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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wild Dog Mountains

A three days walk in the south-west Blue Mountains in wonderful, early spring weather with the forest full of flowers and great birdlife. We started with a 15km walk down the Narrowneck Plateau from Katoomba, with magnificent views on all sides.

At the end of the plateau we descended the famous Turros ladders, where spikes are driven into the rock to make a descent with a full pack practical.

After the ladders it is rather disappointing to be standing under power cables at Cedar Gap, but you do get this great view of the Wild Dog Mountains, which we were about to walk around. The leftmost peak is Mt Mouin, and the rightmost, I think, Mt Dingo.

A further 15km on bush tracks, finishing with a pretty steep 600m descent, brought us to a lovely stretch of the Coxs river just as night fell.

The next day we climbed slowly back up to the Wild Dogs, with lunch on the peak of Yellow Dog. This is Brian doing a passable imitation of the eponymous canine.

Then we made an early camp in a magnificent cave with a creek running straight past the door. The yellow dot is a tent erected inside the cave. As we were idling away the late afternoon three Glossy Black Cockatoos came and played in the trees right above the creek, making their creaky calls and showing off their magnificent scarlet tail panels.

This is someone's successful first attempt to light a fire with a firesteel. As always, lighting the fire near the cave mouth makes for great ambient light reflected from the roof, and warms the air in the cave. The big root in the foreground allowed me to keep the fire going all night as I slept beside it in my bivvy.

Next morning found us back at Cedar Gap, looking up at the tip of the Narrowneck Plateau. The birdlife around here was great. We saw a Spotted Quail Thrush, which was a first for me, and more Pardalotes than I think I've ever seen in a day.

The ladders were the highlight of the day again. After that, even with the views, the walk back down the road to Katoomba is a bit of a slog.

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