Trip leader: Sachin Shrestha
Party: Aidan, Hiroya, Jenna, Kelly, Lola, Uyen Nhan, Yanni, Yu Ching
The Freshers Trip is a SUBW tradition. It is an overnight bushwalk catered to new members of the club. Older/established members are welcome to come along as well.
This year, we visited the vicinity of Gooch’s Crater and Billabong Canyon. Our trip started and finished at Bell railway station in the upper Blue Mountains. We met at Bell station car park around 8am and started our hike at 8:30am.
After an unimaginable number of drop outs, we were left with a group of 9 warriors who were willing to face head on whatever Mother Nature had in store for us that weekend.
This trip wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have fearless leaders: Aidan and Grace, and each person in our party:
Hiroya(Strongest of all),
and then there is me, guy with the rum:)
The first part of the hike was fairly easy. After walking for 5 kilometres, we reached the ‘Centre of the Universe’. The place was beyond anyone’s imagination. It was a great spot where we took our first break and enjoyed the 360 degree view of beautiful mountains and hills around us and ate our snacks. On our break, It caught everyone’s attention when Yanni pulled out her burger and chips from Maccas which is one interesting meal to bring while you are bushwalking.
After a quick break, we started descending until we reached Wollangambe river. Then we walked along the river for a while. We could tell the track hasn’t been used much, As we had to do a bit of bushbashing and the plants were little overgrown. The fresh air, pretty plants, slippery path and the creeks, Everyone knew it was going to be an amazing bushwalk. After a while, We couldn’t find a way to cross the river without taking off our shoes or getting our feet wet so we decided to walk through the water. Some people already got their shoes wet by then so they didn’t bother taking their shoes off.. It was refreshing and calm crossing the river. It was more like a much needed foot break..
Then we started ascending up the hills and there were few places where we had to scramble and climb up. After scrambling up a challenging cliff face, we decided to have a lunch break and fuel up for rest of the journey. After our lunch, the walk was fairly easy and we made our way to Gooch’s crater where we had decided to camp that night.
The last bit before reaching the campground was tricky. Aidan mentioned to us that part will be very slippery and steep. We will need a rope to lower down our backpacks, slide on our bum or abseil down. First few people including Aidan, Lola, Kelly & Hiroya made their way down without a rope, just sliding on their bottom or however it worked. Other half, we decided to tie a rope at the top and use it to abseil down old school without harness or atc/figure8. Using rope to get down had its own perks and downsides.
At Gooch’s crater, We got the whole camp spot to ourselves. We were so lucky! We reached campground around 4:30pm, walked around 14.5 kilometres that day.
Everyone got busy setting up their tents. Soon, it was farewell with the sun and the beautiful full moon showed up. What a lovely night it was going to be! Pure blessing to be there at that moment. The woods were not so dry and had difficulties making our campfire.. Later Aidan stepped in, took the matter to his own hand and Voila!! we had the fire going which kept us warm through out the night.. we all sat next to each other around the fire and started cooking and eating our dinner. We couldn’t believe but Grace had an assignment submission dateline the next day and had to finish the assignment that night. So, there she was.. on her smart phone, in the middle of no where, sitting next to some of the most adventurous people in the world, doing her assignment.
After the dinner, we had some good stuff shared around the campfire and everyone was keen to hear Aidan’s jokes and stories until Lola asked everyone “what would you pick as your weapon? If you were a bullfighter in an arena with a bull in front of you.” there were all sorts of answers which I don’t remember lol but Lola said she would pick a woodchipper.. why?? dunno.. Ask Lola:)
The night wasn’t that chilly. Everyone had a good sleep and was feeling 100% the next morning. We had an easy morning, ate our breakfast, packed up all our gears and then We all went to check out the Billabong Canyon. We made it to the bottom of the canyon and next thing you know, Lola was already in the icy water. Then Aidan jumped in, Kelly, Hiroya, Yanni and I followed. Jenna was too keen and went in for a dip after all of us cheered for her. Only Grace and Sunny didn’t go for a swim because they were smart.. they knew the water was very cold 😀
After that, We got our backpacks and started our 2nd day walk back to our cars parked in Bell railway station. It was fairly short walk but very steep ascending at the start and then a lot of bushbashing. We had to cross a creek again and there was no way but to go through the water. But Kelly found a safe way to cross the creek via fallen tree by butt-sliding. It was fun!
After that we walked on a ridge until we reached the fire trail which led us back to the car park. We walked around 24kilometres in two days with elevation gain of 854m.
It was an amazing trip for all of us, specially to Sunny, Yanni and Hiroya.. it was their first overnight bushwalking trip..
Special thanks to Aidan(Legend!!) as he was the one who planned the route and made sure we were all safe and enjoying the trip!
Looking forward to going on more adventurous trips and live a wonderful life.