Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Doing the Great North Walk Backwards

Day 19 - 26 December - Rest day.  After a Xmas day to remember, with the best and worst of the trip so far, I woke on Boxing Day to a gap in the rain which I seized to pack the tent and train from Cowan to Hornsby, find a Dodgy Brothers Motel room to dry out and recover. 

Day 20 - 27 December
Next day sister Barb collected me and we drove back to Cowan to rejoin the track. Rain gone, a cool day to start, good for walking, and it was great to have Barb to talk with instead of being lost in my world as usual. 
Barb, setting out from Cowan

Mid arvo we camped in the Berowra reserve, part of the Muggamarra Reserve, at a spot we thought was fairly isolated. However that evening and next morning we had quite a few visitors willing to stop and chat, either tourists or residents of nearby Berowra Heights out for a stroll in their own beautiful bush.

End of Day 20, near Berowra Heights

Next morning, Sat 28, breaky at fireside and on the track again. We noticed how few birds there were. Noisy cicadas, the odd kookaburra and currawong, but nothing else. Are they discouraged by the cicadas, eaten by cats, or what? No shortage of kangaroos though. Black hairy ones. They might be overgrown wallabies. They raided our rubbish bag during the night and loudly munched through orange peels right next to my tent. Very strange.

Sunrise over Berowra Valley

That day we did some great walking although bit steep in parts, down up and finally all way down to the water. Berowra Waters looks beautiful from above as well as close up, ..deep-water fronted houses for the well-heeled, each with its own jetty. 

Sophie and Barb

A floated plane ferried into to some luxury joint as we watched. Finally we made it to a little cafe at the car-ferry, had a great coffee and lunch then Sophia arrived to collect Barb. It was great to catch up with Sophie. 
So intrepid

I continued south alongside Berowa Creek heading upstream. We had heard the bridge over Calna Creek had collapsed about 8 months ago, ..since then an argument as to which dept should pay for it. So my Plan B was to camp somewhere near water then next day walk an extra 6k up to Mt Kuringai. 

Naa Badu Lookout - Berowra Valley

At my first choice of camp site a brown snake convinced me to keep walking, which was lucky because I came to the collapsed bridge over Calna Creek, which turns out to be great place for a swim. Sure enough the bridge is snapped in the middle and submerged. Still hot, I stripped off and swam to the other side. 
The much-discussed ex-bridge at Calna Creek

The water felt so good. So I set up camp right there and later entertained a couple of guys who turned up in a home-made wooden kayak. It was leaking a lot so I helped them to lift and empty it so they could return to their car at Crosslands.  Slept well feeling clean from the swim...except for the noisy mullet jumping about all night. Apparently our waters are full of mullet because we whitefellas decided 30 years ago it was not fashionable to eat them. Some boaties told me mullet 'over-breed', and sometimes jump into your boat because they're crazy.
Strange native rock formation

Day 21 - 28 December
Next morning I decamped (as the police say) early, and after half a day walking and a few more discussions with strangers, met Barb who collected me at Mt Kuringai, then to Shirls. Now I'm feeling totally spoilt, clean clothes, well-fed and about to sleep in a real bed.

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