Finally, we have made a start on the Great North Walk, Sydney to Newcastle. We probably won’t do a lot of the 250 km but we have done 20km of it now at least. I was having a Sunday/Monday weekend so we took the chance. We probably should have left earlier than 10am as the weather is starting to warm up but at least the days are getting longer which meant we didn’t have to rush. We were doing an overnight walk to prepare ourselves for the Grampians next month.
Our walk started at Hornsby on account of the track from Thornleigh being closed as it passes through the safety boundary of the local rifle range. Lovely Sunday morning, Boom..boom bang,bang,bang. We were glad to be walking in the opposite direction. It finally got quieter and we could forget that we were not very many miles from the city. The track went up and down and up and down, I found myself a suitable stick to use and found that it did indeed help. I think this might be a good thing, maybe a birthday present soon.
After a while we could hear motorbikes, is there no peace in the bush, but wait, aren’t we getting close to Galston Gorge? That’s it, all that revving and changing of gears, a bit of a favourite of motorcyclists out for a Sunday blast. All of a sudden the track turned downhill. Yep, this was it. The track went down and down and down until near the bottom there were hand/foot holds down a rock face. I didn’t like the look of that, so I decided that as there wasn’t anything breakable in my pack I could(gently) threw it down first and get myself down safely. Then all we had to do was to tip toe across Berowra Creek to the other side and on a bit further before stopping for lunch.
The spring flowers were magic all along the creek. We crossed some little side creeks still flowing after the rain and as we were getting warm, decided to chance drinking some and the water was really cool and refreshing to have a splash. We still hadn’t come across a campsite marked on the map and we were sure we had come far enough. We could hear lots of lyrebirds and even saw a pair courting and a monitor lizard scurry up a tree. Eventually the track evened out and was sandy rather than rocky, making the walking much easier. Us girls were starting to get a bit weary.
Then we could hear people and kids making lots of noise and knew we must finally be getting close to Crossslands reserve where we were camping for the night. It was cooling off as the sun was now behind the hill but it would still be light for quite a while. What to do first? A cup of tea? Put up the tent, then a cup of tea? Or have a wash and a lie down. And some stretching exercises. Maybe my fitness was not as good as I would like to think and felt pretty sure my legs would be sore tomorrow.
We put up our tents and had a cup of tea and wondered around as it quietened down and found some wood for a fire- heaven, we had the place to ourselves. There were more lyrebirds here scratching in the mulch. I had brought dehydrated bolognaise and just added water to soak and some noodles. Paula was impressed, much better than her last camping meal. It got to 6.30pm and we were ready for bed. It had come over cloudy, so we couldn’t see the stars. A few more sticks on the fire and another cup of tea, it had been a thirsty day.
The ground was surprisingly comfortable and it was so quiet during the night that I could hear the trains and trucks on the freeway which was probably only 5kms away. Lots of other noises in the night I didn’t know what they were, lying there trying to decide is that a bird or a mammal or a frog, but anyway, not too scary. And of course we were under the flight path, we don’t seem to be able to avoid that.
We were up early and it was foggy and dew dripping from the trees like rain. The sun soon came through and of course it was going to be another glorious day. We only had 6.5km today but mostly uphill which made progress slow. Berowra Creek becomes tidal here and got wider and deeper, there were even fishermen out in their boat trying their luck.
The bush was amazing and looked fairly undisturbed, this was a great way to start a Monday morning. We realised how lucky we were to have had a quiet night when we ran into a large school group of year 9 kids heading to the same spot for 2 nights. Who would want to be a teacher?
All around we could start to see houses perched right on the edge of the cliffs to be the one with the best view- and first to see the bushfires. We made it back to Berowra and caught the train back to Hornsby. Now how will we get back to the car, 2 or 3 km away? We could walk, or I could walk without the pack or we could catch a taxi. Um, think we will take the easy option.