Wednesday, July 14, 2021

There’s a Pathway through the Bushland

Before publishing, and you (the audience) reading this reproduced poem, I feel compelled to acknowledge the Dharug and Gundungurra peoples, whose country this poem is written about. They are, and always will be, the Traditional Owners who have a continuous and deep connection to their Country that we can only aspire to begin to understand.

There’s a Pathway through the Bushland

There’s a Pathway through the Bushland,
In the heart of the mountain range, 
Sun-tipped trees, and golden sunlight.
Shadowed rock and sheltered vale,
Tinkling sound of many a waterfall, 
Tuneful notes of joyous birds.
Ferny nooks, and flannel daisies,
Canopied o’er by gum trees tall.
Splashes, too, of golden wattle,
Boronia pink ‘gainst rock of grey,
Regal waratahs and gum-tips
As the seasons hold their sway.
There’s a Pathway through the Bushland
Leading to the Uplands fair, 
Just a bridle-track to follow, 
To the gully ending there.
Steeper still, to reach the summit, 
Pathway left, and bridle track.
Halting stumbling for a foothold;
Looking upward, never back.
Summit reached, the view enchanting,
Resting, we see again
The beauty of Hill, Plain and Valley
Remembrance that ever will remain.
There’s a pathway leading to the Uplands,
Seemingly, there’s not any track at all.
And the heart and feet grow weary,
Seeking for the path, ‘ere night will fall.
Fairest paths that had not any foothold;
Crumbling rock and tortuous maze enclose.
No wonder that the heart and feet grew weary
With the fears that made heavy the road.
Come weary heart – Come back to the valley!
‘Tis but a step away,
Rest by the cool, quiet waters,
Everything must righ’ itself someday.
Ar’ the pioneers forgotten? Never.
Not while the Universe holds sway.
Great minds ever held the courage
To wrestle with the barriers on the way.
“Blazed” tracks, for those to follow,
Where homesteads gladden to this day,
With ploughed field and flower, in many a garden,
Brought from the Homeland far away.
Set along the bushland tracks and pathways.
Marked by railway, towns and cities stand.
Pioneers are the beacon-lights of Australian History.
In this fair Southern Land.

By M. Keating
The Katoomba Daily (NSW) – Sep 10 1932

This poem was found, quite by chance, while researching the latest bushwalking adventure that I undertook today with John Newman. It really touched me, in light of the current lockdown and sorry state of the country (and world), and spoke of the simplest, and pure connections to nature which can nourish and fill the soul regardless of whatever else.

It also sums up my latest off track adventures beautifully. It was quite the serendipitous find as it saved me writing a blow by blow account of these walks, which I am really not into.

Photos from myself, John Newman & Greg McKay

Friday 9th July, 2021
Passes of Narrow Neck
Narrow Neck Gate - Harmil Ledge - Glenraphael Head - Dunphys Pass - Narrow Neck Gate

Saturday, 10th July, 2021
Lindemans Pass Loop
Gordon Falls Reserve - Valley of the Waters Track - Vera Falls Track - Roberts Pass - Lindeman Pass (with sidetrip to Old Gladstone Mine Tramway Terminus) - Federal Pass - Fern Bower Track - Cliff Top Track - Gordon Fall Reserve
With Greg McKay

Monday, 12th July, 2021
South-North Mt Solitary Traverse
Kedumba Gate - Goat Track - Kedumba Valley - Rucksack Point - Kurrowall Ridge - Point Repulse - Miners Pass - Sublime Ridge FT - Kedumba Pass - Kedumba Gate

Wednesday, 14th July, 2021
Bottleneck Pass - Redledge Pass Loop
Pulpit Hill Rd - Bottleneck Pass - Six Foot Track - Water Board Rd - Glen Shale Mine Ruins- Redledge Pass - Narrow Neck - Cliff Dr - Cliff Walk - Pulpit Hill Rd

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

WoWW - Hawkesbury Stylin'!

9 intrepid souls took to the land of the hillbilly, not to down the regions finest cider, but to soak, swim and drink in nature's nourishing bounty at Wheeny Gap.

Meeting at Grumpy Bakers to arrange carpooling, rain was still tumbling down as we took off along the firetrail, but in a serendipitous moment that perhaps was just meant to be, the rain eased to a trickle by the end of the 5km trip.

Mother Earth's glory in full splendour on display for the tough hike down the muddy escarpment - past giant serpentine, sassafras, fig trees, birds nest ferns and lianas vines amongst the finer detail of the fungi, mushrooms and wildflowers of the rainforest understory.

Lagoon Creek was reached first in an unusual, but to be expected, high flow - it was forded multiple times as the track, if one can call it that, traverses from one side to the other, and we reached the spectacular sandstone gorge which dominates one side of Flat Rock Creek. All eyes were popped. Truly spectacular.

From the gorge, Flat Rock Creek was followed to the first waterhole at Lagoon Falls. A beautiful deep circular pool with two cascading falls keeping it well topped up. One more cascade than usual - the bonus of coming out in this wet weather for the wanderers!

With a bit further to go before our final destination, we deferred our swim until we reached Wheeny Gap Falls. But would this be the cherry on top of what had already been a sensory smorgasbord or an anti climactic fizzer?

Well it didn't take long for us to hear the rumble of water - large volumes of water tumbling over the falls and high expectations were again met when eyes and ears met the falling whitewater.

Clothes were stripped off and most of the body of the bodies there got what they had come for, to refresh in the cool and turbulent waters. To forget things for a moment, feel and hear the best of nature's wild energy and to recharge..,and then head home and face the (un)real world a slightly better, if not at least a happier person for doing so.

Thank you to all that came out for the adventure. Special thanks to my passenger Pete who alerted me to the swamp wallaby on the verge on the road. It gave me just enough time to slow down before it then darted out in front. It was thankfully missed by a whisker and it lives on to enjoy the lush slopes of the Hawkesbury for another day, just as we will too!

...and all this in a 4km round hike!