Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Doing the Great North Walk Backwards

Day 22 - 29 December 2013 - Rest day at Bob and Shirl's

Day 23 - 30  December 2013

Topping up at Crosslands
Monday. Shirl drove me back to the GNW track at place called Crosslands, a large camping ground on the Berowra Creek not far from the non-bridge over The Calna (which I had by-passed).
Easy walking heading South following the creek. I reached Galston Gorge in 2 hours, had a rest and some water. Thought I was hallucinating when two chooks came out of the bush, a colourful rooster and a white hen clucking and scratching around happily.
The Lesser Spotted Bush Chook

There at GG the track meets Galston Road and the creek splits into Turks Creek and Cowra Creek. I followed the sign to go under the road bridge and continued on the track, or so I thought. An hour later, there was no track left and I was in dense bush. Had a few scares pushing through bush trying to find the track, distracted and annoyed with myself for getting lost, I slipped on caserina needles on a steep rock and slid down on my stomach towards a big drop til my boot jagged a ledge. I was face down on the sloping rock and had to get my pack off without losing it before I could get back to my feet. Another time climbing I committed to a step without securing it first and my stick went through a veneer of leaf into nothing. I toppled over and just managed to throw away my other stick and grab a tree with both arms as I flew past it.. My pack wanted to keep falling of course and wrenched on my shoulders.

Before making another mistake I thought it was time for a Plan B, so out with the iPhone which indicated I was a long way from the track and following the wrong creek leading nowhere. So I retraced my steps for an hour back to Galston Gorge, sat under the bridge to recover and work out where the track went. Maybe it crosses the creek and heads steeply up the mountain. I headed off that way which turned out correct as the arrow signs reappeared after a while.

Having tested me, the universe provides. Running out of energy mid-arvo, I came to a space good enough to camp. Clearing the ground for my tent I saw an Australian Army 'Ration Pack B' resting near a log. Someone had eaten all the meat items, which were no good to me anyhow, leaving dried veggies and delicacies of condensed milk, chocolate, energy drink, etc all a good compliment for what Shirl had given me, quiche  and mince tarts. Thanks Shirl. 

I ate well for two days. 

Day 24 - 31  December 2013
Early next morning, last day of the year, I packed and walked into the heat, then beautiful dense bush with occasional water. I knew I was near civilization as the occasional runner and cyclist overtook me, and not many were interested in talking beyond a Hi. I passed Fishponds, then the Hornsby turnoff, and eventually reached a road, houses, then Thornleigh Station.  I caught a train to sister Kerrie's place for a rest day. Figure I have two more days to reach Circular Quay.

Day 25 - 1 January 2014
A slow day day after a quiet NYE at Kerrie and Laurie's, reflecting on life, the universe, walking, and everything. 

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