Norton Basin, Nepean River

It is time to take my pack for a walk to acclimatise myself for my next few walks. So I packed in what was on my list but not any food yet. I had done some training walks up Mt Alexandra but we decided that it was time for a change.

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It is not very far down a badly washed out track to Norton’s Basin on the Nepean River. From the car park and all the way down there was rubbish strewn all around. Everything from empty beer cans, small children’s thongs and items of clothing to a wrecked car. Down the bottom, it is such a pretty spot, apart from the incredible amount of rubbish again. It would only have accumulated since the flood last June, dirty pigs. Fancy going to all the effort of carrying down a carton of beer and then not bothering about taking anything back with you, or taking your Chinese takeaway to eat it cold down there. There is no telling what goes on in other people’s minds.

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We walked up river for a way and admired the rapids and cliffs, then turned around to walk down river.

We didn’t know how far it was to where the Nepean met the Warragamba River and there wasn’t much of a track, so we set off to find out. There were many trees bowled over in last year’s flood to crawl under and rocks to scramble.

I had my tent and sleeping bag in my pack and was very tempted to stay awhile but I couldn’t leave Grandpa at home alone. It was beautiful and quiet and the scenery was great but we weren’t alone.  There were plenty of blokes fishing in boats who had come up from Penrith and were taking part in a fishing competition along the Nepean.

We found a spot for a snack and even though it would have been nice to keep on walking, we will come back to explore further another time (when we can spend the night). There were some other tracks coming down the hill, so we took a different route back and got back to the car pretty quickly.

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Next weekend is Clean Up Australia Day. I don’t know if it would be worthwhile getting a big group of people with lots of garbage bags to go down there and clean up. It would be probable that the next weekend it would be back to the same condition anyway. One thing I was glad about is that I felt pretty good carrying my pack and am off for a three day walk next weekend!

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Sublime walk

This is a training walk for my training walk for my training walk before my big walk. In other words, aren’t I organised? I want to do the 6 Foot track in March and the leader of that walk suggested I do this walk with her first as a ‘get to know you’. I joined the Bush Club bushwalking club to have some more options in which walks I could choose to do.

So I got the day off work, woke up at 5.15am, caught the 6.17 train and headed down the coast to Austinmer. I have always wanted to catch the train down the coast and it would have been much more spectacular if the sun was out. But I was intensely grateful that it wasn’t as the temperature would be back up to 40 degrees, not good bushwalking weather. So the ocean was grey and it was a bit misty looking and very humid.

I met members of the group on the train, a rather fit looking group of retirees. The walk started right from the train station and started uphill along a couple of back streets and then into the bush and uphill and then onto some steps uphill and then onto some ladders up the cliff. The humidity must have been 99% and the direct ascent was at least 350m in about 1.5km. Phew! I was sweating and puffing and found all the older folk waiting at the top at the Sublime Point lookout. It would have been great to admire the view but it was a bit of a white out.

The next part of the walk was much more sedate along a more level track, but what a cracking pace they set. I asked the leader if this was the usual pace and she replied that yes, as this was not listed as a “fast pace” walk, this was the average speed. Yikes! How will I keep up with a full pack on, on our next walk?

I can’t understand walking like this when you don’t really have a chance to admire the scenery. The mist made the forest of angophoras, Old man banksia, Gymea lilies and cabbage palms look amazing.

I only had time to stop for a few quick shots and be off again. We did have time for some breaks to admire the view again, or imagine it.

Most of these people had done this walk many times before, maybe that is why they weren’t so concerned about admiring the vegetation. Though they did have some particular favourites which we stopped to admire, like the mermaid or Whale tree.

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Then the track started heading down along a few creeks where the track was a bit slippery with lots of leaf litter on it. I had a small slip but didn’t hurt myself, though after that, every downhill made my knee hurt. Luckily we were near the end. Made me feel like such a wuss. The beauty of this area is that the bush is right next to the railway line, so we came out at Stanwell Park train station and hopped on and home again.

One thing that I was pleased about was that this group was every bit as paranoid as me about leeches. Luckily someone gave me a spray of Bushman’s on my boots and ankles and we both stayed leech free all day. Some others seemed to attract them quite a bit. The walk was about 17km in about 6 hours, I felt pretty good at the end apart from a knee that would not let me go down the steps. I now know how much harder I need to work on my fitness and strength.