Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms, “Northcote Building” Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No 276 G.P.O. Sydney. Phone JW1462.
303 MARCH 1960 Price 1/-
|Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514
|Sales & Subs.
|Direction Finding - Pisces
|At Our February Meeting - Alex Colley
|Easter Trip 1960 - Warrumbungle Ranges - David Ingram
|Yosemite Valley - Keith Renwick
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service (Advertisement)
|The New Zealand Expedition '59-60 - R.A. Duncan
|Sanitarium Health Food Advertisement
|Annual Swimming Carnival 1960 - Brian Harvey
|Kowmung Capers - Carl Doherty
A commonly used and trusted method of finding north is by using the sun and a watch. Long ago as a prospective member at an instructional weekend I remember tutor explaining to us that we should hold the watch horizontally and turn it so that the hour hand points towards the sun. If you then take the line halfway between the hour hand and the 12, it runs north to south. At the time I disagreed with the instructor as to whether this would work, thus incurring his displeasure. I have since seen this same information in books. The trouble is it doesn't work, try it yourself.
Recently I discovered why. This system was designed far residents of the northern hemisphere. Southerners should point the 12 towards the sun and find north half-way between it and the hour hand. There are times and places when this method will be correct, but at other times this system can be as much as 24 degrees IN ERROR.
The only times when this system gives true north is at sunrise and sunset on March 21st and September 23rd, and on any day at noon provided that your watch is running on accurate LOCAL time.
At Our February Meeting
After the reading of the minutes, we were pleased to hear from Edna Garrad that the North Sydney Council Hall had been booked for a dance on June 24th and for the Christmas Party on December 9th, and that approval had been given to continue both entertainments till 1 a m.
In correspondence was a letter from Jim Hooper asking what had happened to our Chronic Opera Company. Why no operas? In reply, Jim brown said the discontinuance had been deliberate. Operas had become harder to arrange and the audience more critical. It had been said that the presentation of operas at reunions was taking away the need for other people to put on entertainment, so it was decided not to produce one for the last reunion. The success of last year's reunion justified this action. Jim assured the meeting that Chronic Opera would shine before the footlights again when occasion justified.
The Treasurer's report, showing a balance of 25.10. 3 after paying deposits of 15. 6. 6 on the North Sydney Hall - and income for the month of 6. 6 - revealed some tightness in the cash position.
The Social Secretary reminded us of the members' slide night on March 30th and appealed to members to put their names on their boxes of slides.
In his walks report, the Walks Secretary told us that 32 members and 38 children, including two two-year old nudists, had enjoyed the children's Christmas Treat near Waterfall. Brian Harvey's boat cruise had attracted 8 members and one prospective, and everyone had had a wonderful time at the Rudolph Cup Regatta. All in all more motoring and boating than walking, but one party had been down the Cox, and had poured half a bottle of rum into its waters. Whether this had contributed to State Cabinet's indecision on a certain appointment, our Walks Secretary did not say.
Federation Report initiated a discussion on an accident fund. Federation had rejected the Robinson and Mitchell Insurance scheme, but had discussed the creation of a Federation fund, to be raised by a levy from members, and paid out to deserving cases by the trustees of the fund. Arbitrators were to be appointed to decide to whom and how much.
Wilf Hilder was afraid that, secure in the knowledge that Federation would pay, people might get helicopter's when they didn't really need them. Frank Ashdown envisaged the difficulty of several claims at once and not enough cash to meet them. Ron Knightley said that one of the main difficulties in getting a policy was the lack of previous history. There might be expenses outside of transport - e g. track cutting - would these be covered? Brian Harvey told us that there had been only one quotation for an insurance policy. This would have cost us 60, or 1/6d. a head and would cover only bushwalking, which was difficult to define. What happened when someone was injured rock-climbing, caving, or even in the Rudolph Cup? These activities would not be covered in the policy. A policy to cover them would probably cost L1 a head. With the proposed fund, however, Federation would be guaranteeing to pay 500 out of a fund it didn't have. Colin Putt said that this was not the idea of the fund. It was to reserve against contingencies, which could accrue at a suitable rate, to be used as and when needed, and collecting could stop when the fund was large enough. Jack Wren said we were all scared about something that might never happen. He thought that people should cover themselves up to L50. But surely bushwalkers could afford a levy of, say, 10/- every few years, if necessary, instead of collecting 1/6d. a time. Bill Burke supported Jack Wren's proposal. He thought we would have no trouble getting the money. Kath Brown thought that people going to hazardous places should take out a special policy. The accident might be caused by behaviour which we didn't approve. Frank Young pointed out that all would have to pay, and at least one affiliated Club, the W.E.A., which only did day walks, didn't want to be in it. John White foresaw all sorts of troubles arising from the complication of the scheme and difficulties of definition. Bob Binks thought that if there was a lower limit, it should be 25, not 50, and Jim Brown foresaw that, if the money were required quickly it could mean 100 from Club funds in one payment. Bob Duncan thought it was unrealistic to expect everyone to pay 10/-, and the person for whom the levy was made could reasonably be embarrassed.
From the debate there emerged a motion that the Club was in favour of Federation continuing its investigations. Second motion was carried asking the Federation also to consider the alternative of raising a fund, to be subscribed voluntarily, as and when necessary.
Next we appointed a reunion sub-committee consisting of Edna Stretton (transport organiser), Kevin Dean, Colin Putt, Ern French, Don Matthews, John White, Bill Ketas and Eileen Taylor. Colin was appointed convenor.
Room stewards for the month were Len Young, Brian Harvey, Bill Ketas and Alex Colley. A motion for the purchase of a slide viewer was lost, and the meeting ended with the good news from the Treasurer that our rent for the next month was in hand.
The Weight of the Years
If the retiring Committee has lacked in anything, they certainly have not been lacking in bushwalking experience. Looking around the bald heads, greying hair, middle-age spreads I made an assessment of their walking years, which all rolled up into one figure, gave the astounding total of 217 years. And then I was on the Conservative side - making a little allowance for the hod being perhaps a little older than he or she would like it to be known. There average age was - no, I won't say it. Perhaps the move to the new Clubrooms last April warranted the guiding hand of wisdom, but now that we are well settled in I hope a new era of walkers will take over the reins, with the older bods riding in the back seat of the buggy always there to give a word of advice or crack the whip if necessary!
On the 23rd March Palmer Kent will be talking to us about Japan, As previously mentioned in this magazine, Palmer was in Japan during the typhoon last year and was previously in Japan in 1932, when he did a walking trip, staying in out-of-the-way inns, etc. He is an excellent lecturer as we know from past experience and this should be a very entertaining night.
March 30th is Members' Slide night and this is the opportunity for members to show a limit of 20 slides each. Will you please hand your slide to Pam Baker (with names on the boxes so that it is easy to return them) before 8 p m.
Easter Trip 1960 Warrumbungle Ranges
In his book The Face of Australia Charles F Laseron says :“Similar in many ways to the Glass House Mountains are the Warrumbungle Ranges and the Nandewar Range in north central N.S.W. Both are prominent features in the present topography.
From a distance they appear as a number of isolated peaks. On approach more and more are seen above the horizon, until at last all are merged into a rugged mass of mountains rising from 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the general level of the country. The jagged skyline of the mountains is clean cut in the clear inland air rising in conical peaks or standing out as vertical needle like monoliths above the grey green of the wooded heights. Here and there are the lines of deep 'gorges “penetrating he mountains right to the centre.
The Warrumbungle peaks are the remnants of true volcanoes. It is hard to say. just why eruptions on each a scale should have occurred in this particular region. The underlying rocks here are sandstones laid down in a gigantic lake which filled the centre of Australia 150 million years ago. The sandstones have lain virtually undisturbed ever since, and beyond a slight uplift there have been no major disturbances of the earth's crust.
It is not known how many individual volcanoes there were. There must have been many large as well as innumerable smaller centres eruption. The main craters have long since disappeared, but everywhere is the evidence that they once existed. The evidence is mainly the solid vertical cores. of lava which had solidified within the vents and now remain after much of the overlying' and surrounding beds of ash have disappeared. All traces of the original craters have gone, much of the volcanic ash has been washed away, and only the hard plugs of lava originally filling the vents remain as vertical pillars towering high into the
Most of the higher peal, are composed of such pillars or are capped by the remnants of the harder lava-flows. Two of them, Lobara and High Peak, are each 4,000 feet high, and stand like sentinals on either side of the gorge in which the infant stream of the Castlereagh first sees the light. About seven miles to the west of these is the highest point of all, Mt. Wambelong, 4,200 feet, but the more spectacular is The Needle, 3,900 feet, a giant monolith, its topmost thousand feet a nearly vertical rock.”
The usual time to visit this range is during the August school holidays. But there are some members who cannot get away at that time. Easter is late in the season this year and this presents an opportunity to visit this area without experiencing extremes of temperature. (Possible daytime maximum 80 degrees with minimum around 50 degrees.)
For some years Frank Leyden took Easter trips into this area approaching from Gulargambone to the west of the ranges. The present approach will be from Coonabarabran, where improved train services and a good selection of public hire vehicles will, it is hoped, ensure prompt arrival right in the ranges. The walking is not generally as strenuous as in the “Big Blue Handy Mountains”. It will be necessary to average about 15 miles daily, but a base camp is proposed at Camp Pincham and one day's walking will be with light packs only.
Coonabarabran is 315 miles north-west by rail and the train usually leaves Central at 10.0 pm. due at Coonabarabran at Noon the following day. The fare will be just over L5.O.0 return, unless party concession rates can be obtained. Taxi fares from and back to Coonabarabran should cost about L1 each. The return train leaves Coonabarabran at 4,35 pm. on Easter Monday due Sydney at about 5.30 a m. the following day.
So now you have most of the essential details. Interested? Then come along.
Situated inland from the South-west coastline of U.S.A. is a range of mountains called the Sierra Nevada. In this range, south east of San Francisco, is a very spectacular granite gorge known as Yosemite Valley, which is one of the U.S.A's most popular National Parks.
The drive from San Francisco to Merced township is through a wide, fiat, dusty valley which is irrigated with water from the mountains and which is the centre of a very large fruit industry, Near Merced is a big airforce base, and every so often one of those really big 8 jet bombers would come in low over the bus station on their way in to land. They sure look impressive things in flight. They have two enormous bogies with at least 8 wheels on each mounted underneath. One came in about every quarter of an hour.
At Merced you change from the Greyhound bus lines to another line which runs into the valley, about 90 miles east by road. You are climbing all the way, for the valley floor is at 4,000 feet, up a narrow river gorge, which has reddish soil and sparsely scattered scrubby bush giving it much of the appearance of a lot of the country in Australia. There are also very many Eucalyptus trees, which were introduced from here in the gold rush days of last century and have since spread all over California. We passed the entrance of some of the mines which are still working.
We entered the valley proper just at sunset and stopped by a very beautiful still lake in the river which reflected the red tinged granite mails to perfection. After a brief visit to the Ranger's Office, I returned to the camping ground to set up camp before the darkness fully set in, There are two sorts of people who come to Yosemite Valley. Those who want to see the bears - they stay at the Lodge, and those who are trying to get away from them. They stay in the camping ground! When I arrived at the camping ground there were a few others there, including 3 bears. Mumma bear and two little baby bears. These were, however, 2 years old and just about fully grown.. They are 3 to 4 feet high when standing on all fours and covered with plenty of dark reddish brown to black hair.
They usually feed in the evening but, contrary to popular belief, the staple diet of bears is not tourists. However, they are not above collecting a few souvenirs now and then, when the tourists offer themselves. Their main diet consists of berries and fish, but they hang around the camping grounds for what they can scrounge from the garbage bins or somebody's food supply when they are not looking. It is now against the law to feed the animals (bears and deer mainly) because they come to depend on tourists and starve when the tourists aren't there to feed them. Also, the bears get a little obstreperous when people stop feeding them - gosh, it takes a lot to fill a bear - this has been when most all of the accidents have occurred.
They don't normally bother people but come around to see what food they can get; so that the important thing is to keep food out of your tent altogether and string it up a tree when not in use. So this I did in a large plastic bag. It was suspended a foot or two below the branch, and about 12 or 15 feet above the ground. Also, you put it a long way out on a branch away from the trunk because bears can climb trees. The standard method of chasing them away is to bang on a billy with a spoon or in some other may make a lot of noise.
Right. I put my tent up and then one of the “baby” bears came around, so I banged furiously on a couple_ of tins. Off shot “baby” and all is serene. Then up comes “baby” number two, so I repeated the procedure with similar success. Peace at last - for a few minutes. Oh,. oh, here comes mumma, so through the old routine again. But ma was a real square. She wasn't hep like the kids and didn't dig this crazy tune was banging out. She objected most violently by growling and spitting and took off like a rocket, running very fast but towards me. What did I do - well, I just made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight out on end. To run would have been fatal - they say - but she fortunately changed her mind about 8 or 10 ft. away and veered off. Just before I changed my mind about running! She was only about 20 feet away when she started.
I then went down to the Lodge cafeteria for dinner. During the night the bears were around again and tripped over the tent guy ropes a couple of times. Then early in the morning I found myself suddenly wide awake. This has happened before when something is about to happen, e g.: when the bull elk came round the hut at Lake Louise to dispute territorial rights. This time I lay listening for some time, but the only sound was a rustling noise off in the distance as the bears wandered among the Autumn leaves. It was obvious from the steady increase in volume that they were headed this way and I lay wondering what they were up to this time. They weren't interested in the tent - no food there - but were around the tree nearby where my food was, very excited indeed. I don't know quite how they did it but presently there was a large plop and clatter, followed by very excited squeals, grunts and growls.
From all the excitement that was going on, I didn't feel disposed to disputing the claim and in the morning I was 4lb. apples, 21b. sugar, 1lb prunes, 21b figs etc. the less. They really cleaned the larder out, and into the bargain I got a claw hole in my plate and billy, just as through a bullet had gone through. I cleaned up the mess, had breakfast, and as it was a beautiful fine day decided to make the most of it and set off up the Four mile track to Union Point, almost at the valley rim.
Yosemite Valley is a narrow, granite gorge 2,000 to 3,000 feet deep, cut by the action of the Merced River and glaciers over a long period of time as the granite mass rose. It is about 7,000 ft. above sea level at the rim and from the bottom you think that this must surely be the top, but no, the head of the valley is backed up by another 7,000 ft. of mountains (not visible from valley) rising in all to nearly 14,000 ft. in the high Sierra Nevada. Just south of the Yosemite area is Mt. Whitney, 14,400 ft., the highest mountain in the main body of U.S.A. While on the other side is Death Valley, which is 270 ft. below sea level.
The following day dawned fine and clear again so this time I walked up one arm of the Y-shaped valley to Mirror Lake. It was so flat and smooth that it makes you scared to toss a stone in in case there is a clatter of glass. It was here that I first met two young Americans, Aileen and Albert, who had come up by car. I then walked back down to the junction and up the other arm to the end of the road where I stopped for lunch (llbs. of magnificent grapes at 1/3d. lb.).
I met Aileen and Albert here again and also some other young Americans arrived. Americans are really and truly tied to their cars. I've seen people spend an extra 5 or 10 minutes trying to park their cars just so they don't have to walk 100 yards. At this beautiful and magnificent spot called Happy Isles some were even too lazy to get out of their cars. Now, from the end of the road up to a bridge which looked up river to Vernal Falls, one of the sights of the valley, it was 0.8 of a mile (1400 yards).
I sat munching grapes and listening for awhile to various groups discussing the merits of this tremendous undertaking. Some said it was too far - they got back in their cars. The others set off. Presently one group returned complaining bitterly it was much too difficult and too far. Soon after the rest returned having reached the bridge. It was a wonderful view, but they were so stiff and sore (for 3 days after) that you'd have thought they wouldn't be able to move again!
I wandered up by myself after lunch and found the track very nearly wide enough far a jeep, and uphill with a grade of perhaps 1 in 10. Actually, in all due fairness, I must say that I did meet a couple of old people stepping it out up the track on my way down. I went a long way up past this bridge to the top of Vernal Falls to get a view up to Nevada Falls. Both were very good, being very wide and 300 ft. and 480 ft. high respectively.
After tea and a film night at the Lodge I went up the road a bit to see the Fire fall from Glacier Point. Glacier Point is one of the best viewpoints in the valley so there is a road up to it and a hotel on top. Near to the edge they make a big fire of bark embers till they get red hot. They they are allowed to cascade over the edge to the valley below. A free fall of 1000 ft. or so: This they put on every night in the tourist season and three times a week in off periods.
Thursday, again in magnificent weather, I climbed up to Glacier Point, a bit over 3000 ft. from the valley floor. Needless to say I had the track to myself although the point was crowded with dozens of people all trying to get out of the bitterly cold wind blowing straight off the snowy Sierra Nevada. Yosemite Valley really is a wonderful place, every bit as good as they say. There are lots of wonderful things to see even apart from the valley itself (such as the high Sierra and the giant Sequoi trees) but you need a car to get anywhere near them. The road crosses right over the range at just under 10,000 ft.
Late September, nearly October, is probably the best time to visit the place as it's terribly hot in summer and shockingly crowded. They have 315,000 motor cars enter the park each year and 1,000,000 camper days. In a small narrow valley this must be hell. In spite of this it is surprising how the valley has retained most of its natural beauty, and shows little sign of wear. Then of course there is skiing in the high country in winter. But then I guess that the park is not really subjected to much wear - more than 100 yards from the roads.
The types of people you get visiting these, park cover just about all sorts. You wouldn't think it possible for some of them to. be as naive as they are but some of the questions they ask the Rangers are really hilarious, such as “Say, pardner, what the heck is there to do round here besides looking at the scenery” - obviously there is no television!
But the real classic came when Aileen and Albert were checking in at the Lodge. A really typical American tourist man and his wife sauntered in and up to the desk. During the usual palava that goes on in booking into a hotel, the wife pipes up in broad American drawl “Say, why don't youse people round here make your road signs a bit clearer. We came to one (under a cliff face) Which said - watch far falling rocks - well, we waited there 45 minutes and didn't see nothing happen.”
Nothing much has been heard of Frank Rigby's trip down Arethusa, except that the Saturday night camp was in the lower end of the Gorge on rather hard rock. The same leader spent a similar night in Davies Canyon once - only then it was mid winter and snowing.
Full house for the B.P. Antarctic film, and for Bob Savage's slides of India and Kashmir. Both were first class shows.
The S. & R. Weekend on the Colo went off with a bang (in fact, with several bangs). Features included a searching aeroplane and demonstration by underwater cave explorers and by rock climbers. About 120 people attended. This deserves to be fully written up. Any volunteers?
Interesting reading: 'Walk” - Annual Journal of the Melbourne Bushwalkers and “The Melbourne Walker 1960” - Annual Journal of the Melbourne Walking and Touring Club. Both available from Paddy.
The New Zealand Expedition '59-'60. An 8-Day Round Trip From Glenorchy
As recorded by Duncan.
If anyone read the last issue they will remember that Dot Butler left them with the information that we were at Glenorchy whence we had travelled by steamer up Lake Wakatipu. Two rivers flow into the head of Lake Wakatipu at Glenorchy, the Rees and the Dart. We walked up the Rees to its source, crossed over into a tributary of the Dart, and then came back down the Dart to Glenorchy. More detailed account of the trip follows.
We started up the wide flat Rees Valley on the first day, flushing Paradise Ducks from the lush green pasture, left, right and centre. These critters, like many N.Z. birds, are only half afraid of man and flapped around us honking and squawking. Heather Joyce later caught a young duckling in the grass. By midday we reached 25 mile hut, opposite the glaciers of Mt. Earnslaw, but not everybody noticed the hut so Dot spent the rest of the afternoon herding back the people who had walked on too far.
While coming up the valley we had met some N.Z. Alpine Club bods going out from a big Christmas camp. “There's a big food dump and (Yum-Yum!) two legs of venison hanging up in a tree up there”, they'd said, “Please feel welcome to help yourself; don't worry if there is a little green on the outside of the venison, scrape it away and you will find delicious meat underneath”. When we reached the vicinity of 25 mile hut we determinedly sought and found the dump and loaded our packs with looted goodies. Next we sought the venison, but this had us tricked for a while until a sudden puff of wind from the NNW told us in no uncertain terms that it lay in that direction. The problem was, how to approach it. Wrapping a wet hanky over her face Dot got within 20 yards but it was Rona who, first thrashing her olfactory nerves into submission by rubbing her face in a fresh meadow cake, stalked the venison from up wind and made the final capture. I was irate; those N.Z. Alpine Club bode had been having us on; the legs of venison hung from the tree by long cords, two shapeless stinking blobs, in a swarm of blowflies and writhing with maggots. “They're alright” said Dot with much bravado, but shuddering inwardly a little I thought, and cutting one of the cords close to the tree she tied it to a stick and trailed the piece of venison behind her. The mile drag down the valley and the “25-mile” creek crossing loosened the grip of many of the crawlers and by the time the hut was reached the venison looked, to those of us who had seen it in its prime, much more presentable. It still moved those beholding it for the first time to derisive abuse however. But now another brave warrior came forward - Heather Joyce attacked the thing with a sharp knife and mined out good meat which she cut into thin slices and fried in butter. It was delicious. As I write this I savour it once more in remembrance and cannot withhold a murmured “Yum Yum”.
Twenty five mile hut lies in the afternoon shadow of the towering 9000' Mt. Earnslaw on the other side of the valley, and the next day, the second of the trip, we crossed the lush river valley, climbed up through the beech forest, climbed up through the snow grass, and then up through the snow to Esquilant bivvy in a saddle between the final steep summit of Earnslaw and a satellite peak, Leary. Esquilant bivvy is named after Bert Esquilant who made the first, and with Dot Butler the second, ascent of Earnslaw, doing a grand traverse from the East to West peak without the aid of the present bivvy. It was close to sundown when we reached the saddle and we found it to be swept by a howling gale but we settled into the bivvy, which is little more than a double bunk enclosed in corrugated iron, had tea, and hoped that the morning would be calmer.
The next morning, the third day, was calmer with a clear blue sky. We were up at six and Dot, Rona , Colin Ferguson, and I roped up and began the final 2000' ascent to the summit of Earnslaw. However calmness is relative and as we got higher the wind became stronger until we found ourselves huddling over our ice axes buffeted by fierce gusts most of the time and making hurried headway in the lulls. The path ahead was steeper and much more exposed and we were soon forced to admit that we would have to retreat. Dot, Rona and I contented ourselves with a climb of the companion peak Leary, 1000' lower. We climbed up on rock and glissaded back down the snow on our backsides, and on reaching the saddle found that Heather and Colin had been joined by Mick and Harry who had walked up from Glenorchy the previous day and slept in a cave on the side of the mountain. We spent the rest of the day climbing back down to 25 mile hut. Here we met two native New Zealanders, Ian and Alby, who planned to walk up the Rees and back down the Dart. This decided us; we would do the same.
The fourth day dawned fine and warm and we set off up the Rees. The valley climbed steadily and we made our way up through beech forest and grassy flats. We took things easily, lunching from 10.30 a m. till 2.30 p m. but by early afternoon came to some rocky rapids up which we waded coming out to the snow grassed head cirque of the valley. We made camp here, some of us walking up to the rim of the cirque without our packs to gaze dawn into Snowy Creek, a tributary of the Dart, and the snow capped peaks beyond.
Picking up our packs on the fifth day we climbed on to the saddle. We had planned to climb a peak before walking down Snowy Creek to Dart hut at the Snowy-Dart junction, but the weather turned black and we proceeded directly to the hut in light rain and with much grumbling. We crossed the fierce Snowy Creek on an exciting suspension bridge and reached the hut for lunch. The weather now cleared and after lunch Ian, Colin, Mick and I set off for Cascade Saddle at the head of the Dart, and overlooking the Matukituki Valley. At the hut the Dart was a river valley cut in moraine clothed in beech forest, but only a couple of miles up the valley the scene changed completely. The Dart became a valley glacier with its source in a horseshoe of magnificent ice peaks, Maori, Liverpool and others. It was the first time we had seen anything like this, though we were to see much more at Cook, and we were enthralled. “Mighty” everybody said, and everybody agreed. We climbed on to Cascade Saddle and there was another mighty view. It was a steady climb up the Dart side to the saddle but from there it dropped almost a sheer 3 or 4,000' to the Matukituki; waterfalls cascaded over with clear drops of 1,000 to 2,000'. Across the valley we could see more snowclad mountains and above all rose Aspiring, a tremendous white pyramid, the Matterhorn of New Zealand. We returned to the hut via a minor peak, very well satisfied.
After a night's sleep at Dart Hut a sixth day was upon us and we set off down the Dart River headed once more for Glenorchy. The Dart River in its upper reaches is quite different from the wide flat grassy Rees; we spent the morning walking along a track which sidled through beech forest high above the rugged river. In the afternoon we began reaching river flats and at 4 p m. we reached Dredge Hut on Dredge Flat. The area around Dredge Hut was littered with dismembered portions of deer carcase. A skin hung over the hut roof, a tail was nailed to the verandah post, a head with the antlers sawn off lay in the bushes near the front door, and an enormously bloated carcase bubbled and glugged down near the river. In some of us a powerful Pavlov reflex was triggered and we began salivating. The smell in our nostrils was that of putrefying deer flesh and we had had no fresh meat for four days. “Deer tail soup” I yelled jubilantly, wrenching the rudder from its nail and playfully balancing it between my upper lip and nose as a false moustache, but calmer thought told me it was wrong to rob the deer-culler of his bonus token and I stoically replaced it. I tried to approach the bubbling carcase but I was eaten alive by the millions of sandflies Which were feasting on its gore, and sadly I admitted defeat and returned to the hut and ate the boiled rice, dried vegetables, and bully beef which Dot had cooked for us.
The sand flies at Dredge Hut were terrible and we were glad to leave the place and head downstream again next morning. That night, the seventh, we camped at Chinaman's Flat under the shadow of Mt. Earnslaw once more. Earnslaw forms part of the narrow divide between the parallel Dart and Rees Rivers. Snow capped peaks towered over us at all times on this trip. We were getting to know our two N.Z. companions well now.
Ian had decided to come with us to the Mt. Cook area when we got back to Glenorchy. Alby decided to go to Auckland and get married. Alby was quiet mannered, but he was frequently inwardly amused by things said or done by other members of the party. On such occasions he would laugh quietly to himself with a series of high pitched ha ha ha ha, the ha's coming explosively but very slowly and well separated like the tocks of a grandfather clock. This would go on for what seemed an age but would finally be terminated by a half-sighed half-sung “Oh dear”. This performance, the essence of which I have quite failed to convey, seemed to be almost continuous at the camp fire on the seventh night, and reduced the rest of the party to tears of mirth. As a result any joke, if it first tickled Alby, had the whole party in fits, people vied with one another in digging up their chestnuts and we went to our sacks late at night with aching sides.
The next morning we walked the last few miles to Paradise, took a last look back past the white-faced hereford cattle grazing in the lush wide valley to the ice peaks on the valley walls and then, turning forward again, caught the bus to Glenorchy. We boarded the steamer on Lake Wakatipu under a perfect sky and sailed down the pastel blue waters. Another jewel in the tiara of trips given to us by the Dot Butler New Zealand Tourist Company had been ours. Two even more glittering ones were to follow - the Mt. Cook area, and then Fjordland. Three cheers for Dot!
Annual Swimming Carnival 1960
The attendance this year was below that of the previous two years, but no doubt the threat of rain on the Saturday discouraged some from donning their packs. Again, heavy rain in the city overnight did nothing to help, yet in spite of it twenty-one adults, accompanied by eleven children put in an appearance on Sunday; but alas most were either too young or too aged or too decrepit to race. There was a dearth of lady starters, which proved that the men were not afraid of dissolving in the rain. Sunday proved dry, until a beaut thunderstorm about 4 p m. Total attendance was 32 bods with 13 children. Two pounds of peanuts were consumed.
MEN'S OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Eric Adcock - Bob Godfrey Dead Heat - 3 Kevin Dean LADIES' OPEN: 1 Nan Bourke 2 No starter 3 No starter MEN'S BREASTSTROKE:1 Eric Adcock 2 Roy Craggs 3 Bruce McInnes LADIES' “ : 1 Nan Bourke 2 Lola Wedlock 3 Nola Liver MENS LONG PLUNGE: 1 Bob Godfrey 2 Eric Adcock 3 Brian Harvey LADIES' ”: 1 Nan Bourke 2 No starter 3 No starter MANDELBERG CUP:1 Kevin Dean Nola Liver 2 Bruce McInnes Jean Harvey 3 Jack Gentle Lola Wedlock HENLY MEMORIAL CUP: 1 Nan Bourke 9 points 2 Eric Adcock 6.5 points 3 Bob Godfrey 4.5 points
EROSION IN THE ALPS
The National Parks Association wants information about erosion being caused by jeep tracks along a power line at Kosciusko. If any reader intends walking in the area during the next twelve months, and would be prepared to walk along one of the tracks and report on it, please contact Tom Moppett (JA8873) some weeks before the trip. He will give details of' the information wanted.
IN MEMORY OF MIKE PERYMAN
“There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich sides, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness; He leaves a white unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.”
- Rupert Brooke.
MARCH 25-26-27 Car to MacDonald River - Mt. Yengo return to car via ridges. Map: Mt. Yengo Military. For an account, by Jim Brown of a recent trip to Yengo, see the December 1959 issue of “The Sydney Bushwalker”. Interesting area not often visited. Extensive views of the northern Blue Mountains. 10 days notice required. Leader: Jim Brown B0543, act. 299.
MARCH 26-27 APRIL 1 - Instructional Weekend. Berowra - Joe Crafts Creek - Cowan. Map: Broken Bay Military. Good area for practice in map reading and for the finding of camp sites and water. Instruction will be given en route. Prospectives are asked to bring map and compass. Leader: Alex Colley JJ2707.
Yalwal Yalwal Headwaters - Bunbunda Creek Maps: Yalwal and Tianjara Military. Transport: See leader Exploratory trip including rock hopping, scrambling. River gorge scenery. Car to Yalwal, round trip return to Yalwal. Leader: Colin Putt JU3218
APRIL 2-3 Federation Re-Union. See Notice Board for details.
APRIL 3 Blaxland St.Helena Glenbrook Map: Liverpool Military Medium track and scrub walking. Pleasant lunch spot at St. Helena. Good area for map-reading practice. Leader: Len Fall 115959
APRIL 9-10 Blackheath - Car to Perry's Lookdown- Blue Gum Forest - Lockley's Pylon- Leura. Map; Katoomba Military. Limber up for Easter. Steep 2,000' drop (views of Mts. King George and Hay) into the forest famous for its stand of Blue Gums. Good riverside campsite. Medium climb out 2,000', track walking into Leura. Extensive views of the Grose Valley. Leader: Bill Rodgers 3×3106.
Waterfall - Mt. Westmacott - Myuna Creek - Heathcote Creek - Scouter's Mountain Heathcote. Creek and ridge walking. Passes by picturesque pools of Morella Harong, Meorabinda and Miara (swimming and camping spots). Maps: Port Hacking Tourist, Military. Leader: David Ingram.
Carl Doherty. Illustrations by Helen Barrett.
It is my allotted task to give a report on our recent Kowmung trip. As my fellow Walkers did the allotting I shall endeavour to honour their choice by giving an accurate unbiased, impartial and true account. Very little need be said about the area itself and although much might be said about the party, little could be printed.
A manhunt at Lindfield located Helen Barrett but this was far easier than collecting Hooper who had to be forcibly removed from a wild party. We reached the Lett River at about 1 a m. and found Snow, George Grey, Mick Elfick and Evelyn Esgate already encamped, so we followed suit.
Mick was first awake and about and an hour later we were all ready to move. Fearing that the breakfast sausages would not keep in a pack, Evelyn had left them at home in the refrigerator. After a breakfast at Halfway House we continued on to the timber track which leads out to Tuglow Caves. Here, at about 10 a m. we dropped the party who redistributed the food whilst a car was being taken out to Kanangra. By midday the walk proper had begun and an hour later we stopped for a meagre lunch, moving off happy but empty forty minutes later.
Our only map was provided by Hooper, who brought only the top half, as he didn't wish to damage the lower Portion, and George, who had found only the bottom half of his sheet. The fact that each member relied on another to carry a map is proof of the party's maturity and the lack of compass showed each man's faith in his own sense of direction.
Snow had evolved the unprecedented and unconstitutional practice of appointing a new leader each day. As I had previously traversed this track to Tuglow Caves, which was our hypothetical destination that day, I was duly given the leadership and this was Snow's first blunder. By 2 p m. there was some doubt as to whether we were heading in the correct direction. Some said “Down the gully”, others “To the left”, others To the right“, and to avoid a long debate I said “To the right”, and Snow agreed, increasing his score to two blunders.
Spirits were still high as we rambled along and then down the ridge and here disaster struck. At the foot of the ridge poor George decided to take a break and as he sat down his shorts took one also right up the back. With George lagging in the rear and time out for a swim a pleasant campsite was reached by five.
Evelyn, looking at the water, declared that it was infected by snails and that we would all contract hydatids and die if it was not boiled before use. As we did not like boiled snails we decided to take ours raw, reasoning that sudden death from hydatids was preferable to dying slowly of thirst. The evening was spent eating, listening to others eating, and wrestling for the various listening positions.
Next morning, whilst preparing breakfast, Mick and I discussed Helen's strange behaviour during the night but, to avoid her embarrassment, decided against telling the others. By mid-morning we reached the Chardon Canyon which, although not on our original itinerary, was found to be most interesting and for the first time we had to swim with packs. Hoop took his pack off and pushed it before him, resulting in both Hoop and pack taking in water, so we all kept our packs on our backs, finding this the easiest and safest method. At the junction of Hollander's and Tuglow, surrounded by glorious mountains, limestone canyons, majestic falls, sparkling streams and flies, we had lunch. The cheese was found to be inhabited and after much debate and sampling the inhabitants were declared to be a non-edible variety - George was charged with their eviction.
During the afternoon George began cutting over the spurs and as he gained confidence so the spurs gained size until it seemed we would have to camp on Kanangra Walls, but he managed to return to the river in time to camp on a sandbank. As Helen slid more than she walked her costume gave way in the same region as George's shorts which resulted in their appearing at the fire in towel sarongs.
Even Evelyn commented this time on Helen's unusual night behaviour but once more we did not tell the others. An hour from camp brought us to Morong Falls where we met five strange walkers. The pink granite canyon of Morong Deep was a highlight of the trip but we unfortunately rushed through it too fast. It was here also that Helen posed for photos. She was the last to shin down a tree from a ledge and obliged all by holding a bear like pose but developed a cramp and the tree had to be shaken to dislodge her. Hooper's waterproof bag wasn't, so at lunch the dried fruit which also wasn't was put out on a rock to dry. Evelyn as quartermaster attempted to guard it from flies and fools but gave up when Snow put the fire out covering flies, fruit and Evelyn in ash. We failed to clear the Deep in the afternoon and our campsite amongst boulders and trees was the worst of the trip.
The following morning I awoke to find myself jammed under a log outside the tent and found Mick and Evelyn out the other side, half buried by flood debris, while Helen slept peacefully within. No longer could we keep her secret - she revolved while she slept.
The day's first obstacle was a long narrow pool which the girls overcame with ease, but Snow, Hoop and I seemed to get water logged very fast. However, by lunch we were out of the Deep and nearly lost Evelyn at our lunch site. Lunch was going well until somebody said who has the meat?” “Evelyn” came the reply. “She was in front of me” said Helen. “Evelyn, EVELYN”. “Yes, answered the Bouncer, who had swum past unaware that we had stopped.
The afternoon's walk took us to the beginning of Rudder's Rift Which is entirely different from the Deep, being much wider, although it often has cliffs on one side. Jumping into rapids gave us the thrills of a slalom race as we were swept between the boulders. Tiring of this, wet and exhausted, we pitched camp on the grassy banks of a deep pool, passed an uneventful evening and turned in early. The other tent was blessed with Helen. Snow awoke to find his head and feet out of the tent and his middle held against the tent pole by Helen's feet. Likewise George was jammed against the other pole by Hoop.
With breakfast over and circulation restored we moved on through the Rift which was not as spectacular as some had hoped. To make more room in his pack Snow sat on it which resulted in us beginning the trip with ten whole biscuits and a large bag of pieces. Lunch taken in the shade of a knee high shrub was, as usual, preceded by the sorting of bits and George draining our melting cheese, Mid afternoon brought us to the top of a short grey canyon. Twin falls,formed by a tiny island, fell into two adjoining pools which had an outlet from the left one. The plan was to enter the water between the falls, take one pack from above, and swim to the left and out. George went first. He was immediately swept to the far side of the pool but swam back just in time to miss his pack lowered by Mick. The pack was swept around the right hand bowl and under the fall, surfaced and made a second circuit, this time with George in close pursuit and was submerged by the falls again. Fortunately George gained a foothold before he was carried under, or we may have had the pleasure of erecting a plaque to his memory - and snatched his pack when it eventually appeared. Mick, meanwhile, had climbed around to a shelf and now threw George a line which he tied to his pack before making the hard swim to the outlet. It was now decided to rope the packs to Mick, jump into the turbulence of the left fall and be carried out by its thrust, taking the pack, lowered by Mick, as one swept by. Snow's masterful handling of the jumping is worth quoting. When Mick had the packs Snow turned and said “You go first, Helen”, and aside to Hoop and I 'We'll see if she comes up”. When she did come up Snow mumbled something about “Better make certain” followed by You go next Evelyn“ and as she broke surface with all the grace of a porpoise he smiled and reported “It's quite safe. There are no snags so I guess it doesn't matter who goes next”. With this canyon of surprises behind us we moved on until we reached a pleasant grassy campsite. The banks were steep but Mick overcame this by drawing our water, sailor fashion, with cord and billy while perched in an overhanging tree. A good meal and then to bed.
The river crossings gave us some relief from the heat during the morning but lunch was taken by a deep pool. Snow built a fire, and put the billy on for a brew but realised ten minutes later that it didn't contain water. After eating our fill of burnt macaroni cheese we headed for Church Creek Caves. Evelyn knew a short cut over a low saddle and this we took only to find ourselves many miles from the caves and, many feet above the creek. However we finally reached the caves and after a vain search for the entrance returned to camp at the junction. George alone, so far, had avoided the malicious attacks of the Bouncer and her revolving accomplice who had met with little resistance owing to the amusement they provided. During an attempt to throw Snow in the river they stopped, dropped him, began whispering and moved towards George who was eating a bowl of mellah. Now George is a peaceful chap but he does like mellah and this unprovoked attack had an amazing effect on him. He gave an animal like cry, lunged at them from where he lay and in seconds had them subdued. His swift action assured him of peace, gained the women's respect and our gratitude. Snow carried industrial alcohol in place of the usual rum, claiming that it surpassed rum as it was stronger and cheaper and now proposed a toast to George in the vile stuff. To put one's tongue to it was horrible and to take a spoonful dangerous. Even though it was New Year's Eve we were all in our bags by eleven thirty. Hoop, who was still in high spirits from the party on Christmas night, counted down the last five minutes and on the hour we told Hoop what a fine fellow we thought he was and as an afterthought sang Auld Lang Syne.
New Year's morning. Owing to the excess of food breakfast was a riotous meal. George who was eating one spoonful and throwing the next over his shoulder, was taken to task by Helen, and Snow took this opportunity to refill Helen's own bowl with rice that he couldn't eat. Everybody then insisted that Helen should eat all that was in her bowl. When we did eventually begin walking it swiftly developed into a photographic ramble, with Hoop filming the more nosed shots of his film. For some reason best known to himself Hoop insisted on shooting Evelyn in the act of pushing me into the river, which I thought was in rather bad taste, but Evelyn made it worse by demanding in the name of safety two trial runs. By the time it was all over I wished that I had a rifle and I would have shot the pair of them. Having satisfied this whim of our mad cameraman we splashed our way downstream to a somewhat concave camp site at the foot of Brumby Mountain. Our afternoon had been marred slightly when a snake missed Snow by inches and Snow's jumping into the water was rather unsporting.
For the first time during the walk Snow was first up. After an enormous meal and a general lightening of packs we moved off at 6 a m. and with few rests reached the Walls about midday. At Cunningham 's we stopped for refreshments for several hours and then drove on to the Lett River. Still finding th heat oppressive we paused long enough to clean up and then moved on to the Esgate residence. By chance it happened to be Mick Elfick's twenty first birthday so we took our leave of Mrs. Esgate in time to drive to the Paragon for dinner. As no cake was available Snow improvised by using an upturned dessert bowl and a household candle. I can't tell anymore.
Thus as we bade, our money farewell at the Paragon's door, we also said finis to a wonderful walk.
Twelve issues of “The Sydney Bushwalker”!
There were times when the Editor tore his hair and wrote furiously into the night to make up a few missing pages. Then in the post would come a last minute contribution so superior that it went in instead. There were times when he pursued evasive writers around the Clubroom and even went on official walks to get “copy”. But despite it all he enjoyed the experience and wishes to thank those who wrote for the mag. during the year. He hopes that members will express their gratitude to the long suffering but, always cheerful production types who kept the presses rolling.