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Hurray, it's a long weekend and we are heading for Girraween to bag the "Baldies".  Kerrie, Tash and I met up with Lisa and Darren in a bush camp off the side of a quiet dirt road on Friday evening.  We decided to sleep under the car awning but Lisa and Darren opted for the deluxe night in a tent with a full double bed inflatable mattress.  The trick was getting the inflated mattress into a two men tent.  This didn't leave much room for the occupants, but somehow they managed.  It was a beautiful first night spent outdoors and we were off early in the morning (after several cups of coffee).

Day 1 - 14kms

We set off from a locked gate on Mount Norman road (about 6 km from the northern end) just after Paling Yard Creek.

Following the track towards West Bald Rock, Kerrie, Natasha, Lisa, Darren and I, were hauling packs ranging from about 14 to 20 kg.

The crew.

This included three tents, two Trangia stoves, and water for two days (the ranger told us that it was very dry and it was unlikely there would be water at the usually reliable water source at South Bald Rock).  Of course, we also packed some red wine, bourbon and a little Baileys. What more does one need? Ah yes, food,  we had plenty of that too, Kerrie and Lisa had been busy dehydrating for the last week, with a couple of tins thrown in for good measure.

After about an hour we took a short rest amongst some smaller 'bald rocks' before shouldering packs again as we were keen to bag our first big bald rock - West Bald Rock.

On arriving at the base of West Bald Rock it was time for a coffee and tea before our ascent. We left our packs at the base and felt as light as feathers as we charged our way up the rock. It wasn't long and we were rewarded with our first spectacular views of this magnificent national park.  The landscape scattered with granite outcrops is just spectacular from high up.

Darren having a breather.

Lisa and Tash relaxing and taking in the views.

Made it to the top.

After the excitement of the first ascent, the first blisters started to show up but these wouldn't dampen our spirits.   We were on a high now and needed more ascents to fill our need. It is a bit like an addiction that needs to be fed.

Heading towards South Bald Rock we had a quick stop at Balancing Rock. Well, that's the name we gave it!

Balancing Rock

With a couple of hours of daylight left, we arrived at South Bald Rock, our destination for today.  We dumped our bags at the campsite and headed up the rock face to be surprised at what it has to offer and for the hunt of the elusive cave and gorge that is meant to be there.  It was not long until we got to what we thought was the top of South Bald Rock with its massive marbles, to realise that this is only a quarter of the way up.

Tash holding up one of the marbles.
Tash into reflection.

Kerrie is also offering a hand.

Some spectacular rock formations.

Sometimes the rock reminds me of a moonscape.

Sometimes it is more like dunes in a desert.

And it keeps on going up.
Tash decided on a break.

Not far from the top we thought we found the cave entrance, but it would require a rope to get down the hole.
Narrow opening on what we thought might be the cave.
With modern technology at hand and good reception, Darren checked out a Youtube clip and we were disappointed that this was not the actual cave.

With daylight running out we decided to head back to camp.  We settled down to camp activities such as bursting blisters, taping up blisters, having a couple of wines and cooking gourmet meals on the Trangia.  With Lisa and Darren not taking their large double mattress (don't know why not) they tried to get air into their small camp mattresses. After about half an hour of unsuccessful blowing, they decided that the actual ground was soft enough.

Tonight we were having ham and mushroom creamy pasta and chicken pasta.

We started feeling the day's exercise and with the evening cooling down quickly went to bed at around 6:30 pm.

Campsite number 1 - Camp life

Day 2 - 14kms

After close to 12 hours sleep and Darren commenting that he didn't go to bed that early since he was 11 years old, we were refreshed and looking forward to the day ahead.

As a side note, quite clear water was available in the creek next to South Bald Rock. That extra three litres of water each we had carried yesterday was just unnecessary weight!

We were soon back up South Bald Rock and we did find the caves on ascent number two.  Just before you get to the top you need to skirt around to the east side until you get to the gorge, which you follow to the bottom and then enter to find a mini rainforest and the cave.

The gorge looks like a little-lost world.

Nice fern trees set the scene.

It's not easy going at times.
Now we were happy that we found what we were looking for and set out to find the next Bald Rock.

Nice tracking through the park
When we arrived at what we thought was little bald rock, we were told by a bunch of bushwalkers, that this is not the case and the rock we were looking at is actually an unidentified Bald Rock.  It was all too much for Tash, who crashed for an afternoon siesta sheltering from a biting cold wind.

A nice place for a snooze.
 What do you do when you find an unidentified Bald Rock?  You climb it of course.

The surface on these rocks is super grippy (when dry at least)

The unidentified Bald Rock is surprisingly interesting with what looks like a dried out spa bath on top.

Kerrie is maintaining the cairn.

After continuing walking for a short while, we decided not to do Bald Rock as planned today but rather pull up early for camp and have a crack at it tomorrow.  We also decided to skip Little Bald Rock.  This will give us an excuse to come back another day.

An intersection near Bald Rock turnoff.

We found a nice bush camp near Bald Rock and Darren, Lisa and I went to Bald Rock campground to refill our water supplies, while Kerrie and Tash set up camp.  On the menu tonight Kerrie had Shepphards Pie for us and Lisa and Darren had Tuna curry.

Shephards Pie for dinner.

Idilyc Campsite
To Darren's dispair we ended up in bed by 6 pm - even earlier than the previous night. Mind you he was last out of bed the next morning - more than 12 hours later!

Day 3 - 11kms

After packing up in the morning, we stashed our bags in the bush and headed up Bald Rock from the unofficial north-west side.  About 50 meters after the sign to Bald Rock Camp Ground, a narrow nearly indistinguishable track shows the way.  It took us a bit of backwards and forwards to find our way up the rock, and it was a bit exposed at times.

Through it.

Under it.

Over it. With a helping hand.

Up it.

Nearly made it. Still smiling.

A bit of a crack.

Finally on top.

More magnificent views.  Nearly looks like Uluru.
We all got to choose a pet rock. (Officially called The Five Brothers)
We decided to take the tourist way down, which was less adrenalin but also provided some spectacular scenery.

Well laid out tourist path on the way down.
We collected our packs at the campsite and kept on following the border track until we decided to go cross country to find a rocky outcrop with a water pool.

We definitely found cross-country.

Gone bush.

More beautiful scenery.
And we found the rocky outcrop, where we finished off our last supply of coffee and lunch.  But we didn't find the rock pool.  It was probably dried up.

Lunch spot.
It was not long until we picked up the trail again for a short walk back to the cars. 

Nice grass country.
It was a most enjoyable three days away from the hustle of the city and our internal batteries are surely recharged.  But as with any other addiction, we want more.  What is going to be our next adventure?

Length of walk
    40km circuit approx.
    3 days of easy walking including exploring peaks.
Best Time to do
    Spring or autumn.  Rocks would be too slippery in the wet.

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