Festival of Winds
Emmy and Gaby
Saturday, October 23, 2004
I could have jumped the grand canyon
Woke up early this morning to go on a bit of a hike up in the Blue Mountains. The plan was to meet at Central (the Railway Station) for a 9:02 train up to Blackheath, where the trail we wanted began. We got to the station at 10 to 9, got our tickets, and went to the train. We were told by the conductor that to go directly where we wanted we should get on the train he was standing by, and that the doors were opening in 4 minutes. Meanwhile, a train on the same track pulled out, heading towards where we wanted to go. The doors opened on the train he told us to get on, and then he said it doesn't leave till just after 10.
After a few moments of frustration where we realized there was nothing to be done on our part, the 6 of us headed to a cafe to wait out the hour rather than just sitting on the train. A coffee and a chat later, and we were back on the train, heading towards the mountains.
The group consisted of myself, Lisa, Joe, Sherlee, Anna, and Christina. For the 2 hour train ride we kept ourselves amused by a variety of reading materials, and plenty of cat naps before our heads rolled and we were woken with that stiff neck feeling. Regardless, we made it there in one piece (well 6 pieces I guess), just after noon.
As Christina had been there before, she lead the way towards the first track, and we passed down a road with beautiful houses and made our way into the bush. We started on the Fairfax Heritage Track, which ended in a beautiful beach just big enough for the 6 of us to stand on after about 1.5 km. Then it was on to the Govetts Leap Descent as we made our way another several km to the picnic area where we dined like kings on a wide variety of jewish breads (challah and rye), organic peanut butter, mixed berry and plum jellies, 2 kinds of honey, tuna, several different cadbury bars, truffles, cherry ripes, apples and oranges. It was quite a spread for the 6 of us eating off of a bench and a stone wall.
After lunch we tackled the 3rd section of the walk, the Cliff Top Track. This bit took us around the top of cliffs as its name might suggest, with great views of waterfalls and dazzling drops to the sea of forest green below. While beautiful in and of itself, it paled in comparison to the following part of the hike, the Grand Canyon Track.
While not exactly the huge cliffs carved out by the mighty Colorado, it was still an impressive sight. For several hours we threaded our way down the side, clambering over stones and trees, many of which had burned somewhat recently. At the bottom the temperature dropped to the pleasant high 50's with the cool, humid air refreshing us after the long afternoon in the sun. The treck along the canyons floor was often a slosh through small rivers and streams, often followed by a half-slip down a mossy rock, although that seemed to only happen to me. I landed on my feet every time, so it wasn't really that bad.
As we made our way to the end of the trail on the canyon floor, we had to prepare ourselves for the walk back up. With the sun slowly dropping, the minutes were precious, and the goal was to make it back to the top while sun still shone on the far walls of the cliffs. We chased the sun all the way up, seemingly making ground only to find it jump ahead as we encountered several long flat sections. In the end though, we just caught it, and from there made our way up the last steep bit to return to civilization.
The only problem was that we were now at the top of the canyon, about 5 km away from the train where we needed to be. With our options limited, and the road almost deserted, we started that walk. With an ever quickening pace to ensure that we made our train, we put road behind us and made it to the tracks about 10 minutes before the train. Then it was just a long ride home followed by dinner at Seoul-Ria, a korean bbq place in Sydney, where we had an excellent seafood soup and seafood pancakes. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it was delicious. A quick walk to the bus stop and a short wait later and we were on the last leg of the trip, home to a shower and a good night sleep.
Iíll probably get some pictures up on this one soon.
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