Sunday, March 17, 2013

Six Foot Track Reconnaissance

For some time now we (Martin and Virginia) and our friends (Ann and Mike) have been planning to walk the six foot track. The track is 44 long bridleway between Katoomba and Jenolan Caves and is normally walked in 3 days with two overnight camps.

Now Ann, Mike and Virginia have been training for this walk but I, have not. The consequences of this became apparent when we all went camping for a night at Umina and went on a couple of bush walks,,one of 8.6 k and one of 6 k. The others had packs with stuff, I just had me and that was enough; I did the walks but I was buggered! The scenery was lovely, we saw some wild life, everyone was happy but I was a bit on the slow side.

So we reverted to the original plan (that I had initially indignantly rejected) that I would be the support crew, getting all the gear to the camping sites and setting everything up ready for the arrival of the unencumbered walkers.

The purpose of this reconnaissance for Virginia and I to see that we could drive to the camp sites and to test our camping abilities. There are two campsites, Cox's River and Black Ridge. There were no problems with the latter; access is well documented. The Cox's river site was more problematic in that I couldn't find any authoritative information as how to get there.

Information from George at the Lands Department and close study of topographical maps and Google Earth produced what seemed to be a viable route from Katoomba to the Cox's River Camp - and by golly it was a viable route. We have a Subaru Forester which is AWD with a special low gear ratio for special occasions and this was a special occasion. The last ten kilometers really grabbed our attention and it needed a combined effort (I drive and Virginia anticipates and focuses) to get through. We didn't take any photos; the picture below is that last bit of the journey to the camp site - courtesy of Google Earth.

Before we set up camp we went for a little walk, up one side of the river, across a suspension bridge (not as dodgy as it feels), back down the other side of the river and then across a ford back to the camp site.

Virginia had a particularly interesting time at the ford  but she did chose a very scenic location. I crossed elsewhere and only went in to my calves. Our camp once set up was a great source of comfort and cups of tea.

We had Irish Stew for supper and Bacon & Beans for breakfast the next morning. Virginia slept well apart from when I disturbed her. I didn't sleep so well; I am still coming to terms with blow up mattresses and small tents.

We spent day two of our recce checking out the Black Ridge Camp,having a look at Jenolan caves and getting slightly lost. It doesn't help that they close one of the roads out of Jenolan Caves for three hours As we drove out of the Cox's river camp we came across a some sprightly looking kangaroos and as we nearly got lost we were able to admire the views across to the Blue Mountains from the western side.

The trip was a great success. I may have to rethink our sleeping arrangement but logistically the Six Foot track walk is a goer and I am all set to be the support posse.

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