This weekend our hiking group headed to Blackheath in the Blue Mountains to complete 2 days of hiking. For many of them, this was the best preparation for Nepal that we can get!
We had printed maps of the trails we were going to take, including kilometres. And while we knew the would be two long and hard days, there were challenges that we couldn’t plan for.
Not 2 metres into Day 1, we found a sign post that said one of the trails we intended on doing was closed. Thankfully it was on another post that had a detailed trail map, and we were able to rearrange our plans to by pass the close section. This bypass was a fairly hefty short cut, something that we were thankful for later on.
At the next lookout about 2km further on, Clare was extending her selfie stick to take a picture of the group when her phone popped out of it’s case. An unlucky bounce saw it travel towards the cliff face, and a small, sliver of a gap under the safety fence allowed it to slip under and fall into the depths of the Blue Mountains. Needless to say, Clare was the butt of many jokes as a consequence throughout the weekend.
Our next challenge appeared on the trail a few metres further, in the form of a dark brown snake with a yellow belly. It was likely a brown snake, but thankfully it was pretty relaxed as it was still early. Jade and Clare jumped and yelled and it eventually slithered off the trail far enough for us to pass.
The next 5-8K were uneventful, except for the spectacular scenery; so lush that it was too dark for sunglasses and we could have been on another planet. We took a wrong turn and stumbled on a waterfall. We also took turns in slipping, sliding, and tripping over, so much so that by lunchtime only Belinda, Sandra, and Jen hadn’t had a stack.
Alas, their good luck did not last, with Belinda tripping over fairly early after our stop, and Sandra spraining her ankle soon after. We strapped it, and she stoically limped a further 7K.
It was a relief to find Junction Rock and know that we only had 4km to go.
That 4km took us 3hrs.
It starts with an undulating climb that criss crosses a stream. Then, about 2km from home it is literally a staircase against a sheer rockface, which is frightening and dangerous and quite confronting when you’re already exhausted! Our team made it to the top without any further ado, and then retired to a local pub for a well earned steak and beer.
We were up early on Sunday to complete a shorter but equally gruelling course. Sandra didn’t hike, as her ankle was swollen and painful. We dropped a car at our end point, then started where we finished the day before. It was much easier heading down Bridal Veil fails on fresh legs, than coming out the day before! We then followed the river to Acacia Flat, where we had a swim in the river and lunch. We stopped briefly in Blue Gum Forest, and then took a sharp left to hike out of the Blue Mountain’s Grose Valley.
The track has had some work, and even though it is also 2km of stairs (same as Bridal Veil), they are even and relatively easy to climb. Last time we did the trail we had to tip toe across rock ledges, but they have built nice wide pathways over them, so it was less dangerous, too.
Our team was ecstatic to reach Perrys Lookdown, and would have jumped for joy if we weren’t sitting on our bums trying to stay awake…
It was a very rewarding weekend, despite the difficulties, and we celebrated with a pie and coffee before driving home. Thanks for the company! Our next 2-day hike out at West Head, and we will be camping overnight in the Basin, contact to the gym to join in!
We are not just doing this for ourselves, we are also raising money for an Australian Charity called Seven Women (http://sevenwomen.org) who skills train disadvantaged Nepali women, employ them by purchasing their products, then educates them with what they earn. Please support us by buying one of their products from our shop: https://into-you.com.au/shop