Day 4 - 11 Dec 2013 Heaton Gap to Baraba Ridge
I set off early and climbed into the Awaba State Forest. Met a guy who had done the whole trek some years ago. Now he does the climb from Heaton Gap to Heaton Lookout and back once a week, and reckons that keeps him fit. I reached the lookout by mid-morning and the view looking back to the coast was spectacular.
My choice was now to walk back for six hours to Heaton Gap or keep going and chance finding water on the way. I chose the later and pressed on into the Watagans National Park.
Good walking although I was distracted by the water issue. At dusk around 8pm I was exhausted but had reached a beautiful place called 'Barraba Campsite' and pitched the tent among the xanthorea trees. Feeling sore and sorry for myself, thirsty, aching feet and shoulders, I didn't sleep well but had better spirits by morning.
Day 5 - 12 Dec 2013 Baraba Ridge to Paxton
I packed up and took off towards the Congewai Valley, which on the map showed beautiful blue bits that I convinced myself to be lakes of fully potable water. Heading down hill in the cool morning was a relief. I rationed my walking with 5 sips of water each half-hour, but soon noticed I was cheating by sometimes having a full swallow instead of a sip, so I changed it to 10 micro-sips which were easier to measure. Each sip was bliss.
As I got thirstier I started to fantasize how cold beer felt at the back of the throat. I thought I would go to Paxton which is half way up to Pokolbin and maybe stay at the pub.
Congewai Valley is beautiful. I climbed a fence and turned north onto Congewai Road; it felt good to walk on a level surface.
Paxton Pub looked fantastic, completely original, and I can still remember the feel of the first sip at the back of my throat.
Day 6 - 13 Dec 2013 Rest day at Paxton
I stayed a day at Paxton Pub to fulfil my fantasy during the dry march over the Watagans. Had a real bath, slept in a bed, had a few beers, met some characters, washed my clothes, rested my feet.... bliss.