OP: The Two Walkers

Wind, Earth, Fire and 4.5 litres of Water.

In this story, we take you to the magical Mt. Solitary, tucked away further down south at Katoomba, Blue Mountains.

View from where we parked Nate’s trusty Corolla

The weather was forecasted to be a chilly 3 degrees minimum. That got us slightly worried about Sarah as it was her first time spending the night out in the bush. There was this very fine line between keeping the trip challenging enough to pull her into the wonderful world of camping and scaring her beyond oblivion on her first adventure.

We started our walk at the Golden Staircase.

The setting quickly changed as we started descending into thicker cover.

Descending to the base of Golden Staircase

The descent would go on for another 20 minutes before we hit the bottom, which would take us to the base of Ruined Castle on a mildly undulating track.

A walk in the park

3.2km later, we took our first break at the base of Ruined Castle. No grapes this time!

Base of Ruined Castle

After the short break, it was time to forge ahead. Up to this point, we had completed approximately 40% of our journey.

During this season, the bushes are littered with signs of spring. Sights and sounds were certainly different as compared to our OP: Chicken Wing trip. We heard the constant twittering of birds and critters were everywhere.

This guy’s lucky to be alive, I almost squashed him

Spring is evident

Nate spotted this guy

We flew through the flat portion and before long, it was time to climb. No words can easily describe the amount of climbing there was to do. And so… We started to climb!

So the climb begins

And the climb continues

Nope! It’s not easing off to a flat yet. It had barely begun.

Expect to get on all fours

More climbing on all fours

It doesn’t really end

And finally….

About… halfway to the top

There were many large steps. It was certainly not a walk in the park with 15kg plus packs.

A shagged out Johnnie

Taking a break with another 40% left to the top

Looking back at Katoomba

Guess what’s next?

..

.

What else but more climbing!

Our gebirgsjäger leading the climbs

Arriving at our first open space which must be Korrowall Knife-edge, the team opportunistically stopped for a break. The view at this point is pretty decent with over 270 degrees of totally unobstructed frontage.

Meet team Solitary

Sarah, the soon to be Walker the second

With 2 hours of daylight left, we quickly decided on a spot to settle for the night. At this point, the girls were given the task to set up camp while Nate and I went ahead to recce for the proper, designated campsite.

40 minutes later, we returned exhausted. The climb ahead was far worse, with very loose dirt. And we had dumped our packs before the recce, we were in clean fatigue! Guess what… We returned to our original campsite to find the two walkers SITTING DOWN and MUNCHING AWAY ON SNACKS.

Terrible operational behaviour! We got their arses up and working in a jiffy. Thereafter, it was time for us to feed instead 😉

Nate and I quickly pitched the tents and we got Sarah to collect firewood while YL to find tinder. The next hour was spent on these tasks while I shortened the firewood.

The sun is setting, the clock is ticking

View from our campsite, this points south-west

30 – 40 minutes later

Last light in 15 minutes

Our campsite

It wasn’t long before what we were all waiting for. DINNER! – because this time, we brought a whole load of stuff and not just 1 chicken wing each!

We had pork balls, fish balls, corn, 2 chicken wings each, too many hotdogs. And Sarah? Holy crap. Unagi twisties, like 6 packs of cheese dips, BANANAS and APPLES, museli bars, more crisps.. But no one brought the most important thing of all, a wooded and full bodied Shiraz. Sigh.

It won’t be a proper camping trip without this

Our 3rd element

The temperature must have dropped to 5 degrees after dinner. It continued dropping to around 3 degrees as per the weather forecast. This is where Sarah, once again, surprised us all. She pulled out this down filled pants. ERM. Wow. Really..

And not surprisingly, she woke up the next morning telling us she perspired in her sleep. Ridiculous!

Scroll on for some pictures taken in the morning…

Same south-west view, in the morning

Nate prepping his Udon breakfast

Cool spot for breakfast aye?

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the luxury of hanging around and enjoying a long breakfast. We had to pack up and make time to head back as we couldn’t estimate how long it might take for us to get back down. Nate’s knees aren’t doing too well! Going down does really hurt damaged joints and knees. So people, don’t do too much running! It’s not all that beneficial really. Cycle instead 😉

It is harder to go down than up

Clearly feeling the effects of our sun

Still descending, Ruined Castle lies in the middle of the background

After a little more climbing, we were back at that open platform. There was no way we were going to pass a break at such a spot.

Packs off!

Reminiscing the past

We spent a good half hour or more at that spot then reluctantly continued the climb back down.

Once back down the valley, it was a straightforward march back to the Golden Staircase. A couple of breaks followed by the 800m climb back up. Proper steps this time, but the fatigue certainly pushed our Walker to new heights! It was then time to enjoy a nice lunch at The Common Ground Cafe which concluded our trip.

Good old museli

Trips like this don’t just foster camaraderie. It pushes individuals to their limits(or so they think), and  sets a new benchmark for the individual. Not only do they get stronger, better and faster, they gain invaluable perspectives which they’ve never had before. As much as anyone can declare they’re there just to have a good time, there would be that essence of reflection.

Moments spent pondering…

Moments spent gathering and linking inspirations…

Moments spent understanding the peace from within.

Nate looks a bit like Steve Jobs in the turtle neck don’t you think?

In a world held together by space shrinking/time travelling technologies like smart phones, the internet and the good old Excel spreadsheet, it is inevitable to not lose yourself in the hectic pace of life.

The scale of the environment will make you feel insignificant.

You will appreciate the spark, the wood that you burn, and the fire that keeps you warm.

Mount Solitary will serve to humble any individual.

This trip gets an adventure rating of:

Adventure Rating: 9

Gallery: (enlarge pictures at bottom right of gallery window)

 

One thought on “OP: The Two Walkers

  1. The most important thing in life is to GET IN TOUCH.
    Get in touch with your self; get in touch with your body; get in touch with nature; get in touch with Heaven; get in touch with your fellow humans. Out of touch means alienation, separation, isolation and loneliness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s