A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 p.m. at the Wireless Institute Building, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Mrs. Marcia Shappert - telephone 30.2028.
|Editor||Neville Page, 14 Brucedale Av., Epping. Tel 86.3739.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford., Tel 871.1207.|
|Duplicator Operator||Owen Marks.|
|Canoeing to the Land of the Midnight Sun||Dot Butler||3|
|Federation Report||Len Newland||7|
|April General Meeting||Jim Brown||9|
|The S.B.W. India Trip||Marcia Shappert||12|
|Walks Notes||Len Newland||15|
|The Travels of Owen||Owen Marks||18|
Note: This issue of “the Sydney Bushwalker” includes as an insert the May 1976 issue of the Bushwalks of New South Wales Newsletter. If the response to this innovation is good we will continue it on a regular basis. that way you'll get two publications for the price of one. Please let the Editor know your reaction, whether pro or con.
Again the question of violation of landowners' rights has been raised in the Club. In this instance a group of walkers (not S.B.W.'s) have been accused:
(a) of having passed through private property in the Whiddon Valley without permission;
(b) of intruding on areas where prize animals (a number of bulls and some thoroughbreds) were paddocked; and
© following a dry route which the farmer regarded as hazardous.
It is all very well for us to say “Well, it wasn't our Club” or “We wouldn't do something like that”. The fact is, it can happen whenever a group of bushwalkers are unaware of the normal courtesies to be accorded landowners, or where they choose to ignore them. Perhaps now is an opportune time to air the subject once again. As was mentioned at our last General Meeting, many of the best bushwalking areas are accessible only through private property, and if we choose to ignore landowners' rights we will find ourselves excluded altogether from using these areas. When a leader knows that the route of his walk passes through private property he must ask permission of the owner to traverse it. Preferably permission should be obtained in advance, but if that is not possible it should be done on the spot. In either case leaders should call at the homestead to confirm that the group is passing through. Farmers quite often have good information to pass on regarding track conditions, river heights etc. And anyway, it's normal courtesy to say hullo; a courtesy which should never be broached. Don't assume that because an access route is classified a public road you can dispense with the procedure. Again it is a question of plain good 'manners. Tell the farmer how many are in your group and where you intend walking. Never interfere with fences, crops, or livestock. And never forget the golden rule about gates. Always leave a gate as you found it. If you pass through an open gate, leave it open; if you come to a closed gate, make sure you close it after you pass through. Breaches of this rule have led to more disputes with farmers than any other factor. If your party is strung out don't leave it for a later member to close the gate. If you open a gate make sure you close it. Leave the next person or group to do the same for themselves. It is hard to understand how such simple rules and common courtesies can be overlooked, but they Guard against it by observing the rules yourself, and by explaining them to newcomers.
by Dot Butler.
In June Rona rang me from California: “Get here by Tuesday and you'll be just in time to join us for a canoe trip to Alaska via the Canadian Yukon Territory.” “Right,” said I, “That gives me four days. I'll meet you at Los Angeles Airport.”
Rona had prepared food for the 4 week trip - nuts, dates, muesli, homemade wheatmeal bread, etc. Oh yes, and of course cheese! - the Pettigrew staple.
I tipped all my clothes out of my suitcase at Rona's house and we loaded in the food and my beaut new light-weight wicker-work suitcase accompanied us for the whole 500 miles, crouching down on the floor of the canoe. At the end of the trip it was a psychotic write-off.
Rona and I went north by train to Seattle where Jack joined us by plane, and with not too many minutes to spare we got aboard the de-luxe ferry liner for the cruise up the Alaska Marine Highway, the world's most beautiful waterway - from Seattle through Puget Sound with Vancouver Island out to sea, calling in at all the picturesque little sea towns on the Alaskan coast, in name and architecture all showing unmistakably that they once belonged to Russia - Ketchikan, the old Russian fur trading post of Wrangle, Sitka, Petersburg where the world's record king salmon was caught in nearby waters (l26 1/2 lbs.) and so to Skagway.
The Inside Passage is one of the few places in the world to which no tourist blurb can do justice - a fantastically beautiful string of bays, sounds and channels - almost completely sheltered from the ocean throughout its entire length. You cruise peacefully in a world all blue and green and white. Past snow-capped mountains rising thousands of feet straight from the water's edge. Past hundreds of tiny jewel-like islands. Past glaciers and tumbling waterfalls. Past hundreds of miles of primitive forested shoreline. Jack had booked us a deck cabin but we spent most of our time on the sun deck. It had three glassed-in sides and a glass roof but the fourth side was completely open. In this lovely hot-house atmosphere the distant snowy views looked particularly good.
Disembarking at Skagway we caught a little narrow-gauge train which follows the old gold mining Trail of '98, over Kicking Horse Pass to Whitehorse. En route we spent a couple of days at Bennett to savour the atmosphere of the Yukon and here I saw my first bear, which came to investigate our tent. Boy-O-Boy! I would have preferred him to have been a wombat!
At Whitehorse we met the other seven members of the party - three young couples and a youthful Canadian farmer called Ross who was to be my paddling partner, and a nice easy-going lad he was too. Ross and his father breed quarter-horses out on the prairie. We hired two tin canoes from the Mayor of Whitehorse to complete our flotilla, then down to the banks of the Lewes River (it's called the Yukon further on) where we stowed everything aboard and pushed off. The ice moves out towards the end of May. Sometimes it lingers on into mid-June. It had already been gone a month when we set forth, nevertheless the water was still cold.
For the first 12 miles the water speeds along at from 5 to 7 knots as the river widens out to some 600 ft. among scattered islands, then narrows as it runs between clay banks. We pulled in on a gravel bank where we had heard there were prehistoric remains, and Rona found a piece of mammoth tusk. The vegetation along the banks is poplars and spruce, with lodgepole pine on the higher terraces. Any area which had been previously burned over was purple with fireweed, the national flower of Alaska.
Yukon means “clear water”. In it grayling, whitefish and northern pike are abundant, and Jack and his brother Andrew kept us supplied with 2 ft. long fish which Rona cooked on a double griller on a bed of hot coals - yum-yum! Sometimes we had wild onions, and wild rhubarb too if we called in at any long-deserted trading post, derelict amongst its profusion of wild roses and bluebells. There were also assorted fungoid delicacies that were not lethal, and if you got there before the bears had ripped the bushes to bits, there were blueberries and raspberries. On the mud of the shore we saw traces of moose, and there are wolves, foxes and lynxes. Eagles, hawks, geese, ducks and a wide assortment of small birds inhabit the area.
After 12 miles the river spreads out to 5 miles width to become Lake Laberge. Not having been cautioned to hug the shoreline because wild winds can suddenly spring up, Ross and I blithely took a direct course through the middle of the lake and consequently were miles ahead of the others when we reached its northern end, 31 miles further on. We saw a beaut granite mountain above us so we swiftly beached the canoe and raced up it - I suppose its summit was a couple of thousand feet from lake level - it took us a couple of hours. Looking down from the top we saw the other canoes like tiny dots which hardly appeared to be moving in the vast expanse of lake.
We raced down the mountain, Ross being very impressed by this standard Bushwalker mode of progression, and reached the lakeside just as the first of our canoes was passing. The lake now became very shallow and we had much fun wending our way amongst the sand and gravel bars.
The next section is known as the Thirty Mile. This is perhaps the most unique and spectacular part of the Yukon River as it pursues a narrow winding channel only about 60 ft. wide enclosed by almost perpendicular bluffs up to 300 ft. in height. The water flow had not been very appreciable on the wide lake but now it increased to about 4 m.p.h., the illusion of speed being heightened by the proximity of the towering bluffs. The water is clear and clean, pale blue and turquoise as it flows over a rock and cobble bed. No rapids are encountered in this section but there is plenty of excitement. Where there are sunken rocks the water heaps up in mounds and riffles, and there are whirlpools and back currents to be dodged. You take the outer curves of the sharp S-bends and keep your fingers crossed.
In the high clay banks are thousands of swallows' nests. The birds were swooping over the water in the late afternoon, reducing the sandfly population by millions, Hurrah! In the matter of sandflies; we camped each night on an island; the flowing water kept the air moving and sand-flies don't like moving air, so we were free of them. But if we camped on the land we had to be inside our insect-proof tents at sundown or we would have been eaten alive. We soon had the system worked out to our satisfaction.
One day we saw a big tributary entering our river. This is the Teslin River and it brings with it at this time of year a lot of silt which suddenly turns the Yukon a grey-brown colour, but the additional water also makes for greater depth and velocity, and even without paddling we speeded up to 5 miles per hour. Both the Yukon and its tributaries clear towards the end of July. The river valley widens and is bordered by the Glassy Mountains, up to 2,000 ft. high. Later on two other tributaries entered - the Big Salmon and the Little Salmon. And speaking of salmon - fishermen are not allowed to catch them during the months of June/July when they are making upstream from the ocean to their spawning grounds. However an exception is made in the case of the original inhabitants - Indians (and presumably bears). So if you want to taste one you must first catch your Indian, which we did, and enjoyed the taste thrill of the century. The salmon you get out of tins is just hogs' food in comparison.
A spectacular sedimentary rock knob rises 700 ft. above the river not far from the Little Salmon River. This is known as Eagle Bluff, and it is not uncommon to see the Bald Eagle or the Golden Eagle circling above it high in the clear infinity of blue. It is rather ironical that the Bald Eagle, the national bird of the US., is now practically extinct there, although it is still to be found in the Canadian Yukon, and a persecuted remnant still exists in Alaska.
And now we came to our first big test - Five Finger Rapids, the first real rapids since we embarked. Here are four rock palisades or “flower pot islands” between which the river races in five fiercely flowing channels. You run the course through 2 ft. waves that are bordered on both sides by strong back eddies. And what a headlong ride it is, the great volume of water roaring through its narrow confines in a rushing orchestration of sound. Andrew's wife Evelyn, who (I have not yet told you) had her 12 months old infant with her, had forsaken the canoe a quarter of a mile back, preferring to walk and climb along the bank with Bindi in a back-carrier. Accordingly I took the second paddle in Andrew's canoe and we went first through the gorge, beset by billows and pressure-waves all white with foam, and us screaming with excitement. The rock walls were dotted with mud swallows' nests. Andrew must have a photo so, having shot the rapid, we precariously wangled the canoe upstream on a back eddy and while I clung to the rock Andrew took his photo - yellow baby bills sticking up out of the nest in anticipation of food. We beached the canoe with difficulty further down river and Evelyn took over again.
Further on is another bit of excitement at Rink Rapids. In the old Gold Mining days paddle-wheel steamers plied up and down the Yukon River. Rocks in these rapids hindered navigation and consequently they were blown up. There are old winch-houses still to be seen on the banks where they winched the steamers back up the rapids.
Through all this wilderness of water one comes across relics of past settlement - old paddle-wheel steamers and abandoned river barges decaying on the mud banks and backwaters, trails now used only by bears leading to log cabins decaying in the woods, old forts and churches and schools all deserted and derelict and the forest taking over again. Owing to the swiftness of the river, pulling in to land was always an excitement. Fort Selkirk was one place we pulled into. Here exists a one-room school house, with many of the old educational aids and equipment still in place. There is also a beautiful Catholic Church, and white and Indian cemetaries. The Indians used to build little spirit houses, complete with windows and doors, and in these they put those things which the departed specially valued, such as a special old teapot and white china cup and saucer, or a favourite article of clothing. In one was an old suitcase full of love letters which an Indian girl had written to her sweetheart who was away trapping animals for the fur trade. “You come back me soon,” she said time after time. When he came back she was no doubt already in her spirit house.
Opposite Fort Selkirk is a spectacular sheer cliff of columnar basalt, black, and rising 450 ft. to a poplar-covered plateau. The river banks are severely undercut but one need not try for an impossible landing on the bank - there are numerous well-treed islands for camping purposes. On one of these, Andrew and I decided to build a sauna bath. We made a fire and heated river pebbles, then made a bath-house around them of our tents and groundsheets. We filled all our available receptacles with water, then Andrew stripped off and tossed his clothes outside while I handed in the water buckets. Vast clouds of steam gushed forth through the tent flaps, and Andrew's voice nearly hysterical with excitement, yelling, “It works! It works!!” Soon everybody was inside boiling themselves to lobster hue. But the hard part came when we had to rush out and submerge in the icy Yukon, which looked colder still because of the white glacial silts which had been added to its water when the White River joined it, bringing its run-off from the Kluana Mt. Range.
We were now getting pretty close to the Arctic Circle, consequently, as it was mid-summer, the sun barely set before it was inching up above the horizon again. Jack and Andrew had some sort of romantic notion to paddle all night, so at 11 p.m. we were still floating on in an eerie twilight when suddenly descended a tremendous downpour. The interesting thing was that we could see the skirts of the rain-clouds sweeping across the sky from an enormous distance up, and could judge pretty accurately when we would paddle out of it. This rain flurrie became the late afternoon pattern for the next few days, and as it looked as though the weather gods were turning against us we were not sorry when at last Dawson City hove into view. The remainder of the river scenery till you reach the sea is flat and fairly uninteresting, so here we decided to terminate the trip.
We hoisted the canoes up to the Klondyke Highway for a mining company truck to take back to the Lord Mayor of Whitehorse with our compliments. Then, unencumbered, we set out for the next leg of our holiday touring by jeep through the National and State Parks of Alaska and Canada, which is another story.
by Len Newland.
The National Parks & Wildlife Service is considering submissions for buying particular blocks of land in Yadboro Flat, where land has been subdivided for sale. Prices reported to be $250,000, and include Byangee Walls environs, and south of the bridge.
Federation would like to see the widest circulation possible for the Newsletter. Almost unlimited number of copies are available to member clubs, so any S.B.W. member can obtain these, but Federation is intending to advertise the Newsletter at $3 per annum for others.
National Parks & Wildlife Service policy is to issue permits on an annual basis, mainly to record usage and to formally notify people of their obligations in National Parks. Specific time and place permits are not encouraged, although some Park Superintendents do favour these. In particular, the Blue Mountains Park Superintendent is one of these, and it would be best to contact the N.P.W.S. Blackheath Office prior to leading walks in this area. (Blue Mountains N.P. H/Q. Great Western Highway, Blackheath, or P.O. Box 43).
Federation donated $30 to the committee endeavouring to set up a national park here.
A S. & R. practice is to be held on July 17-18. Details later, or contact your S. & R. contacts.
Was a success, despite a shortened walks programme.
A fee of $10 is payable for entrants, which includes transport, refreshments, maps.
“Why I Go Walking” essay contest. Finishes 1st June. Prize $20. details refer February Federation Newsletter or see a delegate.
Box 553 P.O. Christchurch, Now Zealand.
We have a prompt mail order service to Australian customers - free postage on all orders. Below is a list of some of the gear we stock - Prices quoted in New Zealand dollars (NZ $1 = A $0.83). We prefer payment by bank draft in New Zealand currency.
|Typhoon Oilskin parkas - standard model||21.00|
|Typhoon Oilskin parkas - delux model||24.00|
|Cagoules, neoprene-coated nylon||18.40|
|Zip parkas, neoprene-coated nylon||23.00|
|Long woollen socks||4.50|
|Short woollen socks||2.75|
|Jumpers, 100% natural black greasy wool||20.00|
|Jumpers, pure wool, fair-isle patterns||19.00|
|Balaclavas, pure wool||2.40|
|Hats, pure wool, fair-isle patterns|
|Light woollen shirts, check patterns||9.50|
|Ranger, heavy wool shirts, check patterns||14.50|
|Mountaineer, heavy wool shirts, checks and tartans||17.00|
|Trousers, woollen tweed||14.50|
|Days sacs, from||15.00|
|K-2 double wall tents||94.00|
|K-2 special medium rucksacks||72.00|
|K-2 special large rucksacks||74.00|
|K-2 standard medium rucksacks||69.00|
|K-2 standard large rucksacks||70.00|
|K-2 Intermediate rucksacks||55.00|
|K-2 Junior rucksacks||42.00|
|K-2 Bivouac rucksacks||16.75|
|K-2 Aarn I climbing and ski-touring pack||58.50|
|K-2 Aarn II pack||51.00|
|Wintest nylon tents from||37.00|
|Fairydown Everest sleeping bags from||91.00|
|Everest Mummy sleeping bags from||86.00|
|Twenty Below sleeping bags from||72.00|
|Explorer sleeping bags from||58.23|
|Mountain Mule Rucksacks:|
|- Featherlite standard - large||58.00|
|- Heavy duty standard||61.00|
|- Heavy duty super||67.50|
|- Expedition standard||58.00|
|- Expedition super||63.50|
And much more - write for a price list (Address above).
by Jim Brown.
The April meeting came, as it chanced, only a couple of days ahead of Easter, so what with planning for holiday weekend trips, the meeting was rather late-ish getting going. The attendance at the start was only a little above 30, and the new team was in the official Chairs as two new members - Penny Thompson and Paul Seward - were welcomed.
Minutes of the Annual Meeting were confirmed and no matters arose. In Correspondence, apart from the usual magazines and bulletins, was a resignation from Federation Delegate and Equipment Hire by Stephen Harvey whose firm had transferred him to Melbourne: and a fairly lengthy statement from Frank Rigby about proposals for National Parks in the McDonnell Ranges. Frank sought Club support, and, in view of the amount of material in his letter, it was displayed on the Notice Board.
The Treasurer produced a monthly statement showing considerable intake in subscriptions but even heavier outgoings on portion of the Coolana rates, together with purchases of materials for the magazine, so that the working funds had fallen from $1189 to $1072. In the Federation bulletin we heard that $20 was being donated to a book dealing with South-Western Tasmania and further details being sought about the publication for advice to member clubs. There was word also of the projected sale by the present owner of the property at Yadboro Flat, and thought that portion might be acquired as a project under the Paddy Pallin Foundation. This gave rise to a motion that the Club strongly support any such Federation move to ensure continuity of access to the south-eastern part of the Morton Reserve - carried.
Walking activities for the month were reported by sundry leaders and participants under the general guidance of Len Newland. Of the Reunion itself the President quoted over 70 present, rather dull weather, but very favourable progress on hut construction. On the March 19-20-21 weekend two cars went on the Mt. Hay Road with Peter Miller and Peter Scandrett's exploratory walks: after all the rains, the trail is in poor shape for vehicles. Two day walks were made from the base, the Sunday trip being along Rocklily Ridge, where cliffs defied attempts to get down to the creek system. Bob Hodgson led the Saturday day walk out from Mountain Lagoon, with a party of 7 which reached the Colo, swam down some rapids and returned by another ridge. Owing to the leader travelling abroad, the programmed Sunday walk in the West Head area was cancelled, but Hans Beck had a reasonably strenuous trip from Faulconbridge down Glenbrook Creek, attended by 18. The member reporting said they did catch up to the leader at times. On that weekend David Rostron undertook a lilo trip from Six Foot Track to Breakfast Creek on Cox's River (a jaunt postponed from an earlier date).
On the following (March 26-28) weekend, following some bad weather, only four turned out for Neville Page's gold panning on the Capertee, while Wilf Hilder's projected Shoalhaven jaunt was cancelled and it was reported by John Redfern that a walk into the Grose Valley was substituted, attempts being made to locate another access route without success. Some 25 or 26 people went on Bill Hall's day walk but because of heavy seas the rock scramble along the coast was abandoned in favour of high level trails.
For the opening weekend of April, Christine Kirkby's Barrington plan was amended owing to doubts as to road conditions, and Evelyn Walker reported a trip to Splendour Rock in lieu. To provide a test walk in place of the Barrington escapade, Barry Wallace took a party from Kanangra over Cambage Spire and along a section of the Kowmung. There was a hut working party at Coolana which completed walls and flooring and Dot Butler advised that, when the fireplace had been finished, the place would be ready for Council inspection. The Sunday walk in Dharug Park was led by Ruth Woods, and about 12 people followed an old timber road which took them fairly directly to a ridge where there were good aboriginal rock carvings. Returning by a fire trail to the cars, the trip proved rather easier than expected.
The final weekend of the period under review was 9-11 April, Alastair Battye's trip being cancelled as he was still overseas. For Mount Solitary there was a party of six under Hans Beck: it was suggested the Sunday arrival back at Wentworth Falls about 2.0 p.m. created some sort of record. On the Sunday were two day walks, of which details were not available, save that Bill Hall had a very numerous crowd from Waterfall to Lilyvale (to Otford for 2 of the party), while Victor Lewin was reputed to have had 7 on the jaunt in the Blackheath trails.
The meeting -wound up about 9.15 after the usual announcements, the news of the recent passing of Foundation Member Jack Debert, and the urgings of the Walks Secretary to provide some attractions on the Winter Walks Programme.
It has been suggested that members may be interested in having dinner before going to Club meetings of a Wednesday evening. The venue for these pre-meeting dinner would change according to the wishes of those participating. If anyone is interested please contact PETER MILLER in the club.
Lightweight bushwalking and camping gear.
Now, the bushwalker can fully equip himself with the aid of Paddy's range of lightweight foods. Beef curry with rice; sweet and sour chicken with rice; chicken curry with rice; instant mashed potatoes; Surprise peas; Surprise peas and carrots; butter concentrate in tubes or 12oz tins; condensed milk in tubes; mixed vegetables; Kraft onions, Ovaltine energy tablets; freeze dried egg powder; Staminade; Kraft personal servings of jam, tomato sauce etc; army ration biscuits; farmhouse stew; savoury mince; beef curry; chicken curry; sweet and sour chicken; chicken supreme; 4 serve packet soups; Alliance beef steak stew; Alliance beef mince; Kendall mint cake or Kendall rum butter candy.
This 'shaped' Rucksack is excellent for children. Usefull day pack. Weight 14ozs.
A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1 1/2 1bs.
Has sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1 1/4 lbs. 3 pocket model 1 1/2 lbs.
Extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40 lbs of camp gear. Weight 2 1/4 lbs.
One, two or three man. From 2 1/2 to 3 3/4 lbs. Choice of three cloths. Supplied with nylon cords and overlapped doors. No walls.
Two, three or four man. From 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs. Choice of three cloths. Supplied with nylon cords and overlapped doors.
Everything for the bushwalker, from blankets and air mattresses, stretchers, boots, compasses, maps, books, stoves and lamps to cooking ware and freeze dried and dehydrated foods.
69 Liverpool St. Sydney - 26-2686 61-7215
by Marcia Shappert.
We arrived in Delhi in the late afternoon on December 22nd. Denise was met by a friend of a friend, who didn't raise an eyebrow when we said we were going to Sonny's Hotel. It was the only real tourist hotel we stayed in while in India (low class tourist). The girls shared a room and the fellows were in a dorm with about 8 other people. After all of us sharing one room, it seemed odd to be separated and we made arrangements with Sonny to all move the following day to a larger room with 7 beds.
Mr. Sing, Denise's friend, suggested a very nice Chinese restaurant for dinner. After all the Indian food we had been having, it was nice to have food we were familiar with. None of us had had very much to eat during the day, so we really enjoyed the meal.
After dinner we had a short stroll around Delhi and then back to Sonny's for the night. We had pushed two single beds together, and three of us slept across it. Denise was turning out to be a real night owl. Just about the time the rest of us were ready to flake out, she would come to life and suggest a game of cards. Usually, some one would join her. I'm a very light sleeper, so I would join in too. I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway. That night Wayne, Denise and I played euchre - until 1.00 a.m. The next morning Neil came in at 7.30, having gone to sleep early the night before. I didn't get one really good night's sleep for the whole month.
Delhi is similar to Washington D.C., with its pattern of concentric circles with a green ring of grass in the centre and radial roads running outwards from the centre in all directions. Actually it is two cities. New Delhi with its broad boulevards, parks, fountains, impressive government buildings and embassies, plus most of the modern hotels and restaurants, and Old Delhi with its historic landmarks, crowded streets, bazaars and peripatetic cows. Needless to say, Old Delhi is much more interesting.
We spent the morning doing all the necessary things, re-confirming our flight, changing money, etc., later re-grouping at the Red Fort. It was built in 1659 and must have been beautiful in its day, with solid gold ceilings and walls studded with valuable gems. At one time water flowed through the palace, but today the marble channels are dry.
It's quite a large place, and somehow I got separated from Wayne, who, because I didn't have any pockets in whatever I was wearing, had my money and the map. I wandered around for quite some time looking for him. Finally, I decided to wait at the entrance for him. I wasn't sure if he had already left, and I was wondering how I would get back to Sonny's with no money and absolutely no sense of direction, when he showed up. I was to have met the girls at Sonny's so we could go to Mr. Sing's home for tea. Later, hearing what a nice time they had had, I was very sorry to have missed it.
Wayne and I went to Chandni Chowk, a bazaar area in Old Delhi. This place was fascinating. Scenes from hundreds of years ago. We were the only Europeans around. Lots of women were wearing heavy veils over their faces. People were selling everything imaginable from very small booths. There were horse carts, trishaws, oxen, goats, cows and people everywhere. I couldn't believe that just a few miles away was New Delhi, with wide streets and tall buildings. I much preferred the old.
While in Delhi, Louise had a very interesting experience. She was walking down one of the main streets, eating a chocolate eclair, when a huge hawk swept down and grabbed it right out of her mouth!! She said later the hawk must have known she really shouldn't have been eating something so fattening.
While in Delhi we discovered a crafts fair which was very interesting. We got to see crafts from all over India. We all bought some interesting things. We spent Christmas Eve here. We had dinner at an outside cafe. It was pretty cold too. They also had a huge ferris wheel, which was one of the fastest I had ever been on. Some of the group saw a ferris wheel which used three men for power. They used some sort of pedal arrangement to make the wheel go around.
While at the fair, I did some Christmas shopping for the group. They all got a lovely key ring with their names on it for 2 Rs. each. Such a deal!!
From the fair, we went to a lovely outdoor cafe, all decorated with coloured lights. It really put me in the Christmas mood. Also, it was so darned cold, I felt like I was spending Christmas back in good ol' Wisconsin. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to Delhi and we made our way out to the airport, where we slept.
We were all ready for some sort of a snack by the time we reached the airport, but we found it very difficult even to russle up a cup of tea. For a big international airport, Delhi sure left a lot to be desired. We pushed some chairs together, got into sleeping bags and tried to get some sleep, not too successfully.
We were up about 4.30 the next morning, to get ready to check in at 5 for a 6 a.m. flight to Jaipur. We sleepily exchanged Christmas presents. Louise gave us each a lovely hand made card. Wayne bestowed on us each a necklace. Len, for some reason, didn't want to wear his, but the rest of us promptly put ours on. Neil and Wayne both said they wouldn't be caught dead wearing it in Australia, but India was different! Denise had given us all a balloon filled with rice tied on a stick. After carrying it around for quite a while, I tried to lose it, but it was always returned. Then I tried giving it away, but that didn't work either. I finally left it on the plane to Jaipur.
As far as I was concerned, Delhi is much the same as any other big city in the world and I was quite happy to leave and go on to Jaipur.
Jaipur is often referred to as the pink city in the desert. Many of its buildings are made of delicate flamingo-coloured local stone. The city is an example of foresighted planning. It was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh, who was determined that it should be the best-planned metropolis of its time. The streets, 110 ft. wide (to accommodate old-time elephant processions), were laid out to intersect at right angles, in the now familiar grid system; eight gateways were built in the surrounding city wall, 20 ft. high and eight ft. thick.
In Jaipur, we had our one really big splurge of the trip. We decided to stay at the Rambagh Palace, the home of the late Maharajah. After some of the places we had been staying in, this was a fairy tale come true. The room was huge, even with 4 beds in it, with a lounge suite to boot. There was a lovely breakfast room off this with its balcony overlooking the 25-acre park-like grounds. The bathroom was out of this world. It had a western toilet, which actually flushed, a huge bath with hot water, and the lights all worked. It was a bit much for us all at once. We all had at least two showers while there and caught up with some of our washing.
We took a bus tour of the city which went on and on. It's such a lovely city, but we were all so tired we really didn't appreciate it.
I went out just before sunset to get some pictures of the palace and ended up having my palm read. He knew some of the most uncanny things. It was really eerie. When I went back to our room and told everyone, Heather decided to have her palms read too. She was not as impressed as I was. It will be interesting to see if what he told me will come true.
We dressed in our saris and went to dinner. Wayne had fallen asleep on one of the beds. We tried to wake him, but to no avail. He missed our lovely Christmas dinner in the Maharajah's palace.
The next morning we had to be up at 4.30 a.m, again to catch our flight to Bombay at 6 a.m. Jaipur was such a lovely place and the palace (which cost us each only $7.50) was such a luxury, it was sad we could only be there one day. I guess that's the price we had to pay for trying to do so much in so little time.
By this time we had just about given up on meeting Steve Harvey. But we wondered where he was for the rest of the trip. After arriving back in Sydney, I phoned his room mate to find out what they had heard. He didn't know anything, except that Steve had left on schedule. He had not heard from Steve at all. We were left to wonder for a few more weeks until Steve actually arrived back in Sydney. It seems his flight to Singapore was delayed, thus making him miss his connection to Bangkok. He spent the next 11 days trying to get to India and in the end forgot about that part of his trip and went to Nepal, where he ran into Helen, Owen and Frank.
To be continued.
[Cartoon of man running from one end of tent while cow looks in other end. Two campers cooking breakfast - one says to the other…]
“I see Bob's finally up for breakfast.”
by Len Newland. (Phone 43,2419 (B))
Apparently some members had some difficulty in contacting me last month with regard to the winter walks programme, so I am now including my phone number in these notes.
The winter walks programme is now complete, but the spring walks programme is still open. So why wait until the last minute? If you can put a walk on the spring programme, then tell me about it now. The last-minute-rush approach has got whiskers on it.
In recent issues of the magazine, the walks notes have appeared mainly in the form of an abbreviated walks programme. There seems to me little point in this, so this month I have come up with a slightly different format. The question occurs, however, what do people really want to read in an article entitled “Walk Notes”? One suggestion I have heard is that it should highlight the test walks. What do you think? If you have any suggestions, I would be only too glad to hear from you. After all, it's your magazine.
|4, 5, 6||Carlon's Farm - Splendour Rook with Hans Beck.|
|4, 5, 6||Newnes - Wolgan River with Peter Miller.|
|6||Govett's Leap - Bluegum Forest with Victor Lewin.|
|11, 12, 13, 14||Bat's Camp - Yerranderie with Bob Younger.|
|27||Mt. Hay Road - The Fortress with Victor Lewin.|
|6||West Head - Hallett's Beach with Alastair Battye.|
|13||North Turramurra - Berowra with Mary Braithwaite.|
|11, 12, 13, 14||Budawangs Base Camp with Helen Gray.|
|13||Otford - Bola Heights with Ray Carter.|
|20||Waterfall - Heathcote with Meryl Watman.|
|20||Lilyvale - Burning Palms with Kath Brown.|
|18, 19, 20||Wine and cheese walk: Carlon's Farm - Goolara Peak with Barry Wallace.|
|25, 26, 27||Glen Davis area exploration with David Rostron.|
|26||Govett's Leap - Grand Canyon with John Fox.|
|Wednesday 16th. June.||The large number of train buffs in the Club will be pleased to hear that Len Newland will be showing some of his slides. If we're lucky we may even see some of those he took in India.|
|Wednesday 23rd. June.||Those who missed the last folk dancing evening will be sure not to miss this one, and those who were here before won't want to miss them again too. A very colourful evening is promised.|
|Wednesday 30th. June.||If you read Pat McBride's article in last month's magazine about his walking trip in Zululand, you'll want to be present on this occasion to see his slides.|
|Federation Ball||Make an early note in your diary that this year's Federation Ball will be on 17th. September.|
by Owen Marks.
….. This view is the best we saw. The entire western Himalayas with Dalaghiri at the centre. To our right was Annapurna 1, 2, 3 and behind us was Macchupuchare. We were sitting on a grassy knoll and forests were all beneath us. The valleys ahead looked wonderful (we had seen them in John Noble's slides, but we were refused trekking permits) and behind us were the foothills receding into the lakes and mists.
At the pass were camped. 20 Melbourne schoolteachers, their 40 porters and 6 sherpas. The equipment was mind boggling. Tents to seat them all in one sitting. Chairs. And all carried for weeks. I remember hearing once that after a 14-day trek, cans of lemonade were still coming.
The night was very cold, 10,000 ft and middle of winter. The lodge was full and everyone slept on the floor around a central fire. Being the leader, I slept in an adjoining room on a bed. That night I had more violent dreams that bordered on the insane. Imagine my surprise when Helen during her talks with the 20 Australians found they, too, suffered from hallucinary nightmares. We all assumed naturally that it was the altitude. Then Helen reported her vile dreams. Little did we realise what every self-respecting Nepali knows!
Up early next morning for our very big day. Along a knife ridge for an hour and then we walked down a narrow creek, all iced, and then a scramble down an ice waterfall. Frank was lost at this stage, so we had time to rest and poke into the undergrowth. Daphne bushes in flower and primulas growing on cliffs like buttons. The forest must be an incredible sight when the gigantic trees bloom. Lunch was near a shelter shed on a creek. By the way, there was no stone footpath like everywhere else. A narrow wombat parade that wound around and down. Along a cliff edge, down a gully, and all the time looking at the snow-capped mountains that were fast becoming cloudy.
We heard that bandits lurked in this area; the stories one hears! I fell to the rear when we had to climb to a wooded pass. I got slower and slower when all at once a Japanese mountaineer par excellence bounced down the track, dressed like Sherlock Holmes. His porter dressed as only sherpas dress, was following. behind. Then they were gone. More hallucinations? No, Helen and Frank saw them too.
I caught the other two up and soon we all climbed up to the saddle. The trees were completely covered in moss. We were in a green world; Frank went beserk with the camera. I charged up the pass and in amongst the trees two wild men appeared sitting down with long knives. My God, Bandits! Not stopping I raced down the track and waited for the others. Helen thought they were bandits, too, but finally when Frank and the porters came along it turned out that they were bamboocutters who climb at least 3000 ft to the clumps.
Down and down through the mists and soon out into the uncultivated rice paddies bathed by the weak sun and then more downhill until Gandrung, a stone village underneath Annapurna and on a precipice, appeared. After an effort we found the resting house Annapurna Lodge. The view from the verandah was of a deep valley going left to the base of Annapurna 1 (or was it 2?), in front was a 3000ft ravine with another village just in front of us - 1/2 mile away yet it would take all day to reach it, and to our right the valley disappeared into misty bottomless depths.
Here the porters reacted strongly to them having to go into snow country without any clothes and they decided to go home. We didn't care either. I gave them all the clothes that I would not be needing. Next morning they were gone. The owner of the lodge gave us breakfast in bed. (T'was no hardship. The beds were at one end of the room, tables in the middle and the kitchen at the other end.) A day at leisure. Walking out to the cliff edges and looking at Annapurna. Helen and Frank were photographing miles away, and here I had a wash. I hadn't washed for two weeks since Benares. The washing place was in full view of the lodge and all the girls sat and watched. I washed ALL over. I didn't care. Here too I washed my sox and had to walk around in my boots soxless.
In the late afternoon Helen returned saying that Frank was lost. I replied “How about a nice cup of tea?” So the rest of the daylight hours were spent in gazing into space and wondering what time Frank would arrive. That evening after he turned up we talked of our plans. No, they were not going up to base camp. They would go and do more photographing. I then decided to move off by myself. Mutiny and it was me.
Next morning a fond farewell and I was off down this awe-inspiring stone and marble staircase, down like a Roman road to a bridge on the valley floor. The heat was unbearable, and I had to take my pants off again. Up for 5 hours until I came to a stone footway running along the length of the mountain and here again I met another Japanese family (they are like God - just everywhere) who gave me hot cups of tea, as their porters were heavily laden and carried thermos flasks. Behind me were the snowy peaks, on my right rice terraces that cascade down until they disappear over the cliffs just above the river way below; ahead of me was Chandrakot where we had spent our second night.
The sun was setting but I decided to walk to Lumle 2 miles further on. I passed a Tibetan Chief sitting on his mule and all his family riding in single file, followed by 15 to 20 porters, and they camped not far from the village. They all slept on rugs huddled against a stone wall with horse and mules amongst them.
At Lumle were a hippie American couple on drugs, who meditated in funny yoga positions and chanted whilst I was trying to sleep. A Belgian couple were there and they were talking non-stop about their travels in India, and I raved on about the horrors of Bangladesh.
Next morning I raced up the hill to see the view but by 9 a.m. it is already obscured. And so on my last day I walked back the way we had come. Noticed a few lunatics sitting on fences and goitered ladies. Must be some deficiencies in the local tucker. For 2 hours I was accompanied by a group of school kids whose one ambition was to steal the string that was holding my rucksack in place. Their other hobby was throwing stones with deadly accuracy at every dog in sight. At sunset I was on a hill overlooking Lake Pokhara, and so raced madly down the hill and in the gloom found the Travellers Rest. Never go there!
Next morning I was on a plane heading for Katmandu. I got on the correct side and saw the Himalayas pass me by. Back to my beloved Katmandu and the long wait for Helen and Frank.
I met a real knowledgable Yankee couple and they told me that when they were in the same area they couldn't get anyone to take them through the forests. It seems as though they are frightened of having to sleep out and you can be driven insane by the rhodadendrons!!! It's not my story, but if you have them growing all around you here in Sydney or at Bilpin, I'd keep an eye on them. Well it is quite possible that there could be something in plants that cause hallucination; anyway Helen and I stopped getting them when we arrived back in Katmandu. Frank never had anything, as he never dreams anyway.
Such was our trip. And my ambition; Yes, I have climbed the foothills at the base of Annapurna. Another near achievement. In fact, that has given me an idea to write about in future magazines, as I have nearly achieved many goals.
If any reader has a desire to wander around the lower Himalayas you need take nothing more than you would for a weekend trip here in Australia. In fact you can do without food, utensils and sleeping bag. And all that for less than $1 daily. Getting a permit takes a day or so in Katmandu and costs 5 cents, but beware of public holidays, Kings birthdays, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince's eldest son's firstborn, etc. We struck one on our last day. It was the anniversary of the death of the previous King's astrologer! It sounds funny, I know, but it really is so. Thus ends the Nepal part of our trip. Hooroo all.
Deadline for material for next month's magazine is Wednesday 9th. June. Special features already in hand include: More Travels of Owen; An Epic by Don Matthews; News from Gordon Lee; More from the S.B.W. India Trip.
Don't miss it!