Feeling a bit hemmed in by life so I thought a little bit of Tidbinbilla magic might help. It did! A few new caches along the lovely foot pad up to Gibraltar Peak. Cool when I started but the gloves would come in handy a bit later. All up, roughly a 6.5 km walk with a bit of altitude change. Out of my comfort zone clambering about on some of the rocky outcrops but I'm glad I made the effort.
After a serious bout of gastro that hit me for six, I was finally ridding myself of its last remmenants. It had really weakened for me for well over a week. A few recent better walks and I thought I was ready for a bit of Namadgi niceness. About an hours drive, with the last 10k being a bit treacherous with so many suicidal wallabies. The parking lot had quite a few cars but I would not see anyone for quite a while. With my 10kg lighter svelde figure, it was still a tough slog on the way up. Vest came off quite early. The serenity was interupted a few times by planes flying quite low on their way to Canberra airport. Once I was at the top, the views were slightly spoiled by a haze and with the wind, the vest was soon back on. I needed to gather some information for a nearby geocache so this was soon sorted and then I met my first other humans for the day. I then needed to spear off for approx 150m metres into quite dense bush. Equipped with gaiters and an EPIRB, I feel reasonably confident that I am in no danger. A clamber up a Tor and I find myself the geocache. There is a much better route to rejoin the trail and I am soon on my way down, listening to my knees squeak and groan with the effort.
Once back near the car, I am tempted by another cache but a river will need to be crossed. There is a bridge but it adds quite a few K to the journey. Still, it is a good option so I take it but by the time I near my destination, I am resolved to head toward my car in a straight direction on the return journey. Cache found and as I gaze toward toward where my car is parked, I see lots of bull rushes and other symptons of a bog. But I am knackered so the choice is clear. I then come across a black snake and we eye one another off but it is a good reminder for me that I am in his territory.
I stumble on , the ground is boggy underfoot and there is much water. I wonder how deep the river will be when I get to it or is it in fact been spread so thinly through the marsh? I am relieved to find out the river, when it does appear is about calf deep. I barge in with my goretex boots and goretex gaiters but the water is cold but I am sooooo happy to have saved over an hours walking time. One more cache at my crossing point then back to the car and the drive home. Very proud of my efforts and I will sleep well tonight.
Some times, you just have to listen. Had woken up early and been for a nice walk around parts of the Lake and the city centre. But my soul was restless and said "Excuse me, would you mind taking me to a river?" Well, what can one do? Thought I would go for a walk for a geocache at one of Canberra's favourite get away spots, the Cotter.
A nice easy drive but I found that the GPS was missing certain information, so I had to drive back part of the way until I had phone reception. Well done River, it was doing all the right stuff! Gurgling away peacefully in some spots, looking serene and pond-like in others. And I didn't walk through a single spider web which had to be a first.
Another epic adventure but looking at this blog, the first in a long time. 2 new Geocaches hidden in Tidbinbilla requiring a bit of a hike to reach. No "First to Finds" as yet but adding to the pressure, one of the caches has my caching nom de plume in the title which sort of adds to the pressure to be the first finder.
My caching buddy and elder statesman of the caching world (and fellow COMCAR driver) Warren was keen for the attempt and we both were free of driving commitments on the Friday. And of course Friday dawns, and it is the first rainy day in eons (the cache listing warns of how treacherous these could be if wet). A bit of dampness wasn't going to put us off so we left Canberra at 9:00 am. It wasn't consistent rain but the wipers did get a good workout as we drove. One brave Emu blocking the road near the Cotter but we soon got by that.
The first 3.65 km of the walk is on a established fire trail, first half being reasonably flat with a slight incline before the serious climb starts. Jackets were on and off as the rain came and went. Visibility was pretty poor but luckily that meant we couldn't actually see the Mountain we were about to climb. We got to the end of the fire trail, found a trailer left by the workers who are establishing the new footpad/track to our destination.
That must be hard work building a trail in such a remote area. I would hazard a guess that they are only 20% complete. They have focused on the start with a bit of chain saw use and they will probably rearrange some of the rocks to form stairs in some of the tricky spots. After the really steep ascent, the trail is only marked by ribbons hanging from trees and in the fog/low cloud bad visibility, we had troubles spotting the next ribbon in places. Very slow going.
Once we got to the plateau at the top, visibility was down to about 10-20 metres. At least I was wearing fluorescent green, when Warren wasn't wearing his South Sydney jacket, he just merged into the shrubbery. Finally got to the top of Mt Domain, pictures taking at the cairn and then off to find the cache which involved slithering over cliffs. Log books signed and then off to the next , only some 450 metres away !
Ribbons were hard to spot here but we knew where we had to be heading and just tried to follow the easiest way. The weather by now had cleared but the ground was still slippery. We clambered down to make the next find and on the way back, Warren gave a tree branch a severe beating with his forehead so the branch will not forget that in a hurry. For good measure, Warren left alot of his blood there as well. It was round about this time that we realised we were running out of time as the Tidbinbilla gates close at 6:00 pm and we had a long way to go , even though downhill but our legs were tired and the ground was slippery. I had a good fall and hurt my wrist and that was on a flattish part. In the better light, the ribbons were much easier to spot so we did make good time. However the steep descent was treacherous. Many a severe cussing was to be heard but it was great to get back to the fire trail.
As we walked down the trail, we looked to our left and saw this mountain dominating our skyline . We thought that couldn't possible be the one we had scaled but checking maps later, it certainly was. Wow, well done youse blokes. Got to the car and drove out the gates with 20 minutes to spare. A few close calls with skippys kept me on my toes on the drive home. Thanks Warren for the company, wouldn't have done it without you. Thanks Dave for hiding the caches and thanks knees for not giving out on me yesterday.
I have walked around here a number of times, it really is a beautiful bit of country with no bush-bashing of any type required. I had been here last week, looking for a cache that I had forgotten to load the coordinates for. Interestingly enough, the first place I looked last week was the right place to look. I digress, I first explored the Waterholes area of the Orroral Valley picnic area. A lovely babbling brook means the serenity values are very high. However, proximity rules means I couldn't plant a cache as originally planned.
The tor at the centre of today's walk is extremely scenic. The only downer is that this area appears to be a place where Kangeroos come to die and as a result, it is a trifle pongy. Lots of boulders to explore, birds of prey hovering in the thermals. And yes, there was a jogger!
Had been in the vicinity not that long ago. I have walked the first part of the trail a number of times but I never gone to the end to the actual Nursery Swamp. It isn't a hard walk, despite the first 2k being basically uphill (the first 300m are probably the worst). Fake Spring is well and truly here. The sounds while I walked were magic, I could hear a burbling brook, birds were flitting about whistling happy tunes as they went about their way. At one stage somewhere, not too far away, there was a massive crashing sound as a tree came tumbling down.
After the first 2ks, the path becomes gently undulating with a few bridges but lots of wooden planks crossing the more swampy parts. The return walk is just over 9km and along the way, there are a few benches where one can rest and just soak up the serenity. At the end of the walk, there is a information sign that tells you about the ecosystem that masquerades as a bog. Whilst I walked, I passed 2 other couples enjoying the beaut day. There was one uncomfortable moment when a wild dog/dingo howled close by.
Promised myself a reset this weekend and as Spring was very much trying to pretend it was just around the corner, I thought a bit of altitude would help. 3 Caches in a very pleasant loop. Much of the steep climbing was earlier in the loop and there was plenty of catching of breath. The fire trail loops just under Gibraltar Peak and aside from the odd sound of car on the Corin Dam road below, the serenity was full bore. I think I solved just about every problem facing mankind. Found a very tame Wallaby who allowed me to get quite close. Knees were a little twingy toward the end of the 6.7 km hike.
Canberra's long winter continues. There was a new cache in deepest darkest Namadgi which had no finders....yet. A call was put out for volunteers for an expedition but he had appointments on the Wednesday....which really turned out for the best as Wednesday was the worst wintery day of the year. This Thursday had clear skies, no wind but still low temperatures. We left Wanniassa around 9:00 am for the drive to Orroral Valley.
We left the car around half an hour later. There is a good walking trail for the first part of the journey, with a steady climb through another pretty narrow valley. Stories swapped, another cache nabbed and then it was time to leave the marked trail and to find another sort of marked trail (pink ribbons/blue paint). A few marshy spots needed to be walked around (though on the return journey when legs were tired - we just splashed straight through). Had to keep our wits about us as it was easy to lose the trail if too busy nattering.
Eventually reached the saddle between the 2 creeks where the new cache was hidden. Yay us, first mission accomplished. We then proceed further West, down to Rendezvous Ck and a further 2 caches. The Rendezvous Cascades cache was the jewel in the crown. What a beautiful spot. The sad thing was it was 40 metres off the track we had found so we left backpacks for the push through so the good camera didn't make it to the beautiful vista of the creek tumbling through. Gorgeous ! But we still had some 7km plus to go to get back to car.
Bit slow going back up the saddle but we knew when we got to the top, it was basically going to be level going or downhill most of the way back and that helps the mental games that one plays when the body becomes a bit less willing. Yep swampy bits were marched through and it was good to get back to the car. The old yellow plane that flies around Tharwa we noted was sitting upside down in a paddock. Emergency Services were enroute. A fantastic day, thanks Warren for the company, would have been much less enjoyable by myself
The blokette had bought a Ford Ranger from the dealer in Wangaratta and required a lift to pick it up. Set sail early on Friday, hit the usual winter's fog around Jugiong, coffee at Gundagai and hit Wangaratta after 12 with 2 very full bladders. There was a mad search for some public loos then I dropped Michael at the dealers and headed off to Beechworth. A couple of caches along the way before arriving at my digs at Beechworth. A counter lunch at one of the local pubs and the most disgusting Lasagna of my life, leaving a very bad taste in my mouth. Yuck, time for a stroll! Beechworth is really a very pretty town. Lots of very old buildings going back to the Gold rush. Very much Ned Kelly country with lots of his history being on display (he was tried in Beechworth after his capture at Glenrowan). I think Beechworth is worth a re-visit........but maybe in a warmer month, it was very cold and I had to resort to the leccy blanket.
I kick myself for ignoring the intelligence I gathered from the Tourist Information Centre. It showed that the Rail-Trail from Beechworth to Everton (my proposed turn-around spot) was basically down-hill. Why oh smegging why didn't I drive to Everton so the first part of my journey would be uphill? So, when I set off in the freezing temps in the morning, I wasn't pedaling to keep warm, just free-wheeling down the friggen long hill. Caching on the outward bound journey wasn't particularly fruitful. A quick pep-talk from a caching buddy (Hi Sol) and the return journey caching wise was much more fruitful. BUT that hill ! I was absolutely stuffed by the time I got back to Beechworth. The actual journey was about 33km and I have pedalled further than that on many occassions but I haven't done a consistent 16k up hill before. I grabbed some pies from the famous Beechworth bakery and had a very early night.
Bushwalking & Geocaching a match made in heaven.