rock Range. Unfortunately some members of the party missed the pass and an enforced wait lost us some time, although it was agreeably spent drinking in the superb views in the clear morning sunshine with the air as crisp as a sparkling wine.
The First Casualty
When we were all together again a course was set to Dex Creek. It became evident, however, that Malcolm was not going too well. He looked very pale indeed and at Dex Creek finally admitted defeat. Spiro generously offered to accompany him back to Kanangaroo Clearing, and after some discussion David indicated that he too would return with Spiro. That left Jim Laing, Jim Percy, Ian Rannard and myself. As we were already running well behind schedule we departed hurriedly for Cloudmaker.
Our arrival on that celestial peak - the first of our 3,000ers - was greeted by Barry Wallace toiling up from Rip, Rack, etc somewhat ahead of his troops from Kanangra. Some cheery greetings were exchanged and we were soon on our way swiftly down Rumble, Roar, etc. heading for Stormbreaker and the descent to Thunder Bend on Kanangra Creek.
From the top of Stormbreaker Ian selected a bearing and plunging down the hill we made good progress through the open bush.
After a while, however, Jim Laing complained of cramp in one leg and dropped some distance behind. Jim Percy elected to stay with him whilst Ian and I continued our downward plunge. Some careful navigation was required to pick the correct ridge which branches off the main ridge line, and leads to Thunder Bend. Ian picked it well and we could soon hear the welcome sounds of Kanangra Creek where we arrived at about 2.00 pm - about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule. I felt hot, dusty and tired so determined on a swim in the creek, which was certainly cool, and emerged refreshed for a hurried lunch.
We departed at 2.30 pm just as Jim Percy arrived, and we were not surprised to learn that he and Jim Laing would make their exit via the creek. That left two of us still striving for the objective.
And Then There Were Two
Finding our way through the thick growth of casuarinas, we finally and irrevocably committed ourselves to Mt. Paralyser and the full trip.
The dreaded peak lived up to its name with an uncompromising start and I was soon labouring behind Ian with a pack which suddenly acquired a lead-weight feeling, and feet that would not climb any faster than a deliberate plod. (So much for restricting myself to an 80% effort which David had recommended.) I had no thought of turning back but if there was a low point on the trip, this was it, knowing as well that we were 1 1/2 hours behind time, and fearing that we might get caught descending the other side in the dark. Ian was very encouraging however, and somewhere over half way up I recovered my strength, and as the slope eased slightly we began to make better time. We arrived at the top at 4 pm and there seemed a good chance that we would make camp by dusk, so we were in good spirits.
Whilst the ridge off Paralyser is fairly well defined it is necessary to be careful in the selection of subsidiary descent ridges. With this and the fading afternoon in mind we seemed to take an age going down and yet still could neither see nor hear the creek. Time was obviously catching up with us on the final ridge when, as we were contemplating a dramatic plunge down the side to the creek, we bumped into a cairn. This made up our minds for us, and we immediately dropped off the edge, descending very quickly through loose stones and vegetation, but mercifully free of any scrub. At last we were able to glimpse the creek and hear the rush of its waters over the boulders.
At last we seemed to be getting somewhere, but still the descent continued until eventually we arrived at a steep bank opposite what appeared to be a campsite. We could scarcely believe our good fortune as we pushed our way through the young casuarinas, paddled across the creek and found indeed a level campsite with an established fireplace, all at the very foot of Naroo Gable. It was 5.10 pm, and just time to make camp before darkness embraced us.
We rested pleasantly that evening before a warm fire, the campsite bathed in bright moonlight. We thought about the other campfires, one at least at Konangaroo Clearing, but we wondered where Jim Laing and Jim Percy were.
The Final Peak
We both felt better after a good night's sleep and at 7.15 am threaded our way through the dew-wet grass and applied ourselves to the ascent of Naroo Gable. Another steep and uncompromising start, marked with the footsteps of last week's party. In next to no time we had left the sounds of Whalania Creek behind and the rocky character of the Gable began to establish itself. Already the uppermost parts of the ridge were bathed in sunlight and from time to time we stopped to admire the splendid views up towards Kanangra Tops.
In the foreground Sally Camp Creek wound its way past the grey rocky outcrops of Barbara Bluff, whilst all around the tree-clad ridges swept down from Mt. Paralyser. As we climbed higher and carefully over the friable rock, Cloudmaker and its attendant peaks came into sight until the whole splendid panorama from Kanangra Tops to The Gangerang was ours to view as we paused in our climb.
Ahead and to our right the ridge by which we would descend from Guouogang became visible from time to time. As David had said when speaking of the route, it was a fine ridge walk, and this was certainly the weekend for it. As we resumed our climb in the still, cool morning air, a lyre bird, its tail floating behind it, fled to safety amongst the crags, its shrill piping call ruffling the morning's silence.
We reached the summit cairn at 9.15 after negotiating some excruciating scrub. This was our third and final three-thousander. We shook hands and I greeted Ian with a “Berg Heil”. We felt and were on top of the world. Now for the long trek home, but first we paused to enjoy the superb views from this prince of peaks. Views which encompassed all that we had walked over so far that weekend and much more besides. From Narrowneck where we had started, past the Wild Dog Mountains, Cloudmaker, Kanangra Tops and beyond, Mt. Jenolan and back to the Coxs River and the long ridges leading down to it.
Ian's immaculate navigation picked the long ridge for our descent over Mts. Bullegowar and Konangaroo and we walked easily down past the Saw Tooth and over the two mountains. The final navigational exercise required us to pick the ridge for the descent to Konangaroo Clearing. Achieving this, we strode grandly across the sunlit grassy glades to have lunch under a rough barked angophora. It was 12.10 pm.
Lunch had to be brief however, as we had still a tidy walk in front of us. In addition to which, although we did not know how far the remainder of the party was in front of us, we hoped that at least one driver might wait for us, providing we were not too late.
The way was easy up Yellow Pup, however, and we soon left the Coxs far below us. The top of Taro's ladders was reached just after 5.00 pm, but darkness and a couple of 'four-wheel-drives' overtook us along the Narrowneck fire trail. We ignored the latter but the former caused us to quicken our pace. We hoped someone would wait, as apart from anything else we wanted to share our elation with them.
As we reached the top of the final hill, at the bottom of which the cars had been parked, we saw a light flash in answer to our own torches. Jim Percy and Jim Laing were there to greet us and very generously provided us with transport home. But first Jim P. produced two beers and never has the amber liquid tasted so beautiful. Then it was away to Young's for another decadent repast to round off this glorious weekend.
(The “Three Peaks Trip” is a classic bushwalker 'tiger' trip, involving a Friday night start from Katoomba out along Narrowneck, and returning the same way on Sunday - about 90 kilometres. And, of course, climbing and descending three 1,000 metre mountains - Mts. Cloudmaker, Paralyser and Guouogang. Quite a trip! Ed.)
by Wendy Hodgman
Last February we left Sydney on an extended cycling trip northwards along the east coast. Four months later we arrived at our primary destination of Cairns, after enjoying National Parks, coastal islands, and the hospitality of friends and relatives on the way. Having cycled the 3 1/2 thousand kilometres to Cairns, we decided to make the effort and cycle an extra 150 kilometres north to Cape Tribulation, to see this controversial area for ourselves.
We ended up spending over a week getting to know the rainforest, the issues and the people involved in the blockade. Without going into details of the history, the politics, or significance of the proposed road, we would like to pass on our impressions, so that people may feel inspired to act to save this area from destruction. More details can be obtained from the Tasmanian Wilderness Society or the Australian Conservation Foundation.
The 40 kilometres of existing road to Cape Tribulation (from the ferry across the Daintree River) is rough, rocky, very steep in parts, and with several creek crossings. It is accessible to conventional vehicles and bicycles in the 'dry' season, and passes through large areas of rainforests, noticeably receding from the dusty road, but still impressive. These rainforest areas are in the patches of national park. Interspersed with the national park areas is privately owned land, some of which has recently been subdivided into one hectare blocks, resulting in the inevitable destruction of rainforest. There are also several camping areas and beaches along the way.
At the end of the road, tired from a hard days cycling, we were greeted by colourful banners and signs proclaiming the wonders of the rainforest, and the vandalism involved in its destruction. Huge logs have been dragged across the road and posts buried in the ground. A closer look revealed eight holes dug to a depth of about five feet with chains set into concrete at the bottom for locking protesters in. A motley group of people - known variously as concerned citizens, conservationists, greenies, druggies, etc. - were hanging around, talking to tourists and generally just creating a presence. The camp for blockaders was just down the road, on private property, with the owner, Hans, trying to prevent the continuation of the road at all costs.
We set up our little Paddys tent amongst the teepees, buses, combies, tarpaulins and other tents and joined in camp life. Blockaders pay $20 per week for food and everyone shares in the responsibilities of running the camp. This means spending time in the kitchen, at the blockade site, building camp facilities, working on re-establishing the national park walking track through the rainforest, doing a shift on the radio, sharing ideas and planning actions, etc.
One morning we asked if we could help in the kitchen and were immediately left on our own to prepare lunch for 40 or 50 people. Another day we helped to erect a teepee for the kids to play in and dug the drainage trenches for a much needed shower. Possibly our most difficult but interesting day was the one we spent at the blockade site, talking to the people who have come up for a look.
Several tourist buses now drive to the Cape Tribulation blockade site as part of their day tour, and whilst many people are sympathetic, others are not. Bearing the brunt of their aggression and opposition to the blockade is a difficult and wearing experience. Some were willing to discuss the issues and learn whilst many others simply walked past and muttered (or yelled) comments about dirty hippies, selfish conservationists, drug trade, etc.
These people are missing the point. The issue is to save a beautiful and unique area of rainforest, not whether the blockaders have long hair or wear Indian dresses. They have all given up their homes and their time to come and live in an isolated camp and fight for something they believe in. Of course there are some “hangers on”, but they tend to get sorted out after a while anyway. And sure, a lot of blockaders aren't your middle class Mr. and Mrs. Average, but still the issue remains the same. And yes, there are problems in running the camp but these are dealt with by the group as they arise. The one thing that everyone has in common is to save the rainforest. Whatever their lifestyle and appearance, we are lucky to have people with such a commitment to conservation.
After several days at the Cape Tribulation camp we caught the supply boat to Bloomfield and the blockade camp at the northern end of the proposed road. It is highly likely that the bulldozers will begin their work at this end and so the two camps are necessary.
The boat trip passed close to the beaches and gave a good view of the mountains clad in thick rainforest right down to and overhanging the beach. Just off the shore is a living coral reef totally protected under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but under threat of pollution if the road and development are allowed.
After camping a few days at Bloomfield, we walked the 25 km back to Cape Tribulation along the track that was dozed through last year. This track has not been surveyed and consequently is a total mess. After only one wet. season landslides, erosion, silting of creeks and washaways are all the way along the track. In places the track is so steep that it is nearly impossible to walk on, let alone drive a 4WD or car on. By any accepted standards of engineering the road is a disaster.
Ignoring this vandalism the walk is well worth while. You pass through a variety of rainforests and cross creeks with lovely swimming holes. The trees, vines and plants are incredible and birdlife abundant. In places the overhead canopy gives you an almost claustrophobic feeling. The track passes close to the coast at Cowie Bay and is well worth a visit. This beach area has been described as paradise and certainly has a magical feeling about it.
It is a beautiful area but its unique value would be lost forever with the sounds of cars and trail bikes roaring through it. Already there are many areas where motorists can drive through rainforest and see it from their vehicles. In fact this is one of the last untouched coastal rainforest areas in Australia and should be valued higher than any short sighted plans for questionable “development”.
As you may gather we came away from the Cape Tribulation controversy feeling very strongly that the road would destroy something which is unique and beautiful. This area needs to be saved from development before it is too late! It is an area well worth a visit by bushwalkers. Thornton Peak and Mt. Pieter Botte provide adequate challenge to the adventurous walkers. For the less energetic simply walking the track is a worth while experience.
The more people coming to the area the better. It is easy to get to from Sydney - don't let the distance put you off as there are cheap buses to Cairns, plus planes and trains. The National Parks have camping beaches and there is a Youth Hostel at Cape Tribulation. More people are needed (and welcome) at the blockade but it is just as important to have people using the National Park generally and the track in particular. If you can't get up there, then write letters, talk to people, learn about the issues. Believe us, it is worth while fighting to save this rainforest.
1st August, 1984
Bushwalkers insurance as proposed by the Federation will be considered by a sub-committee and discussed at the Half-Yearly General Meeting.
Federation has re-elected Gordon Lee as President and Ball Convener, and Spiro Hajinakitas as Secretary. Tim Coffey was elected N.C.C. delegate from Federation. Congratulations!
The Social Secretary, Roger Browne, has resigned as he is going to work in Brisbane, and a new Social Secretary will be elected at the Half- Yearly Meeting.
Please add the following names to your Membership List!
|Duncan, Rosslyn||5 Rugby Road, Eastwood, 2122.||368,2679|
|Sullivan, Lucy||114 Fiddens Wharf Road, Killara, 2071||46,3536|
|Azzopardi, Emmanuel||11/23 Nelson Street, Penshurst, 2222||570,4423|
|Enrick, Janette||3/34 Busaco Road, Marsfield, 2122||868,2008|
|Giacomel, Eddy||8 Alan Avenue, Hornsby, 2077||477,2196|
Please note in your Membership List the correct suburb for mail:-
Lee, Gordon, 2/22 Sunbeam Avenue, Enfield, 2136. (H) 741,824
I am looking for part-time work as a handy-man - - Locks fitted, painting (inside and outside - max. height 4 metres) - paper hanging - carpentry - general house maintenance - etc. etc. - - -
Weekend work preferred.
Ring Peter Miller - 818,1990.
What to do if a party is overdue or needs help.
- Telephone one of the S.B,W. Search & Rescue contacts:
|Kath McInnes||(H) 86,4254|
|Tony Marshall||(H) 713,6985||(B) 230,5977|
|Ray Hookway||(H) 411,1873|
The S.B.W. Search & Rescue contact alerts Federation Search & Rescue.
What happens if the club is asked to assist a search or rescue.
- Federation telephone a club “S. & R. contact”.
- The club S. & R. Contacts phone the people on the S. & R. call out list:
- Only one club representative liaises with Federation.
People available for S. & R. call out.
|Available Same Day||Need One Day Notice||Weekends Only|
|Bill Burke||871,1207||John Clarke||741,916||Craig Austin||841,519|
|Joan Cooper||560,1643||Ray Dargan||337,6834||Brian Bolton||520,2921|
|Don Finch||H 477,2251||Barbara Bruce||546,6570|
|John Redfern||H 8084702||Bob Duncan||868,2679||Alan Doherty||818,1138|
|Hans Stichter||688,3050||Peter Miller||818,1990||Bob Hodgson||949,6175|
|Bob Younger||571,158||Jim Percy||810,5707||Bill Holland||449,5189|
|Frank Taeker||645,1658||David Butler||H 81,1257||Gordon Lee||74,1824|
|Bill Capon||H 559,4407||Tony Marshall||H 713,6985||Margaret Brown|
|B 798,5520||B 230,5977||John Brown||818,2882|
|Ainslie Morris||H 428,3178||Jim Laing|
|B 816,4264||Victor Lewin||827,3707|
|David Sowden||H 476,2998||Fazeley Read||909,3671|
|B 977,8466||Brian Hart||B 726,0165|
|If you wish to add your name or make a change to this list||Bronwyn Stow||81,1251|
|please contact one of the S.B.W. Search & Rescue Contacts.||Barry Wallace||B 240,1112|
|People available for “call out” should be able to handle a||Spiro Hajinakitas||357,1181|
|medium-hard weekend walk comfortably and have a good||Brian Holden||B 789,9228|
|working knowledge of map reading and first aid.||Ray Hookway||411,1873|
by Emma Duncan
|Starters:||George Walton (leader), Max Ward, Ron Young-, Peter Hislop, George Mawer, Judy Mahaffy, Jan Mohandas, Bob Duncan, Rosslyn Duncan, Michael and Emma Duncan.|
The Weather forecast was not good, and our fears for a wet weekend worsened when we drove into a downpour at Emu Plains. The rain was so heavy that we could hardly see the road. However by the time we reached Katoomba it had eased to mist and drizzle.
On reaching Kanangra we put on our packs and oilskin coats and set of through the mist towards the Ballroom cave. The track was wet and dark, and to make things worse, Michael shone our one torch on everything except the track. We came to a wide part of the track where there was a tree with a thick cable around it. Dad couldn't remember whether to go around the tree or straight on. We went straight on but after floundering around in the bush for a few minutes we walked back to the tree and went around it. A few moments later we saw a light and heard voices from the cave.
The cave was different from what I had expected. It isn't really a cave but a huge overhang. It was long, fairly wide, and dry! A large can had been placed under a few drips at the back of the cave to collect water. Because of the rain there was a curtain of drips at the edge of the cave. We laid down our sleeping bags on a ground sheet, crawled into them, and slept peacefully through the night.
The next morning I woke to the continual drip, drip, drip of water. As I peered out of the cave from my warm sleeping bag I couldn't determine whether it was rain or just water dripping off Kanangra Tops. It turned out to be both. We had a quick breakfast, packed our sleeping bags etc. and joined the rest of the group in the next section of the cave. The leader, George Walton, was there with Jan Mohandas, Max Ward, and Peter Hislop. They were waiting for Judy Mahaffy, George Mawer, and most important of all, Ron Young, the only man who knew exactly how to find the 100-Man Cave on Ti Willa Plateau. Or leader said that if Ron didn't turn up the trip would have to be cancelled. Max had brought luxuries such as barbecue tongs to this cave which we couldn't take on the trip. He took these back to the cars and came back with George, Judy, and our guide Ron. Now the party was complete and ready to go.
We donned our oilskin coats and packs, set off into the drizzle, and climbed onto Kanangra Tops. Here we met full-force winds and heavier rain. The vegetation up here was low and scrubby and hard on the legs. There were many puddles on the track which I carefully avoided. However when we came to a part of the track that was flooded with ten centimetres of water and surrounded by fierce bushes, I gave up my hopes of warm dry feet and walked through. We sloshed through puddles and forced our way through the scrub until we reached a large bare rock area. “This,” said George-the-leader, “is a favourite photo-taking place”. I peered into the mist unable to see anything beyond ten metres. I could see, however, that the edge of the tops on which we were walking fell abruptly as a vertical wall.
After about half an hour of scrub-bashing the leaders decided that we had walked too far and missed the crack (Gordon Smith Pass) that led down off the tops. “We are lucky,” I was told, “most people walk two kilometres too far before they realise it.” We back-tracked and a few minutes later were scrambling down the crack in the rocks. Unfortunately, because of the rain, it also served as a small waterfall. This didn't worry me, though, because I like rock scrambling. Now we were off the tops the vegetation was quite different. Instead of scrub there were tall trees. It was very misty and wet and all I could see was that we were walking between trees.
After a while we reached Craft's Wall. This is a huge wall of sandstone which the track sidles. Towards the northern end of the walls there was a long shallow overhang. Here we sheltered, stretched out like birds on a power line, and had morning tea. It was Mum's birthday and we had brought a birthday cake for her. We cut it into eleven pieces and everyone said it was delicious although a bit squashed.
My parka wasn't waterproof and after the tea stop I was freezing. It was not until we had been walking for 15 minutes that I warmed up. Soon we reached a very steep part, Gabe's Gap; we walked down and down. “What you have to remember,” said Peter cheerfully, “is that for each step you go down you have to climb one step up, because the Hundred-Man Cave is at about the same height as Kanangra.”
“No,” said George-the-leader in an equally cheerful voice, “You are wrong.” (My hopes soared.) “you have to walk two steps up because we have to cross Cloudmaker which is much higher than Kanangra.” (“Great,” I thought.)
Eventually we reached the bottom of Gabe's Gap and began climbing up again. Most of us sidled around Mt. Berry, but George-the-leader and Jan climbed onto it to “see the view”. As the rain continued to pour down on us, a few chronic pessimists began to worry that there might be no drinking water at the cave! At the foot of the climb onto Mt. Stormbreaker the rain stopped, so we stopped for lunch. A few minutes later the rain began again, so lunch lasted only about ten minutes. I was cold and wanted to get moving as soon as possible.
We continued climbing and I counted the peaks as we crossed them: Stormbreaker, Rip, Rack, Roar, and Rumble. On Rumble I asked George to confirm our position. “I don't know,” he said, “we could be on Rumble or Stormbreaker, but it's more likely to be Stormbreaker. It's very easy to overestimate how far you've walked in the rain.”
“Stormbreaker!*?!” I thought. “How can I climb five more peaks like that?” However I kept on walking and two minutes later we reached the top of Mt. Cloudmaker. After a quick rest and a check of the compass and map, we walked down the south-east ridge off Cloudmaker. Now, there was not much of track, evidently not many people go down to the Hundred-Man Cave. We walked down the ridge for about an hour until we reached a fairly flat area. Here we turned north-east, crossed a creek, and walked on through the trees.
After a while we came out of the trees and into scrub. Dad had been told to look for a line of trees which marked the edge of the plateau where the cave was. We found the trees and walked along the edge of the plateau until we found a small gully which led off it. The cliff at the edge of the plateau gradually became higher until we reached the Hundred-Man Cave.
It was huge…….and dry. The previous party had left dry wood and soon we had a fire blazing. Max had brought a saw, at which some people scoffed, but after he quickly supplied a huge wood supply they had to admit that it made life easier. We arrived at the cave at about three o'clock giving us plenty of time to set up camp. I was soaked to the skin, and so stripped off, put on dry clothes, and dried my wet clothes in front of the fire. We had our dinner early and then settled around the fire to nibble biscuits and talk. George-the-leader told us that we could sleep in the next morning because we would not need to make an early start. As I was getting into my sleeping bag I noticed stars. “Maybe tomorrow will be clear,” I thought hopefully.
Next morning I awoke to the sound of wood chopping, talking, and cooking. Sleepily I looked at my watch; 6.30 am?? What happened to sleeping in?! Most of the group were up, so I got up too. There was mist in the trees, but it wasn't raining. After breakfast the mist gradually rose above the trees and we could see a few mountains. A few times the sun even shone. We lazily packed our gear until George-the-leader announced that We Would be leaving in fifteen minutes. There was a frantic rush to finish packing and replace the wood supply.
It took only three-quarters of an hour to climb back to the top.of Cloudmaker. From here, although most of the view was still hidden by mist, we could see Kanangra Walls and a few other peaks. The walk back was mainly downhill and easy. The mist kept coming and going. Sometimes it was right over us and at other times it was clear. While we were crossing Rack we saw a red-bellied black snake. I was amazed at how small its head was compared with its thick body.
The walk down Gabe's Gap was even steeper than I remembered. At the bottom we found the leaders resting. They had decided we should have lunch on Mt. Berry because we were likely to find water there. The other side of Gabe's Gap was not too hard to climb.
There were indeed rock pools on Mt. Berry, which was good because there was now no water anywhere else. We had a leisurely lunch watching the mist come and go. The view from Mt. Berry was magnificent, Kanangra Walls, and the other side of Kanangra Chasm, with numerous waterfalls - Kanangra Falls, Dance Brook, Kalang Falls and so on, all flowing strongly after the rain. In the other direction was Mt. Colong. These views made up for the rain on Saturday. We filled our water bags and walked on.
The walk back to Kanangra was slow as people took time to look at and photograph the magnificent scenery. I hadn't seen any part of this section on the way out, only rain and the next tree ahead.
The climb up the crack to Kanangra Tops was slippery but luckily no longer a waterfall. On the tops we could see our whole route behind us. We bashed our way through the scrub while waving away the millions of pestering flies that live there. It was beginning to rain when we reached the cars, so we quickly changed clothes, dumped our packs into the boot, and said goodbyes before heading home.
Vicki Cheesman, Elaine Hutson, Lyn McDonald & Roger Browne
by Roger Browne
Saturday morning … a leisurely drive down … Saturday night at Thredbo Diggings, very pleasant … Sunday morning to Thredbo village … no snow for the downhill skiers … people … a band playing … foot races being held on the slalom course (now that's sad!)
Ride the chairlift walk with a thousand others along the giant cast iron footpath thoughtfully laid between Thredbo and Kosciusko by N.P.W.S. … sort of like Chairman Mao's Great March, but without the ideology … everyone stares at our snowshoes. “Hey, the tennis courts are booked out” someone yells, not realising that a hundred people have already said the same thing to us …
The footpath ends, so does the stream of yabbos … the slopes of Kosciusko have the only worthwhile snow in the area, and it's very good … there are dozens of people with cross-country skis making the most of it … we start to build our igloo, but the snow cover is thin and our blocks are small … after four or five rounds the igloo still isn't very high, and Vicki (the sensible one) says we should put up our tents … when we've done this it's almost sunset so we climb Kosciusko to catch the last of the sun … magnificent tufty clouds below us, backlit a bright orange and contrasted against silhouetted mountain ridges.
The sun sets so we toboggan down the mountain on a sheet of plastic … back to camp in our sheltered spot near Rawsons Pass … light a fire with the wood we carried from Thredbo … light our fireworks (seen also by the other dozen or so people camped around Lake Cootapatamba) … the fire runs out of wood, so we retreat to the tents at 7.30 pm … word games for half an hour before going to sleep … the highest people in Australia.
Monday morning … stunning sunrise … before eight the sun hits the tent and we emerge … a lone skier glides along the valley below, still in deep shadow … the other campers in sojourn atop the high range are still in their tents … we break camp … down the old road to Seaman's Hut … beautiful ice stalactites …
As we get lower, the snow thins … with snowshoes strapped to each side of our packs - butterfly-like - we walk back across grass, snow and ice … over the hill, we see the cast iron monstrosity again, and rejoin the hoi polloi for the home run … enter the restaurant atop Crackenback … no gluhwein available, but the fresh fruit salad is reasonably priced and very nice … back down the chairlift people are drinking … a band is playing …
The spa pool at Rudi's Lodge … the only way to end any snow trip … the receptionist disputes our booking at first but all is sorted out … refreshed, we start the return trip, tired and happy.
by Roger Browne
|12||Half-YearlY General Meeting.|
|19||Peter Christian - Coolana to Brisbane Water - Scenery and wildflowers - group shots - rock formations etc. Background music and sounds - 8 ft screen.|
|Dinner before this meeting at the Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant, 87 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest. Meet outside at 6.30 pm. Late arrivals ask for S.B.W. table. B.Y.O., cheap.|
|21||Friday, September 21st. The Bushwalkers Ball!!|
|Social Extra: The big bushwalker social event of the year - all Sydney bushwalking clubs join in and make it a fun event. There's lots of bush dancing, plenty of eating and drinking (bring your own food and drink). There are prizes for the best Club scene (last year the Ramblers won it for their outer-space mutant costumes). Nearly 70 S.B.W.s were there last year and all had a great time. Convenor: Gordon Lee. Tel. 741,824 (H)|
|Lane Cove Town Hall Longueville Road, Lane Cove.|
|$7 single - at door.|
|S.B.W. party arranged by Barbara Bruce, 546,6570 (H) or in Clubroom.|
|No need to bring a partner. Dress very casual!|
|26||Wine, Cheese & Nuts night. Bring labelled samples of cheese or nuts or bring some fruit juice. The Club supplies cask wine. Finalise plans for your holiday weekend trip.|
Southern Cross Equipment (see advertisement inside back cover) have moved from their previous Parramatta address to:-
28 Phillip Street,
Parramatta, N.S.W. 2150.
Low Cost Blue Mountains Holiday
Caravans are being offered for holiday hire in the upper Blue Mountains, by two bushwalkers. The vans are located on a secluded bushland site, very close to walking tracks of the Blue Mountains National Park.
|Two vans (7 m & 4 m) are available.||Large Van||Both Vans|
Enquiries: (047) 877,182.