Walkers: Bruce, Lucy, Conrad, Thi, Anh-Thu, Nhuan.
Leader: Bruce
Date: 21/7/2013

With the weather forecasting a fine but very cold day in the Blue Mountains, five of us set off from Central Railway, picking up Conrad at Blaxland on the way. Near Werrington I spotted what looked like reclining deer in the UWS campus there, and it turned out to be a mob of kangaroos trying to soak up some son on this freezing day. As the train neared Blackheath, ice-covered puddles beside the line indicated what we would expect when we got out, and so it was. We alighted into a very cold wind, cold enough to have snowed if it had been overcast, but in fact it was quite sunny. We set off via the duck ponds of the Blackheath Memorial Park north of the station and commenced on the Pope’s Glen track, which goes through Pope’s Glen Reserve and avoids the road bash to Govett’s Leap. In the valley out of the wind it was reasonably warm and pleasant. We passed by a picturesque set of cascades on Pope’s Creek, before a short climb to the first lookout. From here we had a fine vista over the Grose Valley, and we could understand why Charles Darwin declared the view as “magnificent”. From there we followed the cliff line as we headed on the track towards Pulpit Rock. This is another of those tracks which never seems to end until you suddenly reach your objective. In a couple of places we were exposed to the full force of the wind which was blowing even stronger now.

On reaching Pulpit Rock we had a photostop, then quickly got out of the wind into a little cave underneath, where we had lunch. This was kept short as although we were avoiding most of the wind, it was not in the sun, and we noticed that when not moving we quickly got cold. Then we retraced our steps back to the cascades at the end of the Pope’s Glen track, and turned left to go to Govett’s Leap. This track is in disrepair and had a couple of quite steep but fairly short climbs. From Govett’s Leap we headed off to the lookout above the Bridal veil Falls, noting that the NPWS sign quoted the time for a return trip to Evans lookout or Braeside walk was 3 hours (I assume this was a return walk but it didn’t say so). As it turned out it took us only just over an hour to get back to the shops at Blackheath!

After reaching the lookout above Bridal Veil Falls – which were at times falling slightly sideways in the strong wind, we head back to Blackheath along the Braeside walk, which follows Govett’s Leap Brook. Along the way there are deep sections where we looked to see if there were Yabbies, but the water was too murky to see anything. The last km or so was a road bash through the back streets of Blackheath until we reached the Victory cafĂ© (a converted old Picture Theatre) for a welcome respite from the cold and a nice hot chocolate. Then it was back to Blackheath Station for the trip home.

This was an enjoyable day in fine weather – even if it was a bit cold – with magnificent views along much of the walk.
And, there was not a single no-show!

Bruce Stafford.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brstafford/sets/72157634819271079/