[Marcellous] as Voss

On Saturday, D and I went for a walk at the Royal National Park which turned out to be a little longer than we (and in particular, D) had bargained for.  I refer (as we say in affidavits) to the following semi-map from Google.

As ever, we didn’t set out until quite late.  I blush to say exactly how late: suffice to say that we were able to drive in at the Waterfall entrance of the Park (W) without having to pay an entrance fee.

So far so good.

We stopped at the southern end of Lady Carrington Drive (A).  This is an abandoned roadway which descends to the creek level and runs all the way to Audley (north; off the map).  It is popular with mountain bikers and also as a 2-car walk.  I had been here a few years before.

D and I set off.  Even though many years ago I saw the melodrama The Birdsville Track, we left without any water to drink.  It was only to be a shortish stroll down the road and back again. 

After we had descended a fair way and been passed by a bunch of whooping bikers, we saw a turn off, (B) labelled “Curawalla Track.” I was enticed, as though I had been presented with a cake labelled “eat me” or a bottle labelled “drink me.”  We took the bait.

This track was a narrow but at some stage quite laboriously made path, a little out of repair, which doubled back along the other side of the creek at the bottom of the valley.  Eventually it came to a pond where it was hard to make out its continuation, but after crossing the creek we eventually found this.  A steep ascent which pretty well winded us saw us climb from the valley floor back to the plateau, where, shortly after, the foot path (retrospectively labelled with a sign prohibiting bicycles) became a sandy quasi-vehicular track heading through the characteristic RNP heathland. (C)

A moment of choice.  Should we retrace our steps, or could we keep going, strike the road and return by that?  I hate retracing my steps. I knew we must reach the road eventually.  I thought that, if it were to get dark, it would be easier if we were by then on the road.  I rallied my loyal (actually, already complaining a bit) follower, and we pressed on.

It was very pleasant.  The sun had a golden, end-of-the-afternoon glow.  There were even distant views of the Centrepoint tower.  We saw lots of little birds and a pair of black cockatoos (and heard more).  The one fly in the ointment was that we didn’t know exactly where we were going, or how long it would take us to get back.

Eventually, we reached the road (D).  By way of some sort of scale, the sign suggested that the distance back to (B) was 4.2 km.  We turned south and walked along the road.

There was surprisingly little traffic.  Cars were beginning to drive with their lights on. We caught up with a group who emerged from the bush at (E).  They had flown down from Brisbane early that morning, and had walked from Bundeena.  The track at (E) (the Curra Moors track) represented a wrong turning for them, because they had meant to keep to the coast.  My, they were impressive walkers.  Even though they were a good 10 years older than us, had full packs and had been walking 10 hours (compared to our, by now, one or two), we could hardly keep up with them.  They turned left at (F) for Garie (fortuitously, G!) to camp for the night.

It became dark.  Tiny bats flew over the road.  The odd kangaroo thumped away in the bush.  Every time we crossed a creek, D (that’s not “(D)“) asked if we were almost there.  Not that I would have known.  We weren’t.  And then at last (after dodging a few cars in the dark) we were.  Perhaps we walked for 45 minutes in the dark.

As you can see from the “map” (consulted on my return home), I had definitely made the wrong call at (C).  I didn’t know how far south the road swung.  If we had turned back, it might have been 2 or at most 2.5 km back to (A).  On my estimation, (based on the sign at (D)) the path forwards which we took ended up being about 8 km, albeit all on well-made paths or the road.  Altogether, the walk took us just a little less than 3 hours.  I was surprised not to feel more thirsty than I did.

That’s quite a lot more than we usually walk.  My legs are still a bit stiff today (Monday).

One Response to “[Marcellous] as Voss”

  1. ninglun Says:

    I took M down a track from Waterfall back through the park in a long arc back to Heathcote some years back — 18 to be exact. After all, I had walked that track several times in the 1960s… I didn’t quite get lost though, but it was high summer. I do recall having to discourage him from taking home samples of the plants…

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