Thursday, January 16, 2014

Doing the Great North Walk Backwards

Day 11 - 18 December - Rest day in Wyong.
Staying in a little room at the Royal Hotel. Had several showers, relishing. Washed my clothes, bought some food, re-packed my gear, leaving some clothes and other stuff behind. Weight is precious and I'd prefer it in water. Rubbed my feet.

Day 12 - 19 December 2013 - Yarramalong to Stringybark Creek

Thursday morning, up early and left the hotel in Wyong, walking/ hitching half way 9k before I got a lift to Yarramalong. Called in to the shop to say Hi and bye to my new friends, and started climbing the track. I soon left Bumble Hill Rd to meander through some dense forest. Topped up with cool water from a stream, then came out into a clearing, and along a dry road through expensive horse county.

Into the bush again, winding down to some cool, temperate rain forest, where I topped up water again at a running stream. My experience of thirst a few days before Paxton has changed my behaviour, not only carrying as much as I can but looking at every chance to top up my bottles. This is rich wet forest but no telling what lies ahead.
Great diversity

Mid-arvo I came up from the valley to a camp site on the map marked 'Field Archery'. I was thinking of calling it a day, but a bunch of young guys had got there first from the south, so we chatted a bit about our day's experiences (they looked wrecked so I guess I looked the same).
I kept going 2 hours or so to next camp at Stringybark Point. Just a space near the track, which I took as the campsite.. Anyhow I set up my little tent near the stream, had a bite to eat, a bit of sleep and set off again early morning. 

Day 13 - 20 December 2013  Stringybark to Somersby Store

This was a hot day. The cicadas were loud before sunrise, a sure sign. As well, Shirl warned me with a txt that 41c was coming, which somehow helped, expecting the pain. I started on fire trails, alongside a stream (Ourimbah Creek on the map) that looked inviting, except for leeches and the odd mozie.
Cicada noise was often painful
Met a couple on trail bikes running their dogs. Later the trees cleared to lush pasture, with spoilt horses on agistment. Next, into Orimbah State Forest then winding deeply down into the valley of Palm Grove Forest.
By mid-arvo I began a steady climb out of the valley, with many stops for breath and water; reached fences, dirt road and eventually Wiseman's Ferry Road. Finally very happy to find Somersby Store, a big deal on the map but just a shed in reality. I was out of water so luxuriated in an ice cold coffee milk, and was very happy to be rescued by friend Doria for a rest day in Gosford.
  These two days gave me everything from dry and arid along dusty roads and fields to dense wet jungle bush with cool running water. So many different birdsong, many I've never heard before, and may not again.
Cedar stump. Logging for cedar finished here in 1870.

Heading off again tomorrow Sunday, towards Mooney Mooney and Mt Wondabyne.

This beauty escaped the axe.

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