Party: Bjorn, Emma
With a short cowardly email, the adventurous Easter plans of the Fat Canyoners Club dissipated late on Friday night, a mere seven hours before the train was to take me up into the Mountains. There was a no call to check I’d received the notice of the pikers desertion, with a fleeting invitation to “drop verbal rocks on my lower leg please give me a call” – an offer that this trip report will take up.
The plan had been for Emma and I to walk from Katoomba station to Hundred Man Cave, where Josh and T1 would meet us early Monday morning. We were then to have 2 days to descend Ti-Willa canyon, an entirely unknown area that promised much excitement, with an old SUBW tale promising that “you only drop into Ti-Willa canyon from its cliff-tops once”, before driving out of Kanangra.
Having thankfully just caught the email whilst doing a last minute weather check, the long weekend’s plans were rapidly altered as there would be no car and we would have to return from whence we came.
So at 5:20am I started off to Redfern station and at some point later Emma started the walk to Blaxland Station. Before 8:00am we were are Katoomba station, which we found enclosed in weather more reminiscent of a European autumn than late April in Sydney; temperatures in the low teens with drizzle. But with freshly baked goods in hand we were off down the long road bash and firetrail bashes to the end of Narrowneck.
The walking was crisp in this weather but enjoyable as we snuck through the clouds, never seeing more than 50 metres ahead and often walking along ridges with nothing but white to either side.
Lunch was had under an overhang, half way down Tarros Ladder pass and featured gourmet hummus filled options. The spikes themselves were well slippery but were efficiently dealt with and we continued down the ridge (only disturbed by the power lines cutting across this grand wilderness…).
We followed T2’s advise to summit Mt Mouin (we may also have just missed the lower track), which involved the only off-track walking of the weekend and unsurprisingly led to absolutely no view. It did however lead to my underestimating our progress and feeling quite uncomfortable whilst cruising down wombats parade, as I thought we should still be approaching this from the west and not skirting a cliff line due south.
All was well though when we rounded the southern peak of Mt Merrigal to find not only that we were further than expected, but that the western side offered much superior camp cave overhangs that did the soggy eastern side. We quickly moved into the excellent accommodation and sat on the southern tip eating crackers and pesto, till the heavens opened once more. The highlight of the day was then watching the sun set over the camp fire, the Megalong Valley and the hills beyond.
And so with a lovely camp spot sorted we spent the next two days postponing any walking through the rain to a wet campsite and instead luxuriated in our abundant firewood, and fine food and time supplies (and dealt with the somewhat lower water supplies by catching smoke infused water off the overhang – which according to vegetarian Emma had a very admirable bacon taste to it).
Once Tuesday rolled around we made a (late) start to the walk back to Katoomba. Considering the options we opted for the most direct (if boring) route, back the way we came up Tarros (with a change of scenery afforded by the track around Mt Mouin). We were also pleasantly surprised to get a few glimpses across to Scott’s Main Range and Lake Burragorang once above the Tarros spikes.
The walk back with much lighter packs was a fast ordeal as we overtook ol’ timers, teenagers alike, and some thirty somethings that commented on the pace when we met again in Katoomba (after they’d caught up by driving from the locked gate).
After a beer at the Gearin and some hot food in hand we left the mountains feeling we’d spent Easter in the best way possible and as piker Josh had wished us, we had “a good easter thingy…and enjoy the walking…you lucky unmarried bastard”, and I’m sure Kosta agrees (but thats another story…)!