Sunday, 6 April 2014



As much as I love running, walking is probably my first love.  So when Jeff mentioned a walk out to Taffy's Rock, I was keen.  I have been out before, but not for a few years.  So we met 1pm at Cowan Station, where Jeff gave me a couple of huge slabs of his wife's fruit cake.  Perfect start, although it did look like a couple of skinny blokes in running gear doing a drug deal.  

The walk out to Taffy's Rock is a little known local treasure.  A lot of folk walk Cowan - Brooklyn, and all pass by the start of this track.  After a stroll down to Jerusalem Bay, crossing cross the small creek and waterfall, then a slog up the hill on the other side, you walk 100m past the bench and lookout to a sign.

Behind the sign is the track to Taffy's Rock.

Jeff had been curious about whether the track was runnable or not.  I had suggested "not", but as we began, someone has obviously been very busy and the track had been cut back extensively.  Maybe I was wrong.

We walked along a bit, and after about one km, the track that I remembered kicked in.  At times the best method was to put your head down, keep an eye on the trail at your feet, then simply smash through the scrub - good old fashioned "bush bashing".  For some people, this is a horrible experience, but for weird folk like me, this is heaven.  All those lovely spider webs just make it even better.  Of course whilst I was head down through the scrub, 2 m tall Jeff was probably strolling along getting scraped knees.  At times we had to scout about for the trail, but a few strategically placed rock cairns helped (for the uninitiated, walkers traditionally make small cairns to mark difficult bits and to help other walkers.  We are such a nice bunch).

yes, there is a trail in there somewhere
However, all this is worth it.  This track keeps offering up views the entire way.  Some views look the length of Cowan Creek and all the bays, and you begin to appreciate what a large waterway it is. 

The walk also has a lot of sandstone, and interesting formations.  I have a fascination for sandstone, and can spend hours looking at the way it is shaped and formed (which is why I love walking, and why I take so long to finish a trail run some days).  Some section of the track are spines of sand stone that poke above the scrub, and you simply wander and scramble over it. If you like being a big kid like me, this is awesome fun.

You begin to get views of Taffy's Rock along the way.  From the sign, the track meanders out along the ridge for about 3km, the heads left. 

Taffy's Rock in the distance

 At this point Jeff had a couple of little adventures.  Firstly, there had been several woody noises as Jeff picked up branches and cleared the trail as he walked.  However, there was suddenly a particularly loud, woody, thumpy noise from up ahead.  I turned a bend to find Jeff lying on the ground.  He had walked into a low branch.  Cap had obscured his vision.  Rookie error (so he should have known better).  I said I couldn't carry him, but offered to drag him 7km back to Cowan, but he said he was fine, got up, and soldiered on groggily.  Whereupon he was suddenly met by a big red bellied black which woke him up quickly.  Problem solved.

Then it was on to Taffy's Rock, and its amazing views.

Taffy's Rock is named after Dorothy Townson, and there is a small plaque on the east side that is always hard to find.  

Jeff and I sat and chatted and ate fruit cake for a while, just enjoying the views, watching sea planes buzz around, watching boats in the distance.  It is a very peaceful place, and easy to sit quietly.  After a while, we did get up and went our separate ways for a wander.

If you scout around, there are aboriginal carvings (mostly on the east side).  The times I have been out here, finding them depends on the light and shadows.  It is easy to walk over them without even knowing you are doing it, so you need to be watchful.  It is not at all difficult to imagine why this place would be a significant site (so please take care).  There are also carvings along the way to the rock if you take the time to scout around.

Then it was time to don the packs, and power back to Cowan.  Years ago I walked out here with the National Parks and it took over eight hours.  Today we knocked it over in 4 1/2 hours easy.  Brilliant. Jeff is a man after my heart, a power walker supreme (which is why his head hit that branch with such a thump).  It may have been a "walk", but it was a bloody fast walk.  Not that you need to be a superhero to do this trip.  Mere mortals would be more than capable of doing it.  A bit of bush bashing, some scouting for that trail, but nothing too hard.  Jeff declined the 500m ride home from the stataion, so I waved farewell, and headed home for beers and take away.

A good way to spend an afternoon.

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