Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker May 1980
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Wireless Institute Building, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Marcia Shappert, Telephone 30 2028.
|Helen Gray, 209 Malton Road, Epping, 2121. Telephone 86 6263
|Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871 1207
|Kath Brown, Telephone 81-2675
|The Three Peaks Attempt
|In Memoriam - Hilma Colley
|Anzac in the Budawangs
|Letter to the Editor
|The Flowers of Srinagar
|The April General Meeting
|“Wilderness Experience” Easter 1980
|Social Notes for June
|Walks for June
The Three Peaks Attempt - Or - How to Eat a Large Slice of Humble Pie!
by David Rostron
Spiro, our Walks Sec was up to his usual persuasive tactics and these worked on my guilty conscience. However inspiration was lacking and in a weak moment I thought, “Why not the three peaks again?” Craig and Chris Austen did it in two days last year and I thought it was time for a repeat performance of our trip 13 years before.
After that effort I said “Never again”. I am not sure whether the ageing process or alcohol had diminished the memory of the pain associated with the previous effort - Cloudmaker, Paralyser and Guouogang in 13 1/2hr hours from the Cox at White Dog to Konangaroo. Four of us - Don Finch, Doone Wyborn, Brian Harden and I had finished, out of about 12 starters.
After programming the trip, Don also spoke with much enthusiasm for a repeat performance, as did Craig and Chris. However Craig and Chris were sure we could not do the three peaks in the one day. “Ridiculous,” I said, “We did it before and can do it again - no long stops”. Don had kept all the times from the previous trip and later gave the bad news that on the Saturday morning 13 years ago we had risen at 4.30 am, and were away at 5.10 am. However we had two hours of stops and lost an hour at the end of the day by taking the wrong ridge of Guouogang.
By Friday 11/4/80 we had 7 starters - Don, who had not trained (he said he would do Cloudmaker only) was leaving Sydney at 2.00 pm to reach Marcots Pass on the Cox that night, Craig and Chris, Bob Hodgson, Spiro, Tony Marshall and I. Pat McBride, Margaret Bentley and Judith were to meet us at Konangaroo that evening to celebrate a successful trip or sooth the aches and pains - I wasn't sure which.
Our plan was to leave the cars at Corral Swamp on Narrow Neck and walk the 10-11 miles to the Cox on Friday night. From the start the trip seemed destined to problems. Tony was driving the leading vehicle, didn't realise he had passed Corral Swamp (Don's wagon wasn't there), and stopped when he reached the fire tower. We (Spiro, Bob and I) thought it appropriate to stop at Corral Swamp - it would be more of an epic trip. It was then 8.50 pm.
We caught up with the three sloths 40 minutes later and on reaching Clear Hill at the end of Narrow Neck found Don's wagon. There was a note - he had left Clear Hill at 5.00 pm. After a scramble down the ladders and over Deberts Knob we reached the Cox at midnight.
There was much grumbling at 4.40 am when I lit the fire and it took considerable agitation to get the party moving by 5.40 am. We walked 1 1/2 miles upstream to the foot of Marcots Pass (Korriecone Ridge) and then started the ascent at 6.25 am. We came upon Don at the base of Gentles Pass. He had slept in, as usual, and didn't leave the Cox till 6.05 am. His out-of-condition state was evident - he was sweating like the proverbial pig.
Over Gentles Pass, some compass work across the heavily vegetated plateau to Dex Creek (no water) and then up the track to Cloudmaker at 9.29 am. “10 minutes rest,” I said (we spent 25 minutes there in 1967). Don arrived 4 minutes later but Craig and Chris were not in sight before we left (Don stayed at the trig).
A quick dash over Rumble onto Roar and then out onto the ridge to Marooba Karoo. We sidled the rocks on the left and then went down the nose of the ridge towards Thunder Bend on Kanangra Creek (down 3300 ft). We (Bob and I) were on the creek at the same time (10.45 am) as the 1967 trip, so I was quite optimistic at that stage. Tony and Spiro arrived shortly afterwards. A bath in the creek, food and drink and then Spiro, announced - “That was enough”- the downhill sprint had caused his knees to play up. Tony said he would come up to Paralyser shortly but not climb Guouogang.
The climb of Paralyser was up the S.E. buttress from Thunder Bend for 2800 ft. To me it seemed like a 60° slope. It was a combination of steep slope, heat unstable footing and pushing through some vegetation which, I delude myself, took the toll - not the ageing process. Over the last 500' to 1000' I was struggling and Bob fared only slightly better. After collapsing at the trig at 12.30pm we compared notes. Bob had plenty of puff but his legs weren't functioning. My legs were working but I had no puff. We were prone for half an hour. Every time Bob tried to sit up he developed leg cramps.
Tony arrived half an hour later - his collapse was on the way up. He also decided the body's needs were best suited by the prone position. It was obvious no one had a Guouogang in them for that day. Tony changed his mind - he would go to Kanangra River that afternoon and climb Guouogang in the morning. The problem for Bob and I was the lure of the soft life at Kanangaroo that evening with women to wait on us. The temptation was too much.
We expected Chris and Craig to join Tony for the climb of Guouogang on Sunday morning but they had not arrived at the Paralyser trig by the time Bob and I hobbled away at 2.30 pm. We took the long N.E. buttress which although open is very rocky and hard underfoot with many loose rocks. We reached the junction of Kanangra Creek and River by 3.45 pm for a welcome drink and swim.
Whilst Bob and I were succoring our wounds a foursome was sighted tripping down the creek - you've guessed! - Chris, Craig, Spiro and Don - recovering from a three-hour lunch. Spiro confessed to white-anting Chris and Craig with an offer of more Turkish Coffee for lunch.
We then trekked down river to Konangaroo and another swim. Our three camp followers were not to be found. They arrived at 5.45 pm after a leisurely stroll down Breakfast Creek and the Cox, from Carlons.
A very relaxed evening under a starry sky resulted in bodies collapsing everywhere - sleeping out. Seven o'clock was the stirring time next morning after about an hour of delightful serenading by the local bird population.
Don left early - the call of family was obviously strong - whilst Judith, Margaret and Pat left at 9.30 am for the trek via Yellow Pup and Blackhorse Range to Carlons.
We began to worry about Tony after 11.00 am, and had been “Dayo-ing” every 5 minutes from 10.00 am. He appeared on noon, having dropped off a side ridge and finished up in Guouogang Brook which brought him out a mile upstream, on the Cox.
Tony had started the 3300 ft climb up Naroo Gable at 6.00 am and reached the summit at 8.45 am where he spent 45 minutes. The book indicated that walkers do have some sense - the last person on the summit was in September 1979.
We were away at 1.45 pn. A hot climb up Yellow Pup resulted in a rest on Yellow Dog Mountain. Then it was along the track to Mobbs Swamp where there was beautiful cool water in a small pool. Then followed a gallop to Medlow Gap with the party spreading out (Poor Tony!). Beautiful views from Clear Hill and Narrow Neck at sunset for the leaders and then back to the cars and Aroneys for a sumptuous spread.
P.S. There seems to be a moral in this story. Tony was the only person to complete the trip and he was also the only one under 30 - the determination of youth.
by Frank Rigby
"You are cordially invited to attend the wedding of BOB and MARGARET aboard the sailing vessel "Victory" departing from Miller's Point at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 10th May, 1980. The ceremony and reception will be held aboard, returning to Miller's Point at 4 p.m. Dress casual."
Such was the refreshingly different kind of invitation we lucky ones received. There was hardly need to ask, “Bob and Margaret Who?” They could surely be none other than our worthy President Bob Hodgson and fellow club member Margaret Bentley, both sailing enthusiasts. The S.B.W. had done it again - the marriage bureau par excellence!
On Thursday night, less than two days before the event, the bridegroom-to-be knocked on the door of my Canberra home. “Oh, my gosh,” I said to Joan, “the blighter's running away!” “No way,” retorted. Bob with indignation, “Just a rush business trip to try to sell a computer or two to the Federal Government.” Anyway, we bundled him off northwards on Friday morning just to make sure.
On Friday night, in Sydney, only twelve hours before the event, the rain was coming down in buckets and the wind was howling. Perhaps, I thought, a nice big dry sandstone cave might have been a safer bet than the “Victory”. But no worries, as they say at Dimboola weddings, for Saturday dawned grey but rainless and continued to improve with age, and by the time the good ship hove into view the sun was starting to break through the murk. It was a good omen.
“Look at that figurehead on her bow,” said Joan. “That's no figurehead,” piped up Snow, “that's Phil Butt”. And sure enough it was, too. Phil and Barry Wallace were not only wedding guests but extra crew members as well; and lo and behold, there were the bride and groom looking as cool as cucumbers as if they got married every day. But where was the dark suit and the flowing bridal gown? Ah yes, I forgot, they did say, “Dress casual”, and anyway that sort of garb would have been out of place among the guests, some of whom were sporting jeans and T-shirts. So we all, relatives and bushies alike, literally, jumped on board this ninety-footer with her three big masts, to be motored slowly to peaceful Farm Cove where the anchor was dropped for the main business of the cruise. We noticed Phil putting on his shirt so obviously something very important was about to begin.
Everybody assembled on the foredeck and the marriage celebrant, a charming woman dressed in a blue and white slack suit (how appropriately nautical) conducted a simple, sensible but dignified ceremony for people who shun pomp and ritual. I for one thought the words were just right. A touch of humour was added at the end when the celebrant told our pair, “You've still got time to jump overboard before you sign the Register.” However, Bob and Margaret, both intrepid bushwalkers who have faced greater dangers than marriage, stoically stood their ground to the cheers of all present. There followed some shuffling of documents and the signing of names and it was all over and then we were downing champers or kissing the bride in celebration.
In the galley Helen Rowen as official caterer was working hard preparing the wedding breakfast (what a silly term!) and a beauty it was too; and when everyone was filled to sufficiency the skipper ordered anchors up and we cruised to faraway places (or was it just to Rose Bay?). During this part of the voyage several of the guests, plus the brand new bride, could be seen scaling precarious rope ladders to the mastheads for a grand view. To make it all perfectly romantic sails were hoisted and the engines cut; passers-by on much lesser craft stared at us in amazement but little did they know what had been going on! Sailor-boy Bob, forgetting he was a V.I.P., was fussing with the sheets (no, they are not called “ropes”) and when asked to comment on the momentous events of the day, could only say, “I reckon she could be sailing faster”.
However, all good things come to an end and so it was that the good ship “Victory” sailed away into the sunset which fortunately was in the direction of Miller's Point. As the voyage ended it seemed hard to believe that it had not just been a pleasant outing on the Harbour with one's friends - one had to consciously remember that two people had begun a new life together. I hope that Bob and. Margaret's sail through life, as husband and wife, will be as happy as the voyage of the “Victory” on their wedding day.
In Memoriam - Hilma Colley
by Dot Butler
The death occurred on 23rd April of Hilma Colley, wife of the Club's Conservation Secretary, Alex Colley.
Hilma joined the Club about 1932 and was a very active walker for 20 years. She was one of a group of hard walkers known as The Tigers, led by Gordon Smith and Jack Debert. One of her early achievements was a two-day walk with Max Gentle down the Grose River, in those days regarded as one of the roughest walks you could do. She was a great entertainer. I call to mind the epic Gangerang trip, Christmas 1937, when various “firsts” were chalked up, including the first ascent of Carlon's Head. Here the cliff drops off steeply into space. Hilma's running commentary, as I was balanced on a pyramid of bodies three tiers high, reaching for a final handhold over the top from which a rope could be let down as a handline, was worthy of a race commentator towards the finish of the Melbourne Cup.
Bert Whillier recalls an occasion when he was driver of a hired truck in which the Tigers were travelling to Burragorang Valley. At Camden they stopped for fish and chips and Bert was so hungry he was shovelling them into his mouth with his woollen gloves still on. Hilma's amazed comments still cause Bert a hearty laugh.
She was a very outgoing person and very readily made friends. Her deeply engrained sympathy and kindness especially took in the underdog. It extended even to plants. If no one was going to look after the orphan she would find it a place in her garden. In vain Alex complained, “Hill, if eVerything you plant grows we will find ourselves living in the midst of a deep dark forest!” Once he found her planting a tree in a square foot of space in the middle of the thicket. On being asked what it Was she told Alex it was a sequoia. “But that's the tallest tree in the world!” said Alex in dismay. Hilma was sad that it did not survive.
Hilma did a lot for the Club. She was Club Secretary for three or more years and was always available when there was extra work to be done. At one Committee Meeting in 1951 Alex offered his apologies for not being able to attend the next meeting as was going to a wedding. By a strange coincidence Hilma didn't turn up either. And no wonder, it was their own wedding.
Baby Frances was born in 1952 and from then on Hilma gave up walking, due to a deterioration in health. As a substitute for bushwalking she joined in with the Sundowner Bus Tours and did some eight trips with them. These tours included a lot of camping and walking. The couple who ran the tours, Bill and Doreen Hand, considered her one of their “characters”. Everyone had their own allotted job. Hilma was appointed Public Relations Officer, a job she filled to perfection keeping everyone entertained with her ready wit and fund of stories. It was her job to keep the curious bystanders occupied while the others got on with the job of setting up the camp.
Beside helping Alex in his conservation work when there was typing to be done and 'phone calls to be answered, she was also a constant worker for charities - Meals on Wheels, Save the Children Fund, the Neringah Home of Peace Hospital, the school P. & C. Association. Here was a person whose kindness and genuine interest in others' problems has never been equalled in the Club.
She was buried in the Colley family plot in the Kiama Cametary on Thursday. To Alex and daughter Frances we extend our sympathy. Her friends will remember her with gratitude.
"Not for learning or for length of days, Or fame or fortune strewn along my ways When I am in my green rest, One of the happy ones, Remember me One of the blest Signed with the sign of a warm humanity."
ANZAC in the Budawangs
by Ainslie Morris
Victor Lewin certainly knows how to be enticing - car camp with three day trips, two of them test walks, sunset on Pigeon House Mountain and an easy third day with swimming optional. Great, said twenty people, who rolled in at various odd hours of Thursday night and Friday morning. At least, some rolled in, but most slid and slithered in over a muddy hill on the Yadboro Road. Each car needed one driver and two pushers, the latter arriving in camp muddy enough to please any washing soap manufacturer. Our new prospective member, Arnold, did a midmight solo sidetrip further up the Yadboro road, but joined us in time for breakfast.
A gentle rain eased us on our way up a steep climb which got the breakfast digested, although Jenny Cornell seemed to think there were better ways to settle the muesli down.
After Longfella Pass we left the fire trail and headed through high heath to Davison Head, which overlooks the Clyde River below Pigeon House. Carl Bock's valiant blonde twin boys, Timothy and Oliver, pulled their hats down over their faces and staggered and stumbled blindly through the needle bush. The banksias held fine apricot-coloured brushes, and the birds revelled in the rain. So did we, of course.
Victor's secret cave gave us shelter from the persistent fine drizzle. Its roof is chemically weathered into fine flakes, and extraordinary egg-shaped lumps and curved spirals. Large broken pieces lay on the sandy floor but fortunately none fell during the lunch break. Those quick of eye managed to see marsupial mice scurrying about on the ceiling.
Off again into the mist we went, and climbed through conglomerate caves like catacombs. On top of Hume Head we were informed that a fine view could be had of Byangee Walls and plenty more, and who would disbelieve Victor? At 4.30 we followed our leader up the north side of Pigeon House (720 metres a.s.l.). It was reassuring to get a quick glimpse of it as the thick white cloud lifted for a minute, but we could just as easily have gone down into the clouds as up. However, up we went to view the sunset over the Budawang Range.
As we scaled the steel ladders Victor regaled us with the story of how he fell down when in the process of placing one of the ladders in 1975. At the small rocky summit, Mark, another “prospective”, handed out his Woolworths lollies. Well, it's one way of getting on side with the full members in a thick mist on a mountain top at dusk with a two-hour night walk back to camp. The sunset from Pigeon House was unbelievable.
Saturday dawned to brilliant sunshine, and at last we could see the spectacular cliffs of The Castle rising to 840 metres. A drive along Long Gully Road brought us to a ford on the Clyde below the track up Kalianna Ridge. Victor led us through the natural tunnel which is the approach to Meakins Pass, on the east side of the cliffs. Out came a rope, which was the first we knew of the rock scrambling ahead of us. Sneaky. But the rope helped to move the party of sixteen fairly “inexperienced” (to put it politely) rock climbers up quickly. The top must be one of the most magnificent places to have lunch. The Budawangs is one of the last great wilderness areas.
Our descent took 3 3/4 hours, so that the last, little bit through the bush to the river was a slippy-slide in the dark. However, Victor made up for it by letting us all lie in on Sunday morning. He has got a reputation to keep.
An early eleven o'clock start saw a slightly reduced party off on an easy stroll along the river to the junction of the Clyde with Pigeon House Creek. Our optional swim there was more of an involuntary gasp and squawk. On our return, Mark returned Colin Barnes' kindly gesture earlier in the day - shall I tell? Well, Mark didn't want to get his shoes wet, so Colin carried him across the river.
Victor, thanks for a wonderful weekend.
Letter to the Editor
At the same time as commending you on your article on the backgrounds of the current Committee members, I wish to make a non-serious attempt to enlighten you to the only part of my background I really consider of much importance!
Namely the fact that I was Membership Secretary from March 1970 to October 1971, when I left on the trip which took me to Broken Hill. This was a period of tremendous personal satisfaction to me, and I like to think to the Club as well.
Although I am always happy to do whatever I can whenever I can for the S.B.W., this period will always remain a major one to me.
(P.S. Please don't let this be blown out of proportion!!!)
The Flowers of Srinagar
by Bill Gillam
(An occasional series on art, photography and bushwalking by an occasional artist, a frustrated photographer and an arthritic bushwalker.)
One of the attractions of what Paddy Pallin calls “rucksacs” sports are the visual delights one sees on the way. One football ground, to a player, looks very much like any other; a downhill skier looks as far as the next mogul or as far as he thinks he will fall. But “rucksac” describes and defines a set of limitations. There never is enough time, the ratio between food weight and ridge steepness is unfavourable to the photographer, cameras have grown bulkier and heavier. Even the sun rising and setting is on the wrong side of the mountain. The visual delight is, with some notable exceptions, the scenery! A landscape. As subject matter for artist and photographer there could be nothing more disappointing than an attempt to render landscapes. The wonder is that good slides do get taken and that now and then a slide of real artistic merit is shown by a bushwalker. The winning entry of this year's slide competition deserves more than a polite round of applause and a far too brief showing. Who would not like such a slide to display and, given much opportunity, to have 36 such slides from a roll.
I hope these articles might start those who are daunted, help those already enmeshed and pay tribute to this year's winner (if he agrees to accept my title for his winning slide).
Western pictorial art probably begins with the Lascaux Caves and “art” has grappled with the same basic problem ever since - how to depict a three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional wall, and then having transcended this problem to add an emotional content either for the artist's own needs or to transmit emotion to others. The earliest solutions were to avoid the flat surface and model in the round. What could be more round and more emotive than the Magdeburg Venus. Both the Lascaux and the Magdeburg artist succeeded to the extent that we stand in awe after unknown thousands of years when the rest of their culture has disappeared.
More elaborate solutions were found slowly - decorated Greek vases and statues, more lasting materials, improved casting techniques, patronage and the rendition of colour and linear perspective. The rules had to be invented and found useful before they could be broken. When realism had been achieved in painting a new realism shattered everything. Seeing with a camera is different from seeing with an “artist's” eye. It is different to seeing with the naked eye. As with painting technique photographic technique can be learnt - much more quickly and by a greater number. Unlike painting ALL the instructions are found either on the camera or the box of film. You simply add mountain ranges, waterfalls and a little thought.
Bushwalking photography invariably means a hand-held 35 mm camera, colour slides and landscape. Within these three factors there are many pitfalls if one is to travel lightly and quickly - all made more restrictive by the general philosophy that the taking of pictures is incidental to the trip. “If I see something good I'll shoot it” approach to photography within these limits most slides “turn out” - they are reasonably focussed and exposed so that they are recognisable as evidence of having been there. Yet most slides do leave one with a sense of disappointment. Too crowded, un-impressive horizons, shadows too dark and skies too light. Trading in an old Pentax for a new Minolta may, but probably won't, solve the problem. Changing from Kodachrome to Fuji gives the same problems in a different colour. Unless one learns to “see” photographically it is possible that only extreme forms of landscape will give satisfying slides - after the immediacy and bulk of Mitre Peak a “vertical is beautiful” approach won't work in the Blue Mountains. There is obviously a long path between owning a camera and taking satisfactory slides.
The first step along the path should be an understanding of vision and a realisation that what appears in a slide is only the visual part of the total experience that prompted us to “take” the scene. A very small fraction of the visual scene at that. I have slides of board riders in an idyllic but not spectacular surf, the exposures were made at six in the morning on a day impressively hot even at that time. Wedged 30 metres (100 feet) up a cliff I was using a very long lens to match surfers, ships at sea, porpoises and an absorbing procession of summer people - all remembered but not necessarily displayed on a square inch of film.
Binocular human vision is vastly different to monocular camera vision. Our own vision of a scene is made up of peripheral vision, a more intense forward vision and a close focussing compulsion that is possibly physcological rather than physical. None of these three types of vision can be directly captured by the monocular camera vision. The “frame” of the camera eliminates the peripheral vision, the single “eye” registers only flatness and then having “fixed” the scene and reverted to binocular vision viewing of the slide we can't stop our close focus examining each small part of the slide. Our eyes insist on an illusion of depth, demand distance where there is only flatness and unless there is a very distinct and arresting feature will not accept the photographer's selection of view, his design. If the design is weak or confusing the slide fails. A subject that was attractive in reality because its surroundings gave it a special quality or mood is bound to be disappointing in picture form if it is dissociated from these elements.
The most effective aid to seeing photographically is also very cheap and ultra-lightweight - a 10“ x 8” cardboard viewing frame with a 5“ x 4” opening (the proportions of a 35 mm slide). Held at half arm's length and viewed from one eye to avoid the binocular effect, the frame takes the ultimate “slide” view out of content and tells us if there are any of the features such as overlapping forms, differences in bulk and density, or colour perspective that give us the illusion of reality. Half arm's length gives a view corresponding to a standard 55 mm lens for a 35 mm camera, held close up it gives the field of view for a wide angle lens and at arm's length for a medium telephoto lens. Apart from added weight extra lenses introduce, and solve, many more problems. Framing the landscape in this fashion gives a quick understanding of “composition” - a word that is used to frighten, condemn and impress people, but is seldom explained. I shall use composition to mean exploration, isolation and organisation.
Exploring and isolating, O.K. But how do you organise a landscape? I don't try; I photograph wild flowers.
The April General Meeting
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at 2014 with about 40 members present and our brand new President in the chair.
New members Rowena Evans and Valerie and Robert Calvert were welcomed in the usual way and the minutes were read and received.
Correspondence brought advice of letters from the Australian Heritage Commission regarding the preparation of a State Conservation Plan; from the Central Mapping Authority regarding a proposed special Kosciusko sheet in the 1:100,000 series and seeking advice of user preferences, from S.P.C.C. reply to our letter regarding pollution of Jerrara Creek. There were also letters to N.P.W.S. proposing members for the Heathcote Park Advisory board and to our new members.
The Treasurer then informed us of the following situation. We started the month with $1540.02, received income of $782.70, spent 198.59 and ended up with $2124.13, but keep those subs rolling in folks, it could be a long, dry winter.
Federation Report brought news of the S. & R. practice held at Wollemi, a rescue in the Rylstone area (you probably read about that one in the papers, the rescuers had problems of their own), a plan to establish a Trans-Tasmanian Walking Trail and the proposed sale of Catalina Raceway (any takers?). We also accepted Gordon Lee as convenor for the F.B.W. Ball.
Yes, there was a Walks Report and I did take notes, but there is a deadline for this. Next month, maybe.
General Business saw Gordon Redmond propose that we invest about $1000.00 in a short term Commonwealth Loan. After some debate this was passed. Two new F.B.W. Delegates were elected, Snow Brown and Gordon Lee. Then it was just a matter of announcements and it was all over at 21.24.
1980 List of Members - Incorrect telephone number
The list of members enclosed with the 1980 Annual Report showed an incorrect telephone number for Jim and Kath BROWN. The number should read 81-2675.
"Wilderness Experience" - Easter 1980
by Dot Butler
When I canoed the Yukon River in 1974, in the 500 miles from Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon Territory to the Arctic Circle in Alaska, we met no one except for one lone Japanese boy whose canoe was carried past us at such speed that Rona and Jack could barely make him hear their Japanese greeting cry as he disappeared round the opposite side of an island. Since then the Yukon is being publicised in the United States as “the last wilderness experience”, and loads of overfed tourists are being borne through that wild and lovely territory in canoes with outboard motors!! which coat the sparkling water with a dulling film of exhaust oil.
The need to see the wild places of the earth before it is too late is becoming desperate. It was no doubt this urge operating that sent Peter Harris off on his three-week Herculean traverse of,the wild unexplored terrain from Lake Manapouri to Cascade Cove, Dusky Sound, in the South Island of New Zealand. This must rank as one of the hardest trips undertaken by Australian bushwalkers. (Read about it in the April Bushwalker.) Peter says it will take 6 months for the eroded surfaces of his knee joints to renew themselves. You would think, therefore, he would call it a day. But no! Here we have him as leader for an Easter exploratory trip of the Guy Fawkes River National Park. Fazeley and I had had a mid-week trip with Brian Hart in the close-by Forbes River area amidst beautiful giant trees decked with staghorns amd orchids, the ground, deep in leaf letter, supporting a green wilderness of birds-nest ferns and vines, and I at least was expecting something similar in the Guy Fawkes.
Eleven of us left Sydney in two cars, the six in Bill Burke's getting away around 4.30 on Thursday afternoon. A bit of a hold up around Hornsby was to be expected, then reasonable going along the Newcastle Freeway till we left it, and the Easter traffic, via a dark side road. Along here, unfortunately, we got a puncture which delayed us a bit. Nevertheless we were asleep in Peter's sister's place at Armidale by 11.30. The other unfortunate carload of five took the popular Wyong Road with its horrendous traffic and didn't bed down in Armidale till 3.30 am. It was a bleary- eyed group that united with us at nine next morning for the start of the trip. But first they had to go to the local garage to repair some starter trouble.
1 1/2 hours drive took us to Marengo homestead where we left the cars and proceeded through the bull paddock, keeping a wary eye on the huge beasts. Most of that afternoon's walk was through a melancholy prospect of felled trees in the station paddocks. (Advice to early settlers: “Your first enemies are the trees proceed with all diligence to remove them.”)
As we trudged along with our heavy packs, sometimes on the track and sometimes on the road, we met two car loads of local elderlies who told us we had much further to go than Peter's map said. When we reached the Fattening Paddocks the party was willing enough to camp in the vicinity of Marengo Falls. We had several encounters with a young lad who had brought his girlfriend out in a 4-wheel drive, seeking a “wilderness experience”. He was not too happy to find eleven others sharing it.
Saturday after breakfast we set out along Lucifer's Thumb, to Chaelundi Bluff from which point we had to make a steep descent down a ridge to the Guy Fawkes River. Several of us were negotiating a way down a rock wall while the rest of the party went looking for an easier route. Suddenly we heard a scream. It was Fazeley. No, it was not, a rock flying past her, as she thought, but a terrified wallaby who had been waiting his opportunity to escape from a ledge where the descending party had cornered him. As he flashed past Fazeley's face he struck her on the nose with his toenails and gave her a bloodshot eye as well. She was somewhat shaken but continued the descent.
At last, a welcome lunch by a deep pool where we all had a swim. The pattern for the rest of the day was following the river banks and swimming in all the tempting pools. There are many bends in the river. We short-cutted over some of these but on several occasions regaining the river meant a scrabbling steep descent and as a time-saver wasn't worth it. Ray Dargan's charming little Japanese wife, who is a fantastic walker, nevertheless found the steep descents difficult. Where a road joined the river, there was a motor camp and several 4-wheel drives tootling along. The only saving feature, from our point of view, was that one of the drivers was an ex-Bushwalker, Tony Quaich.
The second night's camp was still on the river. Those around the campfire were regaled well into the night by Stations 2 TW and 2 SD turned on high. It is amazing the subjects that get aired.
Away next morning to a reasonably early start. It was pleasant to see little tortoises in the river. Although it is rapidly drying up, no doubt they will survive the drought. Lunch on the Guy FaWkes, when we headed up to camp some distance up Marengo Creek. Next morning we climbed up a steep ridge, the tail-enders arriving at the top 40 minutes after the greyhounds. Then down through the semi-cleared paddocks to regain Marengo Creek where some had a swim in the cattle-trampled pond, and so back to the cars, this time keeping well out of the bull paddock.
On the long drive home through the drought-smitten country we were amazed at the number of eagles circling around. We had a close-up of several huge birds grasping the branches of nearby trees with their hooked claws, while we counted eight of them circling high up interspersed with a flock of crows. All on the lookout for dead cattle.
You may wonder why I titled this piece “Wilderness Experience”. Well, the point I am making is that you won't get it on the Guy Fakes River. However, it was a good try, Peter.
Social Notes for June
by Peter Miller
Wedneday, June 18
An evening of magic.
Whaka Newmarch will again entertain us with an evening of magic. Children of all ages are especially welcome!
Dinner will be held before the meeting at the Nam Rock Chinese, Restaurant - 538 Pacific Highway, St. Leonards - 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
Wednesday, June 25
National Park and.Wildlife Foundation - Operation Noah.
Graham East from the N.P.W.F. will present a:talk illustrated with slides on the operations of the Foundation.
by Frank Rigby
For all those curious souls who want to know more about the “Victory”, her origins, her conversions, her future and her weights and measures and all those myriad things peculiar to boats, I commend you to seek out the experts such as Bob and Phil who together, I'm sure, have most of the answers. Alas, as a mere chronicler of stories, I cannot hope to compete with their vastly superior technocracy.
Annual Subscriptions 1980
The subscription rates for 1980, decided at the A.G.M., are as follows:-
- Ordinary member $11
- Married couple $13
- Full-time student member $7
- Non-active member $2
The magazine is posted free to all members, but non-active members and others who would like to receive the magazine posted to them can do so for an annual subscription this year of $5.
The Treasurer will take cash or cheques any time - either in the Clubroom, or posted to Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, 2001.
Winter Walks Programme - June, July, August 1980
Club Rooms: 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards (Wireless Institute Building)
Postal Address: Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney 2001.
Enquiries regarding the Club: MARCIA SHAPPERT Tel. 30 2028.
|LONG POINT LOOKOUT: Shoalhaven R - Bungonia Gorge - Shoalhaven River - Barbers Creek - Long Point. Map: Caoura 1-31680. 16 KM. MEDIUM. LEADER: BILL BURKE: 871 1207 (H).
|CARLONS - Blackhorse Range - Blue Dog Range - Cox River - Ironmonger - Carlons Map: Jenolan 1:31680. 20 KM. MEDIUM. LEADER: GEORGE WALTON 498 7556 (H).
|BUNDEENA.- Marley - Deer Pool - Winifred-Falls - Audley - National Park Station. Train: 8.50E to Cronulla. Map: Royal Nat. Park Tourist. 18 KM. MEDIUM. LEADER: ROY BRAITHWAITE 445211 (6 p.m. - 7.p.m.)
|FAULCONBRIDGE Sassafrass Gully - Glenbrook Gorge - Glenbrook. Train: 8.10 (C). Maps: Springwood 1-31680, Penrith 1-25000. 20 KM. MEDIUM. LEADER: HANS BECK 798 0103.
|YALWAL CREEK - Eureka Plateau - Claret Pass - Fletcher's Crown - Danjera Plateau - Yarmak Spur - Bundundah Creek - Captain Spur - Reynolds Saddle - Danjera Dam. Map: Touga 1-31680. 40 KM MEDIUM/HARD. Limit 12 persons. LEADER: PETER HARRIS. 888 7316.
|RYLSTONE - Mt. Coricudgy - Mt. Kerry - Mt. Coriaday - Blackwater Ck Kekeelbon Mtn. - Mt. Coricudgy. Map: Coricudgy 1-25000. 50 KM. MEDIUM/HARD. LEADER: BRIAN HART 602 8633 (B)
|CAR CAMP AT YERRANDERIE, Tonalli River. Day 1: Yerranderie, Yerranderie Peak, Mootik Walls, Yerranderie. Day 2. Tonalli Gap, Mt. Colong, Colong Caves, Yerranderie. Maps: Yerranderie 1-31680, Bindook 1-31680. MEDIUM. LEADER: IAN DEBERT 646.1569 between 7-9 p.m. Thursday prior to walk.
|LOCKLEYS PYLON - Blue Gum Forest - Grand Canyon - Neates Glen - Mt Hay Rd - Du Faur Head. (Car Swap). Maps: Katoomba, Mt. Wilson 1-31680. 20 KM MEDIUM. LEADER: LEONE VELLA 50 9074.
|COATES' FARM - Starlights Trail - McArthurs Flat - Nattai River - Rocky Waterholes Ck - Coates Farm. Map: Hilltop 1-25000. 25 KM. MEDIUM. LEADER: BARRY WALLACE 72-0401 (B)
|KANANGRA - Gingra Track - Hughes Ridge - Kowmung River - Gingra Creek - Pages Pinnacle - Crafts Walls - Kanangra. Maps: Kanangra, Yerranderie 1-31680. 30 KM. MEDIUM. LEADER: TONY MARSHALL 48 2885.
|GROSE VALLEY - Govetts Leap - Junction Rock - Fortress Ck - Fortress Ck. Falls - Junction Rock - Govetts Leap. 8.30 a.m. start from Govetts Leap. Map: Katoomba 1-31680. 13KM MEDIUM. LEADER: VICTOR LEWIN. 504096 (H).
|LILYVALE - Squeeze Hole - Burning Palms - Palm Jungle - Otford. Train: 8.45(C) Tickets to Otford. Map: Otford 1-25000. 12 KM EASY. LEADER: KATE BROWN 81-2675 (H)