TRIP: Kowmung Mountain and environs

DATE: ANZAC Long Weekend, 25-27 Apr 2008

PARTY: Nadine, Tom Edwards, Rob, Kendy, Ashley

Two days of perfect cool and clear autumn weather happened to occur slap bang in the middle of the 3 day ANZAC weekend making for idyllic conditions for a trip of high camps and great views.

It started with a traffic jam late on Thursday night which delayed our arrival at a damp and drizzly Kanangra walls. Leaving one car at the Uni Rover Trail and another at Kanangra Walls we walked in the thick damp cloud to the Dance Floor Cave and found passable spots to bed down for the remainder of the night.

Not keen to linger here we set off first thing in the morning in continuing damp conditions to the Coal Seam Cave for breakfast, and here we warmed up by the fire as the drizzle stopped and the clouds parted giving us glimpses of the Kowmung gorge through trees. By the time we set off down the Bullhead Range the rain had gone for good and the bush was lush and verdant after the recent rain. A hearty lunch was had on the Kowmung River after heading down Cambage Spires.

Then it was a steady climb towards Kowmung Mountain which we reached by late afternoon. To get to the very top we had to get through a band of cliffs and this required us to ascend a steep and loose weakness in the cliff line, and the hand line was needed to get humans and packs safely past a large but loose and unstable foot hold. Once on top of Kowmung mountain we admired spectacular views in improving weather. By the time the sun went down the sky was almost completely free of cloud and we enjoyed the clear and cool air from our comfortable campsite with sweeping views close by. There followed a great evening by the campfire.

Next morning we began trekking southwards and the hand line was needed once more to get ourselves and our packs off the southern end of Kowmung mountain. We then enjoyed some great walking past the outcrop of Chiddy Obelisk and thence past Mt Yuburra and beyond towards Mt Marrup. We encountered some scrub and decided to sidle around Mt Marrup and then headed up to Mt Milo for lunch. By now the scrub was behind us and we had a delightful lunch in an idyllic spot on Mt Milo, relaxing in the sunshine. Then it was a beautiful open ridge down to the Kowmung River.

During the late afternoon we climbed to a superb lookout on Mt Lannigan and this was a perfect place to camp. With our tents and flys pitched amid casuarina trees we lingered at the nearby lookout point enjoying tremendous views until the last glows of evening sunlight were lost from the green ridges and the scene subsided to twilight hues. Then it was back to the familiar and homely circle of the camp fire.

The last day was shorter in time but in terms of distance travelled it was still a full day of walking as we wandered up the Uni Rover Trail towards our waiting vehicle. As we enjoyed an early lunch by water near Mt Goondel a cold wind picked up and dark storm clouds welled up in the south east. Short squalls of light rain began just as we got back to the cars. But these clouds were bringing snow further south so they were more than welcome and cheered on by the keen skiers among us. And by the time they unleashed their full fury we were in the Half Way House celebrating the great trip over a beer.

A great weekend. Welcome to new members Nadine and Tom.

Ashley Burke