There and Back Again

  • Stories| There and Back Again

We left the Castlereagh Highway at Wang shortly after midday –  Wang being the local name for the Wallerawang Power Station.  Soon after we found ourselves bumping down an unforgiving dirt road beside Long Swamp.

Near Baal Bone, the track had been washed out, so we left the car and headed off on foot for a journey that was thought to take us a few hours.  Our destination was Mt McLean – overlooking Gardens of Stone National Park and Pantoneys Crown.

The trip there was mainly up hill and followed a rarely used track along the ridges.  The ridge in fact was the point on the Great Dividing Range where a drop of water would either end up in the Turon River, and then the Macquarie-Darling-Murray Rivers – or, it would end up in the Capertee River, then the Colo, Hawkesbury and into the Tasman Sea.

We had an extended break in a large cave while a storm passed – barely counting to 3 at one point after a lightening flash before the thunder bounced in, which placed the strike a kilometre away.

We then began the real assent of Mt McLean.  After a few false starts, and clambering over, around and under rocks, we arrived at a very special place.

Aaron and Ian took many photos.  When Aaron is taking his 360º panoramas, I assume my “Where’s Wally” role – which I have become quiet adept at.

The trip back was in four parts.  Firstly following a trail that had literally been carved out by a motor bike.  The track was now being severely eroded by water.  The “wounds” showing how fragile this landscape is.

The next part was through canyons and ferns and soaring Eucalypts between the pagodas.  I must learn to slow down when going through such enchanting terrain.  We then found ourselves in more open woodland, and marvelled at the wildflowers and giant gums.

This ended when we emerged on a fire trail, and we now knew our journey was nearing an end.  This is when I wished I had dawdled more when we were in the canyons.

Aaron and Ian stopped regularly to take photos – so Wally went ahead.

It was then, when we were beyond being tired, that the fire trial, tired of meandering left and right, decided to go up, and then up some more.  So we trudged on, rounding a bend we found, another hill, and then another.

It was now that our equipment seemed to gain a few more pounds and my body was questioning my sanity.  Bodies tend to only like the downhill part of gravity, don’t subscribe to the uphill part.

But we made it to the top and found the turn off to where we had left our car.  A deserted bush track that I didn’t recall.  Ian reminded me that that was where I put my indicator on as we turned right.

We got back to the car just before night fall – extremely weary, and appreciating that we could sit down all the way home.