Six Foot Track - Jenolan to Black Range - Multi Day walk - Day 1

The Six Foot Track follows an old bridle trail that was built in the 1880's to transport tourists by horseback to Jenolan Caves from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. The walk is 45 kilometres in length over a variety of terrain, including mountains, farmland and a river crossing. Some of my family and friends thought I was a bit crazy doing such a walk solo in the middle of winter, where the temperature drops below zero at night. With my food and home strapped to my back and lots of up hill walking, I hope you will enjoy finding out about my adventure on the Six Foot Track.

I arrived the day before at Katoomba to pick up my EPRIB and stayed the night in a pub a Blackheath. Here I had a hearty steak, beer and read a motor mag by a nice warm fire place. The next morning I woke to find a nice frost outside. After breakfast I collected my lunch from a nearby sandwich shop and some fresh fruit.  Backpack packed I checked out and went and waited for the bus to collect me.

The mini bus arrived. On board there were two friendly couples visiting the caves, they seemed impressed  about my impending walk. The bus driver was also friendly, pointing out local points of interest. The bus trip takes about an hour to reach the caves. Along the way there is views of the area that I would be walking over the next few days. The last few k's going down a very steep and winding road, going down the side of Mt Inspiration (1076m). Here I was thinking, what was I getting myself into! as I would have to shortly walk back up the same mountain.

It was 11am, one final check of my equipment and I was off. The walk starts at a set of stairs outside the grand Caves House (Built 1898). Caves house was setup in Christmas decorations for Christmas in July celebrations.

Walking up a steep path, there were great views of Caves House and the area where tourists meet to go on tours of the caves. In the caves it is 16 degrees c all year round. So it was warmer in than out at this time of the year, as it was about 12 degrees outside this day.

Around a corner I arrived at Carlotta Arch. The huge arch is made out of limestone as is the rest of the nearby cave system. Through the arch you can see the Blue Lake. Arriving we saw a platypus in this lake. This lake is man made. Built in 1880 to run a small hydro electricity plant to supply power to light Chifley Cave. This was first cave in the world to be lit by a electric light. This was a year after that Thomas Edison had patented the long lasting incandescent light bulb and the year that Joseph Swan had his home in England to be the first in the world to be lit up by something other than candle light.

From here I left the nice path and joined the Six Foot Track proper. The track here is about six foot wide or less. The track was built six feet wide to allow two load horses to pass each other safely.
The track is very steep here and would be for the next 4 kilometres. Only a few days before I left, I picked up a pair of trekking poles. I have never used poles before, but I soon learnt how to use them from what I have learned from reading on the web and seen on YouTube. They were invaluable too me for the rest of the walk.
Soon stopping to adjust my pack I thought I heard a gun shot. But it wasn't, it was rocks falling and crashing to the ground somewhere nearby, hidden by the thick scrub. This is steep country. Soon I crossed a site of a old landslide.

This would be the last bit of original six foot wide track I would walk on for the rest of the day. The track soon meets the Mount George Fire Trail and continues along it. Here I also meet a small group of young Irish ladies and a two Aussie blokes who were about complete their Six Foot Track walk from Katoomba. This would be my last communication with humans for the rest of the day.

As I got closer to Kiaora Hill (1192m) the temperature was starting to drop to around 8 degrees c and it was only lunch time. Passing the turn off to Kiaora Hill the track starts to flatten out. Soon after I walked through the grounds of the Jenolan Caves Cottages where the local wildlife briefly took notice of a strange upright creature walking by with it's home on it's back.

The track then runs parallel to Jenolan Caves Road for the next 2 kilometres. It then crosses the road. Back onto another fire trail it goes. Here I had my lunch around 2:30 in the afternoon. 
The track goes over undulating country for the next few k's crossing some large puddles on the track. On one side of the track is the Kanangra-Boyd National Park which is internationally recognised as a part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site.

Just after passing the 35k marker I arrived at half passed three at the Black Range campsite. Here I was meet by more local wildlife. I setup up camp, had dinner and had a early night. It was very quite with only the noise of the wind in the nearby pine forest. I was going to need the sleep as I could be waking up to a very cool morning and would have a long day of walking ahead.

Walk date 21/7/10

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