Greenie's Gone Grose Valley - Multi Day walk - Days 1 & 2

It is a funny thing what adrenalin and a little bit of motivation can do. It can be great to see the result of those two coming together and what they can achieve. This post is not only about that but also my three day walk in the rugged but equally beautiful Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

I woke up on a warm morning in suburbia and wasn't feeling the best. I had a small head cold. With my father at the wheel of the car, I could at least relax and rest. As we approached the lower Blue Mountains I was feeling a lot worst. I was questioning myself if I should do the walk or not.

We called into the NPWS Heritage Centre at Blackheath to collect a Epirb for the trip. Somewhere between the centre and the Victoria Falls Rd car park some adrenalin must have been released. I am not sure if that happened, all I know is that I felt fine as I put the pack on at the start of the walk.

Just a few hundred metres walk from the trackhead at the carpark is the Victoria Falls Lookout. The name of the lookout should be changed as you cannot see the falls, only hear them. The drive along to the dirt road and small walk to the lookout is still worth it. There are great views here of the upper Grose Valley. 

The track then goes down a well formed track and stairs. Here my father returned to the car. I hadn't noticed my pace was too quick for him, which he said later it was. Not long after this a red bellied black snake was lying on the track in front of me, it slithered into bush just of the track when it felt me coming. It didn't move from this position, so I just quickly walked passed it with walking poles in hand just in case I needed protection. 
I soon arrived at Victoria Cascades where I had a bite to eat next to refreshing sound of the cool water that was crashing over the rocks. 

Then it was a short walk to the top of Victoria Falls. Here you have to be careful as there no safety barriers and drop of 15 metres into the valley below. 

I then walked down the hill and around the base of Victoria Falls. Here you can walk up a scree slope if you are game and stand behind the falls. I did that and recorded a video which you can see on my YouTube Channel.  Here you need to be very careful with your footing as it is a long way down. On the way down I used my hiking poles like ski stocks. I wasn't careful enough and fell, cutting my hand on the rocks.

All along the track if you looked up there were great views of the cliffs of the Grose Valley. I then crossed Victoria Creek. Here the track turns from tourist track to one for more experienced walkers. The track is very muddy in places and eroded. You need to climb down a track that turns into a small muddy waterfall and scramble across a small timber plank. By 3pm I had arrived at my campsite at Burra Korain Flat. This sheltered campsite has both Victoria Creek and the Grose River available for water. I soon setup my new one person Exped Vera 1 tent. I then cooked dinner and watched the peaceful sunset on the cliffs above me. The first day was a short but rewarding day of walking. 

The next day I was up and ready by 8am after a good sleep. Straight away I misplaced myself, I walked up a steep hill and soon realised that the track was going nowhere. I turned around and soon went crashing back down the hill, with one leg staying up the hill, while the other going down, almost breaking my hip. Next time I will read the track notes better! This was all within 20 metres of the campsite.
I then crossed Victoria Creek and came across two blokes that were nice and friendly and we discussed the track ahead. They only camped about 100 hundred metres from me the night before, but I never heard them during the night. I then crossed the Grose River by stepping rock to rock.

The next bit of the track was annoying more than anything else. It is covers several kilometres of undulating country. That isn't the problem, the problem was that the track isn't used much at all and I was cut to pieces. I was given some new gaiters for Christmas that come up just under the knee. I should have brought them with me instead of the pair I had that are ankle height and some lightweight gloves as well. Besides my legs being scratched all over, my arms and hands were also scratched and bleeding. By 10am it was 34 degrees in the sun and I haven't sweated that much in my life before.

I did like this track for it's scenic beauty though. There are several vantage points. If you look up you will see the sandstone cliffs of the valley. If you look down and to your left you will see in places, the Grose River. I also crossed a number of small creeks. They had a flow of nice cool running water.

Somewhere along the track I passed two young blokes with day packs. I said G'day, they however didn't return the favor. This was my last contact with people for the rest of the day. I soon stopped for a drink and had a quick bite at the intersection of Pierces Pass overlooking the river.

I walked pass the sign for the Blue Gum forest. This not only a amazing place with great stands of Blue Gums (Eucalyptus deanei) but a place that changed conservation history in the Blue Mountains and well beyond. In the 1930's during the great depression members of the Sydney Bushwalking Club raised the money to buy the area off a farmer from Bilpin who was going to clear the gums and plant walnuts. Not only did they save the area, but with the help of one of the members (Myles Dunphy) lead to the establishment of the Blue Mountains National Park. 

Just before 2pm I arrived at my campsite at Acacia Flats. Although a relatively short walk, the heat was starting to take it's toll on me.  I had some lunch, pitched my tent and collected water from nearby Grose River. I continued to sweat in the hot humid heat. Little flies that I had not seen before started biting at my scratched knuckes and my ears.  I soon had a nap in my tent. An hour later I went back down the river and collected and filtered some more water. As the sun set I was glad that the heat was dissipating but a bit worried as the forecast for the next day was rain. I was still looking forward to the next day with a large and exciting climb ahead of me.

Walk date 10/2/11 & 11/2/11


Six Foot Track - Coxs River to Katoomba - Multi Day walk - Day 3

I woke to a very cold morning, with my muscles rather stiff and sore from the last few days of walking. I had full day of walking ahead of me before I would reach civilisation and have the good and bad things that come with it. I hope you read on, to find out about the conclusion of my first multi day walk on this historic and scenic track.

There was a nice layer of ice on my tent as it was -3.3 degrees outside at sunrise. So I dressed quickly and ate a warm breakfast. I was starting to get myself into a good routine each morning. So I soon had everything packed. Then with a great big heave I had my pack on my back.

The Coxs river runs to the right of the track for the next kilometre. I passed the Six Foot Track Eco Lodge. It looked deserted.  It is the only accommodation on the track. And if you ask me, it is the easy way out if you don't sleep in a tent. 

The track then goes a little higher crossing a small creek. Then you arrive a the Bowtell's Swing Bridge. The bridge was built by the Royal Australian Engineers in 1992. Before that the only way to cross the river was back at camp where I started the day. Here I took my pack off and put my trekking poles on the side of the pack to help make a safer crossing of the bridge. Back on with the pack, hands about to take hold of the railings, then Beep Beep, Beep Beep. The peacefulness of the birds and the water flowing over the rocks below was replaced by my mother wondering where I was!

At both ends of the bridge there are signs warning about only one person on the bridge at one time. Walking slowly across the bridge you can see why. With the extra weight of my pack, the slightest movement either left or right made you feel like you were going to go over the side. 

The river flows to the left of the track. The track for next 7 kilometres travels along undulating country. Here you can see parts of the original six foot wide tracks. Occasionally there are markers that are used for a historic study of the track. I liked this part of the track as it would have been more like the track in the 1880's and not like the wide fire trail that I walked on the days before.

The warm July sun was starting to get to me in the open privately owned farmland that that track goes through. The hill started to feel like it was the steepest of the day. Maybe it was, then maybe just three days of walking was just getting to me. I then came to the 10k marker. This put a huge smile on my face.


Then a fine view of the sandstone escarpment of Katoomba appeared.  A group of walkers who nicely offered to take a photo of me. It felt a bit strange talking to people after not doing so for so long.

For the next little while the track goes through fertile farmland with more great views of the cliffs of the Blue Mountains. Here the people that had just taken my photo took off at a cracking pace, while me being a lot younger walker, walked at a much gentler pace. After crossing one unbridged creek and another bridged creek I was on a dirt road, which is used to access a number of property's.

After walking along the dirt road with a creek off to the side I came to the Megalong cemetery. The old bush cemetery is the final resting place for earlier generations of European settlers. I had a quick look and then stopped for a late lunch. 

While having lunch a bee decided have a rest my shoulder. Being allergic to their bite I quickly brushed it off. Well I presumed so. On the way back after walk in the car I discovered a sleepy bee on me again!! 
I then crossed a sealed road and a fence. Walking through bush then farmland again, then crossing Mitchell Creek I passed two other walkers doing the track in the opposite direction.

Soon a taxi passed me. It was hard but I manage to control myself and not call for a lift! A bit up the road I had friendly wave from the passenger that was just in the taxi. Further up the road the friendly gentleman caught up with me. It turned out that he was the owner of historic Megalong Village that I was about to pass. Today it is just used for his horses, but from about 1885 to 1905 used as a overnight stopover for those on their journey on the Six Foot Track. Here I was lucky enough to see a wombat. 

The road/fire trail then ends. Here the track starts to climb. It goes through Nellie's Glen which is an area of rainforest. Looking up I could just see the cliffs above. Reading the map the track look like it was going to get very steep, but I kept walking and it did not get steep. Then I crossed a creek with a waterfall to the side. I was wrong, I came to a staircase. It seemed like an endless staircase. The humidity felt like 100%. My legs were getting tired. I was low on water. But I had to keep on going.  Then appeared a man, a great man, it was my father! 
Not long after this the stairs ended, and we came to Norths lookout.

The track then goes a few hundred metres up a hill and comes to a gate with a Six Foot Track sign. Here I met my mother. There is a little shelter here with information about the track.

The track officially ends a few hundred metres up the road at the explorers tree. The tree was marked by the three explorers, Wentworth, Blaxland and Lawson when they were the first white men to cross the mountains in 1813. 
My parents wanted to drive me to end. But no way was I going to do that. I was going to walk the very last steps of the 45 kilometre track. And I did! I completed the track I had wanted to walk since I was 12 years old. 

This walk is dedicated to memory of Richard Laws
A great bloke. Who if he had a half a chance would had done this walk and spread the news of this adventure. 

Walk date 23/7/10


Six Foot Track - Black Range to Coxs River - Multi Day walk - Day 2

The second day my walk would be one of ice, 24k's of walking, a 4WD track, great views, creek crossings, wild animals and not so wild animals. The second day certainly would be an interesting one.

I woke alone at the Black Range campsite. It was just above 0 degrees Celsius in the tent and -2.2 outside with a layer of ice on the tent. So I got quickly dressed and made myself a warm breakfast. With lots of layers on I was nice and warm outside the tent. Not wanting to get my gloves wet I decided to pack up without them. This was a big mistake. When folding up the icy tent, it was like a thousand pieces of broken glass cutting in to my fingers.

It was half past eight and I was on the track. I came to intersection with tracks heading in all directions, I took the track east. This area is full of pine trees ready to be cut down and other areas full of cleared trees. The park ranger passed me in his 4wd doing his morning inspection of the park.

Not long after this I was back in the natural forest. The walking here is very easy, with a slight downhill decline. There a few side tracks so the map is very easy to follow. Here I notice the puddles on the track no longer frozen and no frost remaining on the ground. I soon had to take off layers of clothing. Here there are only glimpses of the steep valleys below on either side of the fire trail. The Kanangra-Boyd National Park is on the left of the track and state forest on the right. After about 6 K's of walking the park ranger stopped and made sure I was OK.

After 10.5 K's of walking I came to an intersection. There is a rain gauge not far from here, though I didn't see it. I stopped here for a few moments and had some morning tea. The track now becomes steeper. The start of the day I was at the attitude of around 1200 metres, now around 900 metres and by the end of the day it would be a bit over 300 metres, so lots of downhill walking ahead. Here I was thankful for having my new walking poles, with parts of the track feeling like I was walking on ball bearings, they saved me from falling many times.

There were good views of the Megalong Valley in the distance. I would be walking through the valley the next day. I could hear a waterfall off in the distance. Soon I came to a sign mentioning the waterfall and river. A quick look at the map and I decided to go down this track as it didn't look too far on the map. It turned out to be much longer! This track is badly eroded by 4wd's. Thankfully it is kept to this track from what I saw. The track goes down into a steep valley. I arrived at a campsite and river crossing. 

I was now regretting going down this track. As it was very hard work going back up to the Six Foot Track. This added an extra 40 minutes to my walk. It was then more downhill walking. I then had to cross two small rivers. Somewhere here I passed the remains of the historic Dwyers Hut. With the recent rain there was no way to across the rivers without walking through the water. My supposedly waterproof shoes were not waterproof and my socks were a little wet for the rest of the day. I passed one campsite and then had a late lunch near the Alum Creek camping ground.

The track then goes up hill, up the Mini Mini Saddle. There again is track erosion, but not from 4wd's but from Trial Bikes. My legs were starting to get the better of me, payback for the walking the 4wd track earlier. 

Soon the track goes downhill again, on its way to the Cox's River. There are great views of the Megalong Valley and the escarpment of the Blue Mountains.

With the last of the breathtaking views gone for the rest of the day I passed the historic fenced yards of the Kyangatha homestead. Without any signage they are hard to make out. The only way to know is that the trees are different to others in the area. There was now only 4.5 K's until the campsite from here. This part of the track is used frequently by the local cattle.

As I walking I heard a noise just off the track. I looked up and my eyes focused on a wild pig. It grunted. I just kept walking, knowing the damage one of these animals could cause. Walking quickly I covered the last kilometre in record time. 

Arriving the Coxs River camping group I had a quick look around. Here is the traditional crossing of the river for the Six Foot Track. There is also the historic O'Reillys and Dysons Hut's.

While setting up my tent, which had ice still on it from the morning, I could hear what I thought to be a group of loud teenagers. It turned out to be a young calf trying cross the river and catch up to its group. I also had a cow watching me the whole time I was putting the tent up. It looked like it would charge me at any moment. I then had a nice warm dinner while listening to a wild dog howling off in the distance.

With the temperature fast approaching zero, I got into my tent and stayed there until morning. Not long after I closed my eyes I heard a car. It may have been the park ranger, as it circled the tent and left. I again was going to need the sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a shorter walk, but was going to have as much climbing as the first day of the walk.

Walk date 22/7/10