To those about to read my garbled nonsense, this is not a “Rob and Cait” experience. The lovely Cait would kill me if I dragged her along on something as silly as this. She just patiently asked me to “write down where you are going so I can send help”. What a good wife. There was zero phone reception all day so a wise precaution.
My efforts to get the pack and walking shoes on in recent times have been frustratingly thwarted. Work, weather, wounds all playing their part. This time again, just when I had everything packed and ready to set out from Katoomba for a few days of pre-Christmas adventure in the Wild Dog mountains, a mystery bug laid me a bit low, my back gave way, then the weather produced apparently the highest December rainfall since dinosaurs roamed the earth, so probably good I hadn't set out.
This left me with only a brief gap between Christmas and New Years.
It always surprises me how and when ideas for a walk take hold, like an itch needing a scratch. Out of nowhere I had an urge to go exploring the Royal National Park. A quick gaze at a map (actually I have several maps of the RNP – you can never have too many maps. Even a 1976 map from my school boy days). A possible route leaped out at me. A tad ambitious, but I was sick of sitting on my butt, and time was running short before the holidays ended and a new job beginning. Now or never.
Left home at 7.15, parked at Audley at 8.30. Set off at 8.40. A dream start. What could go wrong !! Only delay was waiting for a curious young child to bugger off so I could apply some lubricant to parts best left unseen. It was going to be a hot day out there and chafing was not on my to do list.
This was a day combining a mix of everything. Lots of exploring new places, revisiting old favourites, meandering and taking photos, and some easy fire trails to get some running in as well. I started with a climb directly up from Audley towards Winifred Falls. I had never been along here before, and it was lovely. Some nice rock walls which always amaze me. The work done so long ago and so well, still standing. It always humbles me to think of the effort it must have taken to do this, so crazy bastards like me could go rambling about a hundred years later.
|time to start running|
Returning to the track, I shortly crossed South West Arm creek and I was passed by a fellow who had been at the falls as well. He looked geared up for photography. As he tore past he asked if the track led to Anice Falls. At that point I thought it was, and mumbled a quick “I think so” and he powered off into the distance. Why do people listen to anything I say. For several reasons I am known as THAT GUY – one being “don't follow THAT GUY” as I am prone to head off in the wrong direction before sorting myself out. I hope Mr Photographer wised up eventually. My little voice in my head was getting louder telling me “you know you are going the wrong way, don't you”. I definitely was not going to start climbing a ridge anytime soon to reach a fire trail. I retraced my steps to Winifred Falls, started out again, and did some more wandering and scrambling around trying to pick up a trail.
|South West Arm Creek crossing|
I could have cut out Marley altogether and shortened my day, but I love the stretch between Marley and Wottamolla and I was travelling well. Passed a few walkers, was passed by a few motor bikes. I came across the side track to the Deer Pool which I hadn't planned on. Feeling good, I decided to go exploring and it was well worth it. A great detour. My old school days map has this as a camp site. These days camping is forbidden - but what a great place to spend a night (stealth) camping. I climbed back to the main trail and resumed choofing down to Marley, with Marley Lagoon appearing on the left. For years I had thought that the Deer Pool and Marley Lagoon were the same. How wrong could I be.
|Marley Lagoon - not the Deer Pool obviously|
|track down to Wattamolla|
|Curracurrang - why wouldn't you stick your head in ?|
After working out where I had gone wrong (not hard as it was obvious), I began a long road bash back to where I needed to be. Not a lot of road shoulder along here, and a few presses into bushes were required. I don't know why people fuss about snakes – P plate drivers are way scarier.
|This is what I was looking for. Just wish I had found it sooner.|
|down to Bola Creek|
|Lady Carrington Drive|