Where am I?

This trip was going to be tough but we didn’t know just how tough… Of course Nick was chief planner and navigator, Ben was sick (of health and of overwhelming uni work) and Jack needed to work more than he did go camping so the party was down to two. The plan was to camp at the Wog Wog carpark, then set off bright and early to Yurnga Lookout the next day. Day two was going to be Yurnga to The Castle return. Because we were doing a return walk, day three was the same as the first.

Lets just say that we got 2/3 days right, and as Meatloaf said: “Don’t be sad, two out of three ain’t bad”


(The perfect accompaniment for this post)

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Heading down to Bungendore.

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Caravaners enjoying all the luxuries of home life, their generator was noisy a gift from the devil for the rest of us. What’s the point?

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The list is always a work in progress.

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Endless #summerofgingerbeer.

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Campfire enthusiast.

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Daybreak.

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A common morning scene, Muesli with Peaches & Coffee.

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My friends Karla & Jake turned up at the same carpark, to do a similar walk! Crazy timing to meet up in the middle of nowhere.

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Mr. Agility.

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The first of many good views.

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Rock formations that were once riverbeds.

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Nice enough day for it.

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Arches.

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Pensive Wilson at our camp, day one was a success.

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The view from dinner with long shadows.

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Chick Peas & Zucchini (Cous cous not pictured).

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Male Model enjoying dinner.

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Daybreak on the big day, we needed to get cracking.

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From the tent door, peeking into Nick’s, wondering where my coffee is.

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The kitchen hung out to dry.

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The peak on the left of the saddle is where our tents were, not a bad spot.

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Back into the forest.

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Caves!

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At this point we missed a turn that we needed to take. The plan was to go on a known path between Mt Owen and Mt Cole but instead we missed this path and ended up finding ourselves on one of the four pillars of Donjon Mountain. They weren’t as tall as the other mountains, and were easy enough to summit, the trick was getting down.

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The view was good but we soon realized that this was not the pass that we were looking for. We scouted out the area for a way around to find the trail that we were after, which led between those two cliffs in this picture. We had climbed the mountain on the westward side but wanted to descend on the east, to meet the trail again.

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What we found however was an abandoned set of packs and a torn shelter, we were pretty spooked but we decided to rummage through the belongings. They had been out in the elements for 15 months, the pack on the right went from green to white. These were absolutely RIDDLED with spiders and ants and other stuff that isn’t your mate.

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I found this note saying that they had been rescued by chopper, crazy! I got in contact with Malcolm when I got home, he had been with a mate and his mate’s son and a friend of the son. These guys also got lost, but similarly to us figured out pretty quickly where they were, however the friend of the son couldn’t handle the heat and they had to pull the plug and use their emergency beacon. Humbling stuff. He had even tried to return to the spot to find his bags and recover his camera (which we didn’t find) but said he failed due to the weather, but is going again soon!

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On the way down from the (wrong) mountain, Nick and I found this nest of eggs, Happy Easter indeed! We found the path after about 4 or 5 hours of extreme struggle in the dense bush. All of the area that we were navigating had no tracks and we wouldn’t have covered more than a kilometer in those hours. A lot of the time we thought we had found a way, but it was a dead end and we had to retrace our steps and find another route. Eventually we reached the trail and were elated but decided to call it quits and head back to camp. We didn’t get to see The Castle in the end, but there’s always next time, at this point we were just happy to be safe.

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Daybreak on the final day and it was a bit gloomy. Time to head home.

Just like last time, we drove back to Braidwood for the bakery, and then cruised home to Canberra. This trip was an eye opener for us, we were almost in deep water but we pulled through, full credit to Nick for his awesome navigation skills. Both of us agreed that this would have been way worse if we had another hiker with us who was any less experienced. Photos were taken with my iPhone 4s and click through to Flickr!

Waterfall Hunting

Although Uni was only just around the corner, Nick came up with a final trip before the holidays were over. Nick wanted to go back to a waterfall that his brother had taken him to “oh like when I was twelve or something”. I borrowed the Mazda off Mum and Dad for the day and we headed East. 13 kilometers east of Braidwood is the town of Mongarlowe, and taking a right turn after the Mongarlowe Bridge will lead you into the private properties that sit on the edge of the Budawang Ranges. After a bit of searching for the start of the walk, we Parked the car kinda near someone’s house and jumped into the forest, in search of an epic waterfall.

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Nick kinda knew where we were going.

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Lush undergrowth.

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The roads out here are extremely picturesque, “maybe this is the way?”

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First leech of the day (that we knew about).

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I saw an eel in this pool but it was much too slippery to photograph.

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The yabbies however, slow enough.

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This was the kind of terrain that we were dealing with.

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Slippery, but far from unappealing.

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Another section of creek.

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Nick is probably knee deep in it here, spirits were still up!

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The mist rolled in at this point and it started to get wet.

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But what a view.

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After about four hours of absolutely treacherous terrain, we made it to this misty view. Hard to say exactly but it was a long way down the canyon floor and even further across.

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Because we were at the top of the waterfall there wasn’t a chance to get ‘the’ waterfall photo.

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We sat around and had some lunch, before the inevitable leech patrol!

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We were stuffed, the walk was actually in a huge loop so all we had to do was climb back out up and over the ridge to get back to the car. This took about an hour and we were spent by the end of it. We took our shoes off and found this kind of surprise in a few places. We would have pulled off at least fifty between us, but there were two that evaded capture. This is Nick’s foot, and I’m not posting a photo of where I got my surprise leech.

We drove back to Braidwood for the bakery, and then hot footed it home to Canberra. Two extremely sopping dudes returned home safe and all in time for dinner. Photos were taken with my iPhone 4s and click through to Flickr!