Party: Maj-Britt, Jeremie, Nolan, Lilian, Steven
On the drive home we compared our experience to what I had written in the invitation – while I got the “5+ hours of walking each day” correct, I’d left out “It’s unorthodox at this time of the year” at the start and made no mention of “substantial off-track walking”, no “navigational challenges” and no “I haven’t ever been there or read really detailed trip reports so can only make a guess at a few particulars”…
After leaving the inner west at 7pm we made it around to Boyd River Campground in Kanangra nearing 11pm having stopped at Katoomba for food, port and a fruit-birthday-cake for Nolan, whose birthday, we discovered on the drive up, was on the Saturday. I was a little peckish but the Carrington Hotel decided to stop serving food at 9:01pm just as I went to order, only seconds after Jeremie received his food and struck my “food-envy” chords.
Alas, we woke early and I had my fill of food then and we started at the Uni-rover track at 8:20am. Having walked down the Uni-Rover all the way to the Kowmung recently, this section went much faster this time around, and within 50 minutes we were observing Mt Colong from Lost Rock. We made good time down to Mt Savage and off down towards Sombre Dome, with some sections of fine views of the distant ridges as well as a couple of monitor lizards that we disturbed. As we neared the dome itself we made a bit of a rookie error by not going directly over the top to the south-facing cliffline for lunch as I had planned. We instead sidled low and ended up a little way down a different spur to the one I had wanted to use to get down to the river below.
We ate a bit of lunch here in a small shady patch during the otherwise hot part of the day. It was hot enough, and we were lazy enough, that we figured there wasn’t a need to head back up to the spur I’d wanted to descend, and instead continued down the one we were on. Mistake. After an hour of really steep descending and navigating a broken cliffline in the hot sun, we found a final ~15m cliffline seperated us from Doris Creek. After another half an hour, being attacked by some stinging nettle that seemingly hadn’t feasted on human flesh for years and learning that wallabies couldn’t leap off cliffs in a single bound (well, not survive doing that), we finally hit Doris Creek and splashed our faces and arms in the cool shaded water with much glee.
We continued down the creek, I almost stood on a red-bellied black snake and the beads of sweat continued to stream down our faces. This didn’t last long before we hit the Kowmung at a particularly deep and inviting section. We were quick to make full use of the brisk water to cool us down and splashed around, got buffeted by the rapids and warmed ourselves again in the sun, before starting off again to Hatchers after almost an hour.
Hatchers Hollow was an amazing flat and peaceful campsite – except for the tiny flies that attacked in swarms when headlamps came on in the evening, filling noses and mouths in the process.
In the morning the flies were gone and we found some huge logs to cross back over and start the ascent up to Mt Doris. It was tough and we hoped we were going the right way, but it turned out well and we got some great views along the way. We continued, with no real track, up the long and winding … ridge. It seemed to climb forever, while there was a breeze picking up it was the sun’s heat that we felt the most. We were despondent as we crossed Mt Despond, we felt hopeless as the ridge continued rising over Mt Hopeless and we reached the point of maximum misery as we finally reached Mt Misery.
Luckily it was only another 10 minutes from maximum misery before we were back on the Uni rover trail and beating a path back to the car in double time. A small stream which I had noticed was still flowing from my first trip past a month ago provided us with cool, crisp water to drink and have final snacks.
We were back on the road by 3:45pm and headed home via some food at Blackheath. It was a great trip with good company and challenges, thanks to all.