Trip report:

Cowan to Brooklyn – Sunday 3rd April 2011.

Walkers: Taeko, Satoshi, Mutsuko, Charles, Alex J, Peggy, Bron, Ben P, Alisha + friend, Jerome, Elmore, Elin, Alex B, Terje, Laura, Dmitri,David K, Miriam, Gary, Jana, Marina, Claudia, and Bruce. (and one more whose named I have missed).

Yes, a cast of thousands, and we also scored the Aussie trifecta of leeches, bull ants and snakes – read on.

After everyone piled out of the train at Cowan (plus a few who had driven up), we assembled and proceeded across the freeway footbridge onto the Great North Walk. It quickly descends into the valley of Jerusalem Bay through a pleasant shady glade of woodland. At Jerusalem Bay we paused for a water break as well as to admire the view of the Bay,and some group photos.

The track continued along the edge of a small inlet of the Bay for a short while before crossing at its end, and going up a fairly steep climb of about 100m. At the top everyone had another water break and three walkers discovered that they had acquired some small hitchhikers from the inlet below. After these leeches were removed we continued on the track which climbs for a further 200m before reaching the top and then runs down again to cross a small creek. At this point some first aid was given to a walker who had been bitten by a bull ant on the way down. From the creek the track rises fairly steeply again in a series of three climbs to reach the top of the ridge. At the top of one of these I almost stepped on a small Brown Snake which had lain across the track looking just like a twig (as brown snakes like to do). It rapidly took off into the scrub.

Once at the top of the ridge the track ceases to be a bush track and continues along the railway access track on the level for quite a distance. Given that it was turning out to be a very warm day, (relieved with a cool breeze) we had to walk about 2km along this road before finding shade as the vegetation on these ridgetops is rather scrubby – no large trees.

We found a lunch spot which had sufficient shade and room for 25 walkers and settled down to lunch. Peggy had brought along part of a wedding cake to share (must be a bushwalk first). The lunch site had great views across the Hawkesbury River and Long Island. Mt Wondabyne could be seen in the distance.

After lunch we continued along the road until we reached the edge of the old railway dam (built to provide water for steam trains), and I was puzzled that the signs wanted us to continue walking right around the end of the dam, which is a fair distance. Instead we detoured through the camping areas just below the dam wall, crossing a rather smelly creek, giving a good clue that the water is not for drinking! After that, it was up another shorter climb to the ridge top and after about 2 km reaches the final cescent into Brooklyn. Here the track makes an unwelcome change: instead of branching off the access road down a bush track, it goes down a new quite steep concrete road recently built by RailCorp to exit at a different street in the town. The pavement has little ridges in it to aid grip by shoes, but its steepness still makes it tricky.

Still it exited onlt a block away from the “Anglers Rest” Hotel at Brooklyn, where the 25 of us piled in – to the delight of the publican – and settled infor a drink or two during the 45 minute wait for the next train.

A good day out in very pleasant weather, enjoyed by all.