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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Overnight on Lockely's Pylon

The Sons of the Desert had variously visited Lockley's Pylon in the Blue Mountains and had always been impressed with the amazing views it gives of the Grose Valley, Mount Banks and Mount Wilson, and the valley of Govett's Creek. So we thought it would be great to take advantage of those views in the glory of dawn and dusk.

The problem, of course, is that places with wonderful views have a bad habit of being well above decent water supplies in a continent as dry as this. Campsites, therefore, are usually near creeks in valleys. This means that the most special places that you want to visit are ones which you often see in the harsh light of the middle of the day. So our plan was to person-up, as it were, and carry enough water with us to the Pylon so as to be able to camp overnight, have breakfast, and get down to the river the next morning.

So on a Sunday afternoon we headed out to the Pylon loaded with water enough for a spectacular high camp.

The view started to get better as the light gradually improved on approaching the Pylon. At the time we thought this looked good:

The light is promising as we approach the Pylon

The intimations were for even better views. As we got to the Pylon itself we were greeted by a rainbow as we approached. It stayed there, adding a little something to the view of the Grose Valley.

Of course rainbows are nature's kitsch, and yet I really can't resist them photographically. Of course one possible justification is that where there is a rainbow the light is likely otherwise good!

That was certainly true here...

As the light got better still, the Grose Valley with MT Banks started to look rather special:

The Grose Valley and Mt Banks
The weather was perfect in the evening, and the party was able to enjoy dinner right on the summit near the trig point with little or no wind. No wonder we look cheerful!

Our Party at the Trig

We pitched our tents clustered together on the one little bit of flat space just down from the summit in the direction of Fortress Creek:

Evening at the Campsite, below the Trig, Lockley's Pylon

While dinner was cooking, the views of the Grose just got better:

Distant rain, Grose V alley

As dusk approached the path back started to look quite magical

Path to the Pylon, Dusk, II

We were enjoying almond fingers when the last rays of alpenglow hit the trigpoint
Alpenglow, Trig Point, Lockley's Pylon

Then, the sunset we were waiting for. A bit tacky of course. One of our party names different kinds of sunset for major mythological persons, like Jesus and Mahommed, perhaps thinking of the kinds of greeting cards favoured by theists:

Sunset over Blackheath (Jesus)

The wind came up with a vengeance in the night; the sound of the spinnaker fabric in Paul's tarp made me think we were camped by a marina. The wind was still vigorous before dawn as you can see in this photo, where the flowers are windblown but the trig point stable:

Trig Point and Grasses in the Wind, Before Dawn, Lockley's Pylon (Colour rendering)

As the light shone over the valley on the cliffs we had to climb we headed off

The trip down was uneventful and lots of fun. A swim in Govett's creek was much enjoyed, though it did mean exposing more flesh to the vengeful march flies that bite without mercy.

A heart-starting climb up Perry's Lookdown ended the day, and we were out in time for lunch in Blackheath!

See these photos in high resolution and more from the trip here

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