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The Mission:
  • Day 1: Lost World Saddle Campsite
  • Day 2: Black Canyon and return to Lost World Saddle Campsite
  • Day 3: Get back to the car!
The Team
  • Puff (me) n Puffin (Kerrie)
It was a long weekend and I was in need of solitude - ie, no socializing!  Did I mention that I am anti-social and don't play well with others?  So Kerrie wove her magic and came up with the ultimate long weekend.  How good does "Lost World" sound when you need to get away.

Saturday morning and Kerrie had "Fat Bertha" and "Big Mama" (our backpacks) ready and we arrived at Green Mountains (O'Reilly's) at around 8 am. We treated ourselves to one more cup of coffee and hot chocolate before we set out along the Border Track.  Not much excitement here, with a steady uphill gradient until we reached the Albert River Circuit turnoff.
Um...which way now....
Good time was then made to Echo Point lookout, with it's spectacular views.

Soon after we arrived at Echo Point campsite, where we headed off up to Mt Worendo.

We made the right guess taking the left hand track from the campsite and made our way up the mountain. About 10 minutes after the campsite we found a cairn and thought this must be of some significance and hence deserved to be a nice lunch spot.  It turned out that the cairn didn't really mean too much other than it being a nice lunch spot and we kept on heading up the mountain on a track that was also marked with a lot of pink tape.  When we got to a place on the map where we needed to leave the predominately marked track and head off down the ridge line I turned on my GPS more for safety reasons rather than navigation, because, one; I wanted to navigate by compass and two; our GPS doesn't seem to hold a bearing any more.  It seems to show that I am heading north, then south, or east, or west, without me actually changing directions.  We really need to invest in a new GPS.  I might give this one to someone I don't like.

By now, we had walked about 10kms in approx. 3 hours and only had 3 km of offtrack bush hiking left to our campsite.  How long can this take?  Kerrie was a bit worried about getting lost, getting across the "Eastern Razorback", finding our campsite and in general whether we'll ever get back again.  I was more worried about our kids (15 and 17) whom we left at home for the first time over a weekend by themselves.  Maybe I was more worried about what the house would look like when we got back.  So we both put our worries aside and enjoyed our adventure.  Every now and then we found evidence of other people having been there before us, in the form of a little bit of a path and some coloured tape.  Going was very slow with trying to push through the thick scrub and vines entangling us all the way.  Although some notes mentioned to head north when in doubt, I believe it was actually better to veer south when in doubt and for sure we managed to locate a marker every now and then.

Where's Wally? (oops, I mean Kerrie)


The flora was just amazing, especially the orchids which where out in full flower and majestic trees covered in moss made the whole scenery look truly like a world long lost. 


I was in my element, surrounded by spectacular nature and "NO people".  It was all downhill and we could feel our calves burning.  I got the muscles working really fast when I nearly stepped on a black snake. The ridge narrowed and we made it to the "Eastern Razorback", which turned out not too scary at all.  Navigation was now a breeze, if you went too far left, you would fall down the mountain and if you went too far right, pretty much the same thing would happen to you.

We finally made it to the saddle and it was just the most amazing campsite. 

Kerrie doing the work, whilst I played with camera settings.

It had taken us over 3 hours to cover the last 3km.  We were stuffed but felt wonderfully alive - except for the leg muscles!   We sat down and just soaked in the atmosphere (and a glass of wine) before putting up our tent and cooking dinner.  I have never eaten spaghetti that tasted so good.  We were in bed by 6pm.

Fast forward to 6am and 12 hours of blissful sleep and we felt on top of the world to start the new day (OK, maybe the two cups of double strength coffee had something to do with it).  We headed out at 8:30am to what we thought would be an easy day up to "Black Canyon", after all, others did it in half a day.  Our first hurdle was 250m down to the Albert River, which was a steep scramble/slide through thick bush and took us about 20 minutes.


The Albert River was something out of a fantasy book and I had to remind myself that I was not dreaming. 


Although there was a ribbon to indicate where we had to return uphill to camp, we also left a fluorescent vest to make sure not to miss this point in the thick rain forest on our return.


We rock hopped up the river and took a southern fork only a few minutes from our start.  It was pretty slow going and we also took a lot of photos, which will never do justice to the real beauty of the place. 
  

After managing to keep our feet dry until now, we had to wade through water to get to the Red Rock Cutting Waterfalls.  What a beautiful spot! 



We were nearly at the falls when I needed to swim through a small deep pool (only a few metres) to get to the falls, only to decide that they looked a bit too tricky to scramble up.


So we back tracked and skirted the falls high on the north bank which added another 30 minutes to our trip and brought us out onto Red Rock Cutting. 


It was now close to mid-day and it had taken us a lot longer than expected to reach this point.  We decided that this was as far as we were going to get today and that we would have to leave Black Canyon for another day.  But saying this, we were not disappointed.  "Red Rock Cutting" was the perfect lunch spot and we had a relaxing time just soaking in the atmosphere.





Finally we had to head back and now making a few better track choices e.g. taking the northern fork of the river, we made the 3 hour up-river journey back downstream in just under an hour. 

This left us heaps of time to fill up our water, have an icy cold and very fast wash and head back up the thigh busting 250m to our campsite.  We collapsed into an organised heap and started preparing dinner (after my second glass of wine for the trip).  To my amazement a couple of people popped out of the bush around 4.30pm.  Tim and Emily had planned to camp at the next campsite (3kms away), but as they were running out of time they decided to spend the night with us.  It was great swapping stories of outdoor adventures and we enjoyed their company.

After another 12 hour sleep I awoke disappointed that this was our last day, but I pushed this to the back of my head - lots of room there.  Although it was a bit overcast we headed off up the hill after saying goodbye to Tim and Emily.  It seemed a bit easier tracking back up than down.  This probably made me a bit overconfident and I made a bit of a navigational misjudgement and it took us a bit of time to recover to find the Mount Worendo track.  I am not sure, but before we found the track, Kerrie had a look on her face that said "don't tell me we are lost".


I was pretty confident that eventually somebody would find us, or our bones.  Maybe I should not have looked at the GPS that led us in circles and when we finally found the track the GPS said that north was south, but luckily Kerrie recognised we were headed in the wrong direction and pointed out that we maybe should head north to go north.  Who was I to argue.  Soon we were on familiar tracks.  Tim and Emily, who had left camp after us, caught up with us, but they didn't see all the nice trees and body entangling vines that we found on our detour!

By now it had started raining quite heavily and we were shrouded in the clouds.  Tim and Emily had the energy to do the longer waterfall section of the Albert River Circuit, while we chose the easier and shorter part of the Albert River Circuit to the Border Track.  As the weather wasn't ideal, upon reaching the Border Track, it was lunch on the go whilst enjoying a nice downhill journey back to O'Reilly's.

A quick drink stop .... not ideal lunch conditions.
 
It was sad to step out of the bush into modern society but the weekend was unforgettable and the batteries are certainly re-charged, although our muscles may say differently.

I am glad to say that I beat Kerrie on one front:

Ticks: Kerrie 1 vs Alex 5
Leeches: Kerrie 0 vs Alex 2

Once again it has been an unforgettable adventure of Puff n Puffin.


2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great adventure! But how come I can't see your name on the Metrogaine list this week-end?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a great adventure! But how come I can't see your name on the Metrogaine list this week-end?!

    ReplyDelete

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