It was raining steadily as we left Sydney on Friday night. Arriving at the campsite just off the Boyd Range fire trail, Hughie didnt let up in the slightest. In fact it poured continuously the entire night and well into the next morning. For almost three hours we sat in the car before the rain eased slightly and so we set off walking down the Uni rover trail. After a late start we didnt end up making it to the Kowmung and so set up camp along the ridgline midway between Mt Lannigan and Murdochs Spur. A morning reconnaissance mission down to the Kowmung was made by Tom, Dan and Myself in order to collect water and inspect for campsites around Church Ck. Unfortunately we were running short on time and slowed down by the fact that the Kowmung was massively swollen (and thus somewhat difficult to cross) due to the recent rain. This left insufficient time to make an adequate assessment of the area around Church Ck; my brief impression was that it was not as promising as i had hoped from looking at the map. After refilling water bottles and eating a quick breakfast we retraced our steps back up Murdochs Spur to where Denis was waiting at our campsite. The walk back to the car took a little under five hours from where we set course to the Gardeners Inn for dinner.
Walking through part of the Sydney Catchment protected area, we were glad to see logical decisions had been made, with earthmoving equipment in use on a road where bicycles were prohibited. After descending on the road through the cliffline, we soon turned off onto the track to Mt Solitary, noting an early blooming Waratah. The track continued to the crossing of the Kedumba River, then the steep climb up to Mt Solitary. We stopped for lunch with fantastic views at the logbook (which has mostly disintegrated), noting only one other SUBW entry. The water levels in the dam also looked encouragingly high.
It started, as all good ski trips do, with Jimi Hendrix. That helped keep us awake for the long drive down to the snow, and we pulled into the Island Bend rest area as the clock struck midnight. The stars were vivid and it was still, perhaps we had picked the right weekend for this big ski trip.