Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
Established June 1931.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers Incorporated, Box 4476 GPO, Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.45 pm at the Ella Community Centre, 58a Dalhousie Street, Haberfield (next door to the Post Office). Prospective members and visitors are invited to visit the Club on any Wednesday (except 27/9/89 and 4/10/89). To advertise in this magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|Editor||Morag Ryder, Box 347 PO, Gladesville 2111. Telephone 809 4241.|
|Business Manager||Anita Doherty, 2 Marine Crescent, Hornsby Heights, 2077.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray.|
|Printers||Kenn Clacher, Les Powell, Barrie Murdoch.|
In This Issue:
|Attention All Members!||Deborah Shapira||2|
|Proposed Purchase of New Printer||Morag Ryder||2|
|Walking in the Top End (The Northern Territory and Western Australia) - First week||Jan Mohandas||3|
|South-East Forests||Ainslie Morris||7|
|High on the Khumbu - Part 2||Wendy Lippiart & Sever Sternhell||8|
|The August General Meeting||Jim Brown||11|
|Letter to the Editor||Hans Stichter||13|
|Snow Tent Update||15|
|Carryings on in Cornwell||Almis Simankevicius||16|
|The Club Auction||17|
|Social Notes||Dot Butler||18|
|Federation Notes||Jeff Bridger||18|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||6|
|Blackheath Taxis & Tourist Services||12|
|Canoe & Camping - Gladesville & Kogarah Bay||14|
Attention All Members!
Notice is hereby given of two motions to be put forward at the October General Meeting to be held on Wednesday, 11th October, 1989:-
1. That the Club replace the printer currently in use. Expected cost is around $8,000.
2. That the Club compile and produce a Sydney Bush Walker Song Book to be ready, in time for the 1990 Reunion.
Proposed Purchase Of New Printer.
by Morag Ryder
At the June Committee Meeting it was decided that a notice be presented at the October General Meeting for the Club to purchase a new printer.
The Club's off-set printer requires a degree of skill to operate. This has created a problem which has plagued the magazine printing for some time - very few people are interested in learning to use the printer. As I am now Editor, I'm no longer involved with the actual printing, but feel considerable concern at the lack of volunteers to do the printing.
If a simple and satisfactory duplicator were used, the Club would have a better chance of getting a 'staff' of printers. Modern duplicators can now print on bond paper, reproduce drawings and even photos. These duplicators are simple enough to be operated by an office junior.
As duplicators are a one-person operation, this would allow two or three people to divide the printing between them. Each could put in a couple of hours on consecutive evenings, instead of two people spending five or six hours doing the printing in one night. There are very few members who have the expertise to operate an off-set printer, and even fewer who want to stand in a garage until midnight, doing the Club's printing.
This 'labour shortage' is a problem that will not go away, but remain for as long as the Club wishes to do its own printing. This was the primary reason for looking at replacement equipment. I have visited the various suppliers of duplicators, collected information and seen demonstrations. Further demonstrations can be arranged for those interested. The information collected has been given to the Committee, and a decision can be made regarding funds for the purchase of new equipment as and when the current printers require it.
Walking in the Top End (The Northern Territory and Western Australia) - First Week.
Keep River, Bungle Bungle and Kakadu National Parks: May-June 1989 - Part I: Keep River NP.
(First Week - 6th to 12th May 1989)
Saturday, 6th May 1989:
These walks, offered commercially by Russell Willis's Darwin based tour company called Willis's Walkabouts, were organized for the members of SBW by me and Alex Cimbleris. There were 26 participants. The first party of 12 regrouped at Darwin airport after 1.00 pm on 6th May. They were Jan Mohandas, Jim Percy, Jo van Sommers, Peter Kaye, Judy Mehaffey, Brian Holden, Ray Turton, Joan Hannon, Neil Mansfield, Patrick Wasielewski, Sue Blackwell and Bill Blackwell. Russell Willis and Chris Cox (a guide working for Russell) picked us up at the airport at 2.00 pm. We loaded our packs and travel bags into two 4WD vehicles (a Pajero 7 seater and a Nissan Patrol 7 seater) and headed off to Russell's house at the outskirts of Darwin, mainly to pick up the food for the first week and to leave our travel bags behind. Russell and Chris were our guides for the next two weeks, 1 week in Keep River NP (Keep R NP) and 1 week in Bungle Bungle NP (Bungles). All the food for 14 (12 walkers and 2 guides) were loaded into the vehicles and into a trailer attached to the Pajero. We left Russell's place at 3.30 pm. The destination for the night was Katherine. Chris and Russell did most of the driving for this trip with some help to drive the Nissan Patrol from me, Peter, Patrick and Ray. Russell found a caravan park at 7.30 pm in Katherine. We put the tents up first. Russell and Chris did the cooking with help from others. After some wine, we had BBQ chops, fried onions, boiled potatoes and a mixture of corn, canned tomatoes, pumpkin and chokos. Jo always volunteered to clean the billys and other items after every breakfast and dinner. Neil's appetite was so strong that no food was ever wasted. Sue and Bill managed to remain vegetarians throughout this trip. We went to sleep after cups of tea or coffee and more wine at about 11.30 pm.
Sunday 7th May 89:
Porridge with sultanas or Muesli for breakfast. We had the same breakfast everyday. We left the caravan park at 8.40 am. A number of bushfires on the way, sometimes very close to the road. We reached Victoria river town at 10.45 am and left at 11.00 am. Good facilities at the caravan park. We all had ice cream, biscuits, iced coffee etc. at the Victoria river inn. Very pleasant weather for travelling, about 25 C and nice breeze. Not humid at all. Total driving distance to Keep R NP is 850 km along Stuart and Victoria highways. We reached Timber creek town at 11.55 am and left after 40 min. 2 pubs, 2 petrol stations and other shops. Victoria River runs parallel to the road. About240 km from Timber Creek to Kununurra. Boab trees everywhere. After 200 km we turned off to Keep R NP information centre and Ranger's quarters at 2.30 pm [6 hours from Katherine]. This NP is in NT, bordering WA and north of Victoria Hwy. Russel had lengthy discussions with the Ranger about where we could walk and on which locations we could camp. We left at 3.10 pm for the picnic area, adjacent to the Keep river, about 30 mins drive away along a fire trail towards north-east. When we got there, Andrew Griffiths (another guide working for Russell) had already got to Keep R NP before us with another walking group. Russell suspected that they couldn't get to Mitchell's plateau where they were supposed to be, due to recent heavy rain. After lunch we went to the aboriginal “Cockatoo dreamtime” art site and natural arch location near the picnic area, crossing the Keep River. There were many paintings including the sacred rainbow serpent. We found a delightful camping area on sand upstream in the Keep River. We had the tents up and fire going at 6.00 pm. Chris made Tabouli and Russell cooked dried fish, potatoes and fresh vegetables (pumpkin, choko and carrots) mixed with canned tomatoes. Sue, Neil, Judy, Brian and others helped in cooking dinner and organizing breakfast and lunch everyday. Russell cooked potatoes in his camp oven. We had wine and then dinner. Russell also cooked a damper in the camp oven. After a series of jokes and singing everyone retired before 10.30 pm. All of us used mosquito nets every night.
[ Map of Bungle Bungle National Park ]
Monday 8th May 89:
I was quite happy to get up early every morning and light the campfire. After breakfast, the food share (about 4 kg per person) was carried out, and we left the campsite at 8.40 am (NT time). After getting the vehicles organized, we started to walk along the fire trail at 9.10 am. Our plan was to go around the massif (walk north first, then west and finally south), walk upstream along a creek which flows through the massif in order to reach the site for our base camp for the next 3 days in the gorge, flanked by high rocky walls. After about 6 km at a fork in the fire trail we took the left branch. It swung to west and then to south. Left the fire trail soon, walked towards south and later stopped for morning tea at 11.15 am. Temp then reached 32 C. Feeling very warm but not humid. Very pleasant in the shade and also due to gentle breeze. Stopped often to look at plants like Turkey bush with plenty of pink flowers and pandanas palms. We were walking near the rocky area, but through speargrass (about 2 m high) towards south. The rock formations were red in colour and had a pagoda like appearance and there were a large number of them everywhere. Many refer to the Keep R NP as mini Bungles. At about 12.25 pm we found a shady spot on the south side of a rocky area which was about 15 m high. We decided to have an early lunch at that spot. Russell said that usually his habit was to stop for lunch around 1.30 pm in order to get as much walking done before it got too hot. We all carried about a litre of water each. For lunch we generally had Ryvita, cheese, tomatoes, salami, tinned fish, jam, honey, peanut butter and carrots. We had similar lunch everyday. We left that lunch spot at 2.15 pm. We walked towards northwest and climbed up to get excellent views to the west and then saw several natural arches and plenty of interesting plants. We wandered around this exceptionally beautiful area (3.10 pm), then we headed towards further west and scrambled down a gully to find a delightful waterhole. Everyone had a dip in the water and had drinks and rest till 4.00 pm. Reached the big creek (camping area upstream) at 4.30 pm, walking towards west. We turned south to walk along the creek upstream. We were now walking through a gorge with high cliffs on both sides. Reached the camping area at 5.15 pm. Just before we got there, we saw Andrew Griffiths and another walker standing on top of the cliff. There were 7 in Andrew's party. Everyone went straight for a swim in the beautiful large pool near the camping area in the gorge. Russell made cheese and onion soup for starters. Dinner was boiled violet cabbage, vegetables, prawns and pine nuts mixed with vegetable pasta, followed by stewed fruit and custard. We stayed late (11.00 pm) as pleasant gentle breeze kept us cool and kept the mosquitoes away.
Tuesday, 9th May 89:
Pleasant morning. Andrew and his group left around 7.30 am. We had breakfast and got ready for our first day walk. The general plan was to go upstream in the gorge with high walls on both sides, scramble up to go west and then turn north and proceed to the main creek to get back to the base camp. Left campsite in the morning at 9.20 am. Walked along the gorge - 220 degrees bearing. At 10.15 am, extensive aboriginal paintings, a man on horse, serpent with ears, many men, etc. Through the gorge the walk was very pleasant. Temp was about 25 C. Nice breeze. We left the gorge after morning tea, swim and after collecting water at 11.20 am. We climbed up about 100 m, got to the top. Russell's plan was to go at 310 degrees bearing. At 12.20 pm we were at the edge of a steep rocky area wherefrom we could see the other gorge we were heading for. We walked southwards to pick up the start of a narrow gully and walked down. This led us through a steep gully, ramp and all towards north and took us to the big gorge we planned to reach. At 1.00 pm we decided to have lunch in a nice shady spot in the small gully with a running stream, on a dry rock ledge. The usual lunch. We left the lunch spot at 3.00 pm. After 20 min, we were walking along a larger creek still flowing, which would join the major creek downstream from the base camp. At about 4.30 pm, just before we got to the third gully on the left side of the creek, walking towards north, we saw some rare aboriginal paintings at the lower area of a spherical rock, black paintings, made with spinifex wax, all small figures. We left the aboriginal art site rock at 5.00 pm to go straight east, crossing the creek we were walking along, and then walked around a rocky area to get back to the base camp at 5.30 pm. Swimming first and then lemon barley with rum. We had this luxury almost every evening. For dinner we had tabouli and then the main course: chick peas, and vegetables mixed with dehydrated meat and for sweets, stewed prunes and custard. Everyone joined in in telling stories and jokes. Russel sang songs and told us many jokes as well and kept the party amused. We decided to go up to the top to watch the sunrise in the morning at 6.20 am. An early night at 10.00 pm.
Wednesday, 10th May 89:
At 6.30 am 11 of us went up to the top of the cliff on the western side of the gorge to watch the sunrise. About 100 meters climb. Beautiful morning. Sunrise was at about 7.05 am. Very clear and beautiful. Then we went to the edge to look down towards the campsite. We saw Russell getting the porridge ready. Bit of scrambling to get down. 7.30 am return. Then we had breakfast. Joan and Peter regularly had early morning swims as soon as they got up. Some others went for swim afterwards. Then it was time to get ready. The party now seems to have settled into a routine. Here in Keep, the sunlight became adequate at 6.45 am and got dark at 6.45 pm. We left the campsite at 9.50 am for our second day walk. Brian stayed back to nurse his right foot which gave him some trouble yesterday. We crossed over to the other side of the major creek, walked downstream to pick up the second side creek to the east which eventually led to a gorge. At 10.20 am we stopped to look at some aboriginal paintings, mostly hands and in particular a foot which is very rare. We left the art site at 10.30 am and walked upstream along the creek avoiding side creeks. We stopped when the view of the high rock formations were all around us. We had scroggin, dates and figs for morning tea (same for the rest of the trip) in the shadow of one of the rocks looking like an amphitheater. After morning tea break, we went to wander around a natural arch. We went higher up and stopped at 1.20 pm for lunch. In the creek there were a number of pools. Several members of the party were asleep by 2.15 pm. We left the lunch spot at 2.50 pm. We walked uphill first and then down a narrow gorge towards west. But there was a big drop. Then we took a side route to the north through a slot in the rock, turned to west and then followed a creek bed to go south. It joined up with the dry creek bed we had taken earlier on in the day. A number of stops on the way and returned to the campsite at 4.45 pm. Brian was still having a rest and said that his foot felt better. Everyone rushed off to the pool for a dip, washed their clothes and gathered around the fire. At 6.00 pm Russell brought out pappadums and cooked some on hot coal. Everyone joined in. Then we had chicken noodles soup and more pappadums. Main meal was Prawn curry mixed with vegetables and brown rice. Sweets: Apricots and custard. Russell then surprised us with 3 litres of Port wine. That gave the start necessary for a long session of singing. Jim the conductor, Peter with his mouth organ and Neil and Judy the main singers. Late night.
Thursday, 11th May 89:
We had breakfast and left the base camp at 9.15 am. We walked downstream a short while, crossed the main creek and took the first side creek on the eastern side of the campsite. After doing some scrambling up to the right side of the creek we saw a nice reasonably big rock pool. At 9.45 am we walked through a cave (the creek was flowing through) and saw some aboriginal paintings. Then as we walked up, we saw another big water hole. After climbing up, we saw a gigantic water hole. Russell said that these two pools were permanent water holes. We walked upstream scrambling up rocks as well as walking in sand. At 11.00 am we came to a fork in the creek, left towards south and right towards west. We decided to take the left creek and walk right through the massif and to camp at the bottom. At about 1.00 pm we came near some rocky area, on top of the massif. Russell climbed up to the top of one of the high rocky outcrops to get some idea about exactly where we were. Most of the people rested under a rock in the shade. We walked east till 1.35 pm and found a shady spot beside a high rocky area and had lunch. It was getting very hot. Around 3.00 pm several of us went up to the top of the rocky area, to look at the wonderful views. We were able to see the “Cockatoo dreamtime” art site at about 85 degrees bearing. We could also see the highest conical shaped mountain in Keep R NP to the north. We left at 3.40 pm. We walked to the east, downhill through a gorge and a waterfall. At 4.00 pm we changed direction to the south and walked for 30 minutes through thick tall grass. We stopped beside a creek at 5.00 pm. It turned out to be an excellent camping spot. We all went to have a dip in the creek and then sat around the fire and had cups of tea, nuts and other things. Chris then made cream of mushroom soup. Russell made wholemeal spaghetti with vegetables and dried fish. Then we had stewed apples and sultanas and custard. Russell produced the rest of the Port wine. The last of the walkers went to sleep around 11.00 pm. The moon was beginning to look very bright.
Friday 12th May 89:
Beautiful morning. No clouds in the sky. After breakfast, we got ready early in the morning to leave at 8.30 am. Russell and Patrick left at 8.00 am to walk about 10 km to go to the picnic area and get the vehicles for the party. The rest of us (12) with Chris leading the way walked east through tall speargrass for 1 hr and 15 min to get to the firetrail, about 5 km short of the picnic area. We stayed under the shade of a tree where Russell and Patrick had left their packs. We then had morning tea. Russell and Patrick arrived at 10.20 am. We put all our packs in the vehicles and left at 10.40 am. We drove to the Ranger's house near the turn off to Victoria Hwy. Russell wrote a letter to thank and inform the Ranger that his party was back and left to go to Kununurra. Very soon we had to stop at the border quarantine station for plants, fruits etc. The watches were changed from 11.40 (NT time) to 10.10 am (WA time). The sunrise at about 5.30 am and the sunset at about 5.30 pm. We drove into Kununurra at about 10.45 am. We all wrote greeting cards, had milkshakes, ice creams, orange juice and other things. Willis and Chris went to do the big shopping for the 1 week trip in Bungles. They came back around 12.30 pm and we went for lunch at the picnic area near the Ord river dam. Some had a careful dip (salt water crocodiles in this river) and we all had an excellent lunch with fresh bread, salad, cheese, ham, oysters, and fresh apples. At about 2.00 pm we drove to Kimberleyland caravan park at the outskirts of Kununurra near the Ord river to camp. Then we participated in the food share (3-4.5 kg per person). Russell loaded his pack with plenty of fuel for cooking as open fires were not allowed in Bungles. We all went to a pub at about 6.00 pm for dinner. 6 of us had Barramundi with vegetables and the rest had take away pizzas. Russell wanted to leave at 6.30 am in the morning to go to Bungles. We got back to the camping area at 9.30 pm and soon went off to sleep.
(To be continued. Part II in October issue of this magazine).
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South East Forests.
by Ainslie Morris
In the rugged ranges of south-east NSW, the moist eucalypt forests have been logged for timber all of this century, supporting small villages such as Wyndham with its huge log in its little park, and small towns such as Nimitabel and Eden. The late 1960's saw a dramatic change from saw logging for the building industry to clear-felling for the manufacture of woodchips. The Total Environment Centre drew attention to the coupes, large areas denuded of all trees by bulldozers, and the consequent soil erosion and depletion of wildlife habitat. Harris-Daishowa, the company permitted by the NSW Forestry Commission, has had tours of the woodchip mill on the south side of Twofold Bay, near Eden, and its coloured publicity brochure admits that the wildlife is “temporarily disadvantaged”.
Now the fully Japanese owned Daishowa International, the company wants to cling on to an extraordinarily cheap supply of timber, logged and chipped by an extraordinarily compliant, supportive and uncritical local populace.
Enter the Wilderness Society, now a successful Australia-wide conservation lobby group since the Franklin campaign in Tasmania. With T.E.C. as well as numerous local groups, forming the South-East Forest Alliance, or S.E.F.A., it has tried for years to have the national parks extended in the area to include Coolangubra, Tantawangalo and Egan Peaks. All are listed for National Estate approval because of their high wilderness value, especially as habitats for endangered species of arboreal mammals such as possums, gliders and koalas.
The media have told the story more recently so there should be no need to reiterate details here; they are obtainable on information sheets from The Wilderness Society, 53 Liverpool Street, Sydney. The campaign, however, changed at the end of February from the level of polite scientific submissions and letter-writing to direct action. The Federal Government renewed the export licence for woodchips in 1988 and after a moratorium and failed negotiations, the bulldozers moved back in. It appears provocative for them to have moved into the heart of the best forest areas. This is where the loggers meet protesters, meet police. This is called Direct Action.
I think you need a philosophy of life, well mixed with scientific facts, to give you a Greenie view on the forest debate. I believe that we need:
- All the forest we can preserve to counteract the rise in carbon dioxide contributing to the Greenhouse Effect.
- Wilderness for a gene pool of wildlife and plant species, and for our human sanity (health of mind).
- Clean waters in the streams for wildlife, including coastal marine life, as well as stock and residents.
And what do we want to sustain our present life style?
- Good logs for construction timber
- Good bushwalking areas
- Good areas for scientific research.
The next question is, do we need and/or want woodchips for the paper they make? If the answer is yes, then we could ask if they can be obtained from other forests. The Wilderness Society studies show that eucalypt plantations could be established on marginal rural land mostly west of the natural forests, but the N.S.W. Forestry Commission disputes the feasibility of this. But I believe that humanity is now at the crossroads of survival, and reafforestation at any cost must be given a go.
December deadline for Coolangubra.
In December the woodchipping licence is due to be renewed for 15 years. According to the Forestry Commission, by year 2013 only 350,000 tonnes of pulpwood will be available each year. Yet if the supply falls below 800,000 tonnes, Harris Daishowa will close. The imputation is clear. Having razed the forest for 15 years, Harris Daishowa will simply go elsewhere. Then what will the people of Eden do for jobs? It is unlikely there will be enough suitable logs to support even a small mill. If this disaster is to be averted, start writing now, preferably to the Editors of the Sydney papers. Perhaps also a few words of complaint to Messrs Causley, Cook, Carr and Hawke.
High On The Khumbu - Part 2.
by Wendy Lippiart & Sever Sternhell
We spent day five acclimatising at Dingboche and walked up to about 16,000 ft up a ridge between Dingboche and Periche. Unfortunately, the view was rapidly disappearing in cloud and by the time we returned, it was snowing in Dingboche and continued all night.
On day six we pressed on to Chhukhung, a tiny isolated yarsa with two lodges about three hours away and by the time we reached it the weather was clearing to reveal a breath-taking glacial landscape, dominated by a still different view of Ama Dablam, the great wall of Lhotse towering above our heads and the spectacular fluted ice ridges of the Amphu Habtsa range. Our lodge, whilst very small and primitive boasted a solar panel of Spanish origin and hence electric lights. It was run by a delightful and helpful family which included a bright little 10 year old boy, 5 puppies, 14 yaks and 4 yaklings.
On day seven in brilliant conditions we walked toward Island Peak (the only “easily” climbable Himalayum) which provided one of the highlights of the trip. East of Chhukhung, the landscape is entirely glacial and all around us were towering peaks freshly covered with pristine snow. We climbed fairly high (to 18,000 ft according to Bir, but lower on the map) and well beyond the Island Peak base camp. When we got tired of oohing and aahing in the thin air and shooting off metres of film, we returned to our lodge lightheaded, half blinded by glare and highly satisfied.
On day eight, still in good weather, we reached Labuche. We were walking well at high altitude keeping high above the river valley which bears directly north between Periche and Labuche. The views changed with progress along the track, but remained spectacular with the oddly shaped peak of Taboche dominating the landscape. Just before reaching Labuche, the well-graded trail ascends about 1000 ft, but this trivial climb makes one's lungs work hard at this altitude. The French sounding suffixes of the Khumbu place names apparently derive from a sainted Lama “touching down” at these spots - but we cannot vouch for this information as we received it in basic English from Bir. Labuche is another “trekkified” yarsa and the AMS capital of the world. At just over 16,000 ft the atmospheric pressure is half that at sea level and most trekkers find it hard to sleep, suffer headaches and lose appetite. Our group was much better acclimatised than most due to our side-trip to Chhukhung (parties generally proceed directly from Dingboche to Labouche) and we were not unduly distressed. It is also hard to determine whether the feeling of lightheadedness is due to mild mountain sickness, or to the awe-inspiring scenery.
[ Map of Khumbu. ]
Day nine was devoted to the ritual climb of Kala Pater, the Mecca of all Khumbu treks. This rounded green hill topped by a pile of boulders towers about 1500 feet above the Khumbu glacier and the Everest base camp, which are clearly visible. We had excellent weather and great 360° views with Everest, Pumo Ri and Nuptse (now seen sidewise as a sharp peak rather than a wall) dominating the landscape. We were also able to follow the progress of a Korean climbing party on Nuptse. The four climbers, clearly seen through Wendy's binoculars, were close to the top with two of them following fixed ropes and the two lead ones climbing free on what looked like an 80° ice field. We could also see clearly their base camp on the Khumbu glacier. We learned later that they reached the top and suffered severe frost bite - they will lose many fingers between them.
Our sherpa, Bir, urged us to proceed from Labuche directly to Gokyo via a high pass (Chola La) as we had originally planned, but we chickened out mainly because a party of three tough-looking British and American trekkers we met at Labouche had just come that way from Gokyo and found it horrific. In retrospect, we feel that they must have followed a wrong route because others had no problems. In the event, we spent day ten taking a long way to Portse, a genuine (i.e., not trekkified) Sherpa village. It was the only place where one of our porters had trouble communicating because some of the locals could not speak Nepali, only the local language - Sherpa.
Between Pangboche and Portse, the trail runs very high above the northern bank of Imja Khola affording good views south and surprising helicopter traffic to and from Tengboche. We learned later, that they were ferrying out people with AMS. We also saw many impressive wild mountain goats. These chamois-like creatures, as benefitting the Himalayas, are larger than their European counterparts. From Portse, there was a clear evening view up the valley of Dudh Kosi to Gokyo and beyond and we could clearly see the great pyramid of Cho Oya (8153 m) at the head of the valley due north.
Day eleven was spent trekking up the valley of Dudh Kosi to Machermo and, although the track is nearly all above 14,000 ft, we were so well acclimatsed that altitude presented no difficulty. In the tiny hamlet of Mechem (best known for Yeti sightings) there was only one open lodge and it was full of trekkers, mainly a group of Brits serving with the British Army on the Rhine in West Germany. Although quite pleasant, they showed no inclination to crowd together. Our sherpa and porters squeezed in somehow while we pitched our tents (finally making use of them) in front of the lodge and spent a comfortable night at about 10°.
Day twelve saw high cloud and the half-day trip to Gokyo was icy but uneventful. Just before Gokyo, the trail passes two small lakes each one with a pair of brightly-coloured ducks floating on the ice-free patches in the middle. It is a mystery how these creatures survive the winter. We put up for the night in the less smoky of the two lodges which were open and slept soundly at 16,000 feet, while outside snow starting falling, turning our host's black ill-tempered yaks in the yard, white.
By the morning of day thirteen, the landscape was pure white, the snow was still falling and spirits were low. We spent the morning watching our host attempting to round up his yaks before closing the lodge and going down the valley with the herd. At the outset, he had two out of the reputed 14 in the yard. By the time he came back with the third, the two escaped and trotted up in decreasing visibility up the slope of Gokyo Ri - we had no way of controlling the large surly beasts. By noon, we decided that staying at Gokyo was too risky - it is a very remote spot to be snowed in. We left behind our irrate host, 14 yaks, 3 Swiss, two Americans and the didi (literally elder sister, but in fact the term is used to describe any youngish woman) who ran the second lodge. Given what happened next, they must have had a very uncomfortable week.
While we regretted abandoning one of our prime objectives, climbing Gokyo Ri, a Kale Patar-like hill with a great view, our decision was very fortunate. We passed Machermo, where the Brits were still acclimatising and wondering what to do next in view of the continuing snow, and pressed on to Dole. By the end of day thirteen, a very white Christmas Day, we were comfortably settled in a large lodge of which we were the sole occupants.
During the night, the weather turned into a Himalayan blizzard - it was snowing inside the lodge through the numerous cracks and it was difficult to determine in the zero visibility if the snow was falling thickly or was being merely blown about. These conditions persisted during the whole of day fourteen, and only the horns could be seen of the several large yaks in the yard. Very soon, snow accumulated against the door so that certain necessary trips became a problem and the usual feminist complaints concerning the unfair male endowments became heard. Fortunately, no action was taken.
Day fifteen dawned in brilliant sunshine, the lodge owner dug out his yaks, and the toilet could be reached after some digging. More digging produced a path to the brow of the hill (Dole is in a hollow) and we thought that our problem was essentially over because we imagined that the huge drift in which our lodge nestled was merely rearranged snow and we expected to find some bare track for every drift on our way down the valley. It soon became obvious that snow 3 to 6 feet deep covered all of our route. Progress was slow and painful, not helped by the fact that Bir, who naturally took the lead, wore jeans which quickly soaked through and froze. Wendy (literally swimming through snow) and Buddha (using his strong body as a bulldozer) relieved Bir over considerable stretches, but by the time we reached a military post at Portse Tsenga, we were all tired and Bir was close to exhaustion and hypothermia. He nevertheless navigated brilliantly following the right course on the steep, partly wooded and cliff-ridden slope.
Day sixteen was taken up by trekking back to Namche via the Sherpa village of Khumjung nestling under the holy mountain of Khumbila. Fortunately some other party made the tracks through the snowy landscape thus making the trip pleasurable in great weather. Day seventeen, was a well-deserved rest in Namche, which presented a different aspect in the snow.
Thus we spent a total of 17 days in the high country and, with the exception of our retreat Prom Gokyo, we achieved all of our objectives with the minimum of fuss in spite of the unseasonal snow falls. It can be done and easily done at that.
The trip back to Jiri was a virtual play-back of our approach journey. We spent a pleasant New Year's Eve in Khari Khola drinking a negligible amount of beer and eating some tins of Thai sardines to mark the festive occasion with a couple of Kiwi girls and other trekkers. One of us found some aspect of this party too much for the system, spent the rest of the night throwing up and greeted 1989 looking like a ghost. Nevertheless, she managed to climb 4,500 feet next day over the Tragsindo Pass and, too tired to complain, collapsed without eating at Ringmo while the rest of us sat up sampling locally made apple brandy - the only potable drink produced in Nepal. A third unseasonal snowfall caught us on the Lamjura Pass (3530 m, 11,580 ft) to be followed by even more unseasonal rain as we descended on the other side.
The bus trip from Jiri to Kathmandu was only moderately uncomfortable and we recovered during four days in Kathmandu catching up on eating well, showering, shopping and visiting exotic historic spots (Bhaktapur, Patan, Swayambunath - all very rewarding). The total experience can be recommended to all and sundry.
The way of the tiger.
When Peter Treseder decided to draw attention to the need for National Parks, he did it by journeying down the east coast through 58 National Parks. In 41 days he covered 5,500 Km without a support party - only food dumps every 500 Km. Along the way, the Jardine River caught his interest. So he returned with a party of four to canoe its full length. It took them 3 weeks to make the double journey of 500 Km. Due to extremely dense rainforest and dangerous Esturine ('salt-water') crocodiles, the headwaters of the Jardine had never been fully explored. When they did meet a 5 metre 'salty' they were 220 Km upstream in their little canoes.
Want to hear (and see) the rest of the story?
Come to the Clubroom on October 25th, when Peter will be showing his slides on these epic journeys. Tiger walking indeed!
The August General Meeting.
by Jim Brown
The Club's Top Brass, that is, President Don Finch and Vice Kenn Clacher, both had other fish to fry (or maybe skis to wax) on the evening of August 9th, when former President Barbara Bruce declared the General Meeting open at 8.10 pm. (Note - your usual political roundsman, Barry Wallace, would render this as 2010 hours, but he too was one of the apologies and was also waxing skis). The fourth apology came from Conservation Officer, Alex Colley, who was not doing anything with skis. In fact, there was such a meagre gathering that the question was asked whether we had a quorum, and we had, but not by a big margin. Even two freshly-admitted members were not present to be decorated. Reporter's question…. Seeing they were male and the Chairperson was not, would they have been kissed on reception?
There was nothing arising from the July Minutes, and only a few items of Correspondence. This included a letter of resignation from Sue and Bill Blackwell, returning to their homeland in USA, and thanking the Club for the opportunity it gave them to see something of the less frequented bits of Australia. SBW members going to the Massachusetts area would be happily greeted at their home after they are re-established there. The Wilderness Society thanked us for our support and gave notice of another Ball to be held late in August; and the Tree Rescue Group noted with pleasure Jim Oxley's story in a recent magazine of their activities in the South-East Forests. It is to be reproduced in their newsletter.
Treasurer Spiro reported that receipts for the last month amounted to $1687 (including about $1240 in subscriptions from people who just missed the axe as unfinancial). Disbursements included the standard items of rental, postages on two issues of the magazine, grog for the Mid-Winter Feast, and the like, and a request for approval to pay the Federation dues. The bank balance stood at $2480.
On to the Walks Report. For several months lately the customary plaint was “wet… wet… wet”. Since the end of the Big Wet in June, this time it tended to be “cold… cold… cold”. The flavour of the month was ski-touring - with five out of the 17 trips listed on the program coming into that category. The first weekend included Morrie Ward's walking at Barrington and on Wangat River (very cold). Nine folk were there, a giant snail shell was discovered, and the trip included a steep ridge ascent and a longish trail march on the last day, but was very satisfying. That weekend Jan Mohandas had a walk from Kanangra to Gangerang, Kanangra Creek and Paralyser, and it is known that it went ahead, but no information was available. The same “nil report” covered Ian Debert's weekend at Coolana, and George Walton's day walk from Katoomba.
On the following weekend 21/24 July there were two ski-touring jaunts programmed, and both went. Ian Wolfe (party of 4) arrived at Cesjacks to find snow on the ground and “about 8 inches overnight”. Their trip proceeded, and finished in driving sleet on the last day. Chris Perry's “easy” ski trip from Dead Horse Gap was reported by Les Powell as including a camp on the snow “desperately cold”… but “we survived”. Of those not on skis, it appears Jim Oxley's trip into the Jenolan country did not go, and one potential starter joined Don Finch's walk from Carlons to Kennel Flat, which had 16 members, included a side trip to Mount Mouin, and encountered rain on Sunday which sent the party back to the cars by about 3.00 pm. Of the day walk on 23rd July, Alan Mewett reported it was taken over by Mark Weatherby as he was recovering from recent surgery. Sixteen members and five prospectives went into the Mangrove Creek area, west of Gosford, and fortunately found a generous overhang to shelter them for lunch near Mount Lockyer.
Over the following 28/31 July weekend Oliver Crawford took a trip from Newnes, originally programmed to go west along the Capertee/Wolgan divide, but in bitter windy conditions, the party of four curtailed it to a walk from Newnes to a cave near Mount Dawson and return. There was skiing too, with a Beginners Cross Country led by David McIntosh from Cabramurra. Eight members, one prospective, two visitors attended, found cold and rainy conditions leading to slushy snow and after a few short trips on ski, and driving out towards Mount Selwyn, the team finally retreated to Canberra's Art Gallery on the Sunday. Wendy Aliano's Kowmung jaunt was deferred, and on the Saturday Nancye Alderson had a party of seven, with two prospectives and three visitors on the historical tour at Goat Island and Balls Head around Sydney Harbour. Errol Sheedy's day walk from Waterfall in cold, overcast conditions, with 14 people went as planned, seeing some superb bushes of Sydney Boronia.
The final weekend under notice again included two ski jaunts, but Ian Wolfe's trip was merged with Chris Perry's journey towards Gungarlin and Jagungal. Apparently there was little or no snow around Jagungal, but to make it really cheerful there was visibility of about 30 metres at times. Your reporter failed to note the combined attendance figures. And to end the walking, Morrie Ward had the prize for the month with 27 citizens in the Wattagan country, south-west from Newcastle, passing through attractive patches of rain forest on a pleasant day.
To the winding up stages. A fuller report by Reg Alder on the illness Giardia (summarised in the June magazine) was tabled to be read by any members interested, and Secretary Deborah Shapira announced that various magazines from other outdoor clubs were available for borrowing (and return) by members. Also some extra copies of the Colong Bulletin, supplied by Alex Colley.
The final spice was a request from Federation that it be permitted to hold its 1990 Annual Reunion at Coolana on May 11/12/13. Committee had given a tentative blessing, subject to an announcement at the August meeting and resolution at the September General Meeting. Some speakers mentioned doubts in the past about the desirability of making known an attractive site to a larger body - even of walkers. Federation President Gordon Lee mentioned that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find a suitable camping place that could be reached by older walkers and family groups: that he felt it would show other clubs the sort of thing that conservation-minded walkers could achieve; and that any unruly element at Federation Reunions has been discouraged in recent years. While indicating general agreement, the meeting decided to leave it to be voted on next month.
Was all this said in 48 minutes? We wound up at 8.58 pm (oh, sorry, Barry - 2058 hours).
Belvedere Taxis Blackheath.
10 seater mini bus taxi. 047-87 8366.
Kanangra Boyd. Upper Blue Mountains. Six Foot Track.
Pick up anywhere for start or finish of your walk - by prior arrangement.
Share the fare - competitive rates.
Letter to the Editor.
From Hans Stichter
It was with considerable interest that I read Frank Rigby's comments regarding S.B.W. Reunions (June magazine). I support the view that attempts should be made to revive our annual reunion. Whilst not having been a dedicated reunion attendee in recent years, I offer the following comments and suggestions for consideration by the Club's committee. It is stressed that my comments are not intended as a form of criticism for current committee position holders or an attempt to discredit the usefulness of our bush haven “Coolana”.
1. Should the Club's activities, including the Annual Reunion be more orientated towards family involvement?
Basically, our Club is orientated towards activities for singles or childless parents (intentional or unintentional I am not sure!). The number of walks that appear on the walks program where children are able to participate are very few - two leaders who do lead such walks are David Rostron and Margaret Reid. Perhaps some encouragement of leaders to put on family walks along the lines of the “Family Bush Walking Club” would encourage, not only a better spread of members on walks, but also encourage more families to participate in the reunion.
2. Vary the venue for the Annual Reunion.
The Annual Reunion has been held for many years at Coolana, almost as if we are obligated to do so, or perhaps, as it is the easy way out of finding another suitable location. Coolana is a magnificent piece of land, but some variety as to what site the Club uses for its Annual Reunion reduces the monotony of using the same site year after year. Surely, there are other suitable sites within 1-2 hours drive of Sydney, which are readily accessible by transport (public and private) that would prove suitable for a reunion. Sites don't need to be 'wilderness' or 'bush' retreats to result in a successful reunion. (I have some ideas for locations that I would be happy to discuss with you.)
3. Instigate a Questionnaire to all Club members for feedback and ideas on Reunions.
Many members probably are concerned at the demise of the Annual Reunion. However, human nature being what it is, will probably show that there will be little response to the article in the June magazine. Draw up a questionnaire asking all Club members for their ideas and suggestions on why they don't attend reunions, and on what basis they would be encouraged to attend future ones. Areas that could be covered in the questionnaire could include - accessibility problems, time availability problems, preference of reunion sites, types of activities preferred, etc.
4. Encourage (and recruit!) additional members to actively participate in Reunion Activities.
As Frank Rigby indicated in his article, in earlier years a convenor and several additional members were elected weeks beforehand to run the Reunion. My impression is that generally the same members (and many thanks to them!) organise and participate in the Reunion preparations, sing songs, skits etc. Surely with a Club of some 400-599 members, we have some additional people willing and able to help Jim and his merry men/women. What it requires is a little extra effort to chase these members - e.g. telephone survey/questionnaire.
I strongly encourage the S.B.W. Committee to investigate what steps need to be taken to revive our reunion. It is not always possible to hang on to our “old ways”, given that we are living in a continually changing society where people's needs and wants are also different to years gone by. We need to question what changes need to be made (albeit on a trial basis only) and what our members want, rather than allowing it to 'just happen', quoting Frank Rigby's words. We also need to encourage greater participation and that approach may need to come from our Club's management team.
I am sure we can revive our Annual Reunion, and look forward to possibly assisting with our next one.
Lady's Hiking Boots “Bunyip” Size 38 Grey leather. Near new. Cost $150 - Will sell for $70 o.n.o. - Phone “Kell” - 550 3615.
Canoe & Camping.
265 Victoria Road, Gladesville, 2111. Phone (02) 817 5590. Hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Thurs 9-7, Sat 9-4. (Parking at rear off Pittwater Road).
226 Princes Highway, Kogarah Bay, 2217. Phone (02) 546 5455. Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5.30, Thurs 9-7, Sat - 9-4.
A large range of lightweight, quality, bushwalking & camping gear:
- Lightweight food for backpackers and canoeists
- Cold weather protection clothing and raingear
- Maps, books and leaflets
- Information service for canoeists and walkers
- Survival gear
We stock the largest range of canoeing gear in N.S.W.
Quality touring craft of all types. High quality, performance competition craft.
- A huge range of paddles for all types of canoeing
- Surf skis
- All types of spray covers
- Wide range of jackets & cags
- Face masks
- Many types of buoyancy & life vests
Club members who knew them will be saddened to hear of the deaths of four of our elderly members or ex-members during the last months.
- Doreen Berry (Tuggy) - Honorary Member
- Gordon Redmond - Honorary Member
- Marion Ellis - Member over many years until recently
- Kath Burke - an early Member
It is hoped that obituary notices telling of their time with the Club will be published in next month's magazine.
Snow Tent Update.
How did your snow tent perform this year? Did it collapse under the snow or buckle in the wind - was it difficult to pitch, or did the floor leak? Some of the best current models are listed here. Macpac's Olympus rates the highest, and the Eureka Expedition Caddis seems good value.
|Model||People||Design||Weight (kg)||Room||Ventilation||Pitching||Wind tolerance||Quality||Snow shedding||Price|
|North Face Westwind||2||Tunnel||2.6||3||3||3||3||4||3||$765|
|Wilderness Equipment First Arrow||2/3||Tunnel||3.4||3||4||4||4||4||4||$699|
|Eureka Expedition Caddis||2/3||Tunnel||3.4||4||3||3||3||3||3||$435|
Found and injured wild bird or animal and don't know how to cope?
Ring Wildlife Information and Rescue Service (W.I.R.E.S) and they will take care of the invalid. Phone: 975.1633.
Carryings On In Cornwell.
by Almis Simankevicius
Reports of rain were dismissed with a casual air of nonchalance by us experienced travellers. Anyway, we had our wet weather gear. Still, one sunny day out of three rain soaked ones was very appreciated. We left the Penzance Youth Hostel, reputedly built many years ago by smugglers furthering their business enterprises. Guy would return while the St Just hostel was my next goal. The bus dropped us at St Just, the last town before Land's End, the most westerly point on the British mainland.
After a fortifying lunch of chicken and chips (and half a pint of Guiness for my cold), we followed the walking track to the coast. This is “Poldark” country, the boom of the sea swell against the cliffs, the lonely ruins of tin mining operations and legends of pirates and smugglers. A brisk sea breeze accompanied us as we walked the five miles around to Sennen Cove and Land's End.
The experienced travellers had not checked the local bus timetables, so had missed the return bus by ten minutes. Well, that gave us two hours to look at souveniers and have coffee. Mostly English tourists here. We finally boarded the 5.06 bus to Penzance. Here I found that the next bus from there to St Just was at 8.00 pm! As the bus was grinding its way along I saw a sign to my destination, said goodbye to my companion and asked the bus driver to let me out. I was angry at myself for not paying more attention to the timetables as these services are infrequent and we hostellers do enough walking as it is. With a lift from a kindly local, I was soon safely ensconced in the cosy hostel. Warm log fire, dinner and rest.
Devouring Cornish pasties with a cup of tea is de rigeur in these parts, as are raincoats. Originally created so that the workers would have a filling meal out on the fields or in the mines, the Cornish pastie has been exported around the world.
The seaside towns of Marazion, St Ives and Newquay all have a beguiling charm about them. The tidal changes around the Cornish peninsula are amazing. To visit the castle on St Michael's Mount, you have to wait for low tide to walk across the causeway or pay a quid to be ferried over.
The amenities and charm of Newquay attracts the English holiday makers and there are plenty of amusement arcades here. I set off for a delightful ten mile coastal walk towards Perranporth. It was very sunny and a delightful sea-breeze kept the pesky flies and bumble bees away. The marvellous smell of the sea sharpened my appetite and the Treguth Public House was happy to feed me.
It's surprising to see surfboards in Britain, but here on the two mile long surf beach were a few daring wetsuit clad riders enjoying the beaut conditions.
Perranporth Hostel kitchen overlooked the sea, as David (a nuclear engineer), his wife Claire and myself prepared our meals. Really, they should play down the “Youth” prefix of these hostels as there is no age limit or professional discrimination. Next morning, after you nave completed your assigned task they add another ink stamp to your little book.
It was raining again as I climbed off the bus at Tintagel. This is the supposed birthplace of King Arthur. A neat-as-a-pin town certainly geared to the tourist trade.
King Arthur's this and King Arthur's that, but it was all good fun. The ruins of Arthur's castle were perched high above the cliffs leaving very little access for those ancient marauders. The road to the hostel passed down by an ancient chapel in which you could light a candle. Then up to an eleventh century church with its Norman tower. The managers of this hostel provide homemade meals and keep a relaxed friendly place.
The “famous five” had burst onto the scene. Five Australian girls; two Janes, Kim, Georgie, Angie; and all were thirsty. So I joined them at the “Cornishman” pub for dinner and a number of pints. On the way back we dared each other to walk through the church's graveyard. Three of us did, and as we peered through one of the stained glass windows we saw an eerie moving light. We broke the speed limit getting back to the hostel.
The village squares are quaint and the cathedrals ancient. I popped inside one and listened to the evensong. Very soothing.
The Cornish have a more sedate rhythm to their lives, although that is gradually changing due to the encroaching tourist industry and money from London. They always have time for a chat and are hospitable, but don't ever make the mistake of calling a Cornishman - “English”.
The Club Auction.
On Wednesday 30th August the Club Auction was held with about 50 people present and Charlie Brown as auctioneer. With his amazing patter that keeps things going, Charlie cleared the decks and brought in the money in double quick time. Most items for sale were of a bushwalking nature - packs, tents, sleeping bags, groundsheets and jackets. These were bought up quickly, some for little money (a good pack went for $2), but where there was some competition the prices were higher, but still bargains.
A pushbike with a reserve of $50 eventually sold for $115. (The reserve goes to the seller, the balance to the Club.) Five bottles of sparkling wine went, as a lot, for $11.50, a Japanese enamel pendant for $10.50, a compass for $15, an old down sleeping bag for $10. There were also sundry household items, some of which were sold, some were given away as extras with items that were paid for. It was great fun, lots of laughter, and a total of $251 was raised for Club funds. Many thanks to Charlie for his good work.
For those who have difficulty in estimating how far they walk in a given period, Federation News recently printed a useful little guide.
|On Track||12 minutes per kilometre|
|Open Scrub||20 minutes per kilometre|
|Medium Scrub||30 minutes per kilometre|
|Thick Scrub||40 minutes per kilometre|
|Rock Hopping||30 minutes per kilometre|
Please add the following names etc to your List of Members:-
- CameronN, Ms Brenda, 5/41 Doomben Avenue, Eastwood, 2122. 858 2013.
- Churcher, Mr Paul, 40 Wilson STreet, Kogarah, 2217. 587 2617.
- Wasielewski, Mr Patrick, 18 Crookwell Avenue, Miranda, 2228. (B) 516 7634.
by Dot Butler
Wednesday 20th Sept. Up & Down in New Zealand by Jim Oxley. Edited slides of Routeburn, Caples, Rees-Dart, Dusky, Copeland, Arthur's Pass, Nelson Lakes, Tongeriro, etc Tracks.
Friday 22nd Sept. Bushwalkers Ball, Petersham Town Hall. Theme “The Greenhouse Effect”. $8 pay at door. 8 pm till midnight. B.Y.O. Food & Drink. Band “The Hotfoot String Band”. Contact Beverley Foulds if you would like to join the S.B.W. party. Phone 798 5650.
Clubroom closed on Wednesday 27th Sept. and Wednesday 4th October.
Wednesday 18th Oct. “Hazardous Chemicals” by Dr. Kate Short (Total Environment Centre). Dinner before the meeting at Da Carlo Italian Restaurant, 175 Ramsay St. Haberfield.
Wednesday 25th Oct. Peter Treseder tells of his run across Australia from North to South. (See also Page 10 of this magazine).
by Jeff Bridger
The Federation of Bushwalkers is trying hard to have the Nattai area declared a National Park before mining interests can lay claim to it. Can we lead more trips there? This would add weight to the claim that it is 'extensively used' by walkers.
Recently sighted near Hilltop was a collection of truly massive earth-moving equipment, beside the beginnings of a road. Enquiries brought the response that it was 'a private road' (a very rich farmer?). Perhaps those mining companies are getting in quickly, before any conservation order can be issued.
The C.M.W. have just finished marking an alternative route around the Big Swamp near Corang Peak. During the past wet years it has been 'mud to the armpits'. The new track will allow you to keep your feet (relatively) dry.
Bad news about Barrington. The advisory committee for Barrington Tops is being 're-organised'. F.B.W. advises that those members who want to close roads and emphasise conservation are being pushed to the sidelines, while those with a desire to 'open up' the area are being given positions of power. We had better start signing petitions NOW, or it will be another case of 'too little too late'.
It isn't often that the club makes trips to the Kimberleys, but if anyone is interested they could contact the Friends of The Kimberleys, who meet at 7 pm in the Wilderness Society rooms, 1st floor, 53 Liverpool Street, Sydney, on the first and third Thursday of every month. Or they could ring The Wilderness Society on 267 7929.
October 20th, Friday Wilderness Society Dance - begins 7.30 pm at Petersham Town Hall. Celebrate the coming of spring with 'Eureka!' and their genuine Australian folk music.
Conference: “The State of our Rivers” to be held at the A.N.U. in Canberra, 28/29 Sept. It will examine the evolving legal and administrative structures, the competing demands and impact of different uses, including agricultural, urban and industrial, which affect the health of the river system. For further information contact 'The State of our Rivers Conference', Phone (062) 49 4580 or GPO Box 4, Canberra ACT 2601.
Demonstration of new printer.
At the General Meeting on 11th October it is expected that there will be a demonstration of the proposed new printer. This should help members make up their minds about the necessary expenditure.