Travelling solo can be tricky. When I saw that there was a 3 day hike through the blue mountains I got all excited. But hiking by yourself? Is that the way to go? Then I met Carly during my work at the Royal Easter show. Carly was ready for some adventure and a week later we stood at the start of the Six Foot track.
At day one my bag weighed about 14kg because we were carrying all our food and water for three days. ”I’m going to drink me some water.” Said Carly when we started the steep descend at Nellies Glen. We were going to eat and drink our way through this track. It was foggy, the plants were wet and soon we walked on in silence, overwhelmed by the beauty of the jungle and the steepness of the path.
When we take a short rest Carly says: “My leg is taking all my brainpower.” It took all our concentration to get down safely over the slippery steps. At the bottom our legs were shaking heavily. Only 40km more to go! The next part goes along a wide path through a forest. There are private properties along the path and we have to climb over some fences along the way.
Soon we arrived at our first river crossing. While we were staring at it, wondering how to cross, a friendly local farmer started talking to us from the over side of the water. A minute later he came across with his ute to drive us to the other side. Thanks friendly local farmer! That saved us some wet shoes.
At Megalong Cemetary we have our lunch of bread with Nutella. I have to go to the toilet but am not quite sure where to go. “Did I just pee in a cemetary?” I ask. But there are no graves to be seen. Fuelled by Nutella we start a light climb. We walk through big fields, pass vineyards and soldier on. I am stunned when I look behind me. What a gorgeous place this is!
Later we entered the forest again and the path got a lot narrower. I hear the Cox River before I see it. The Cox river can be crossed on Bowtells Swing Bridge. It is a small bridge that can handle one person at a time. Bowtells bridge also means we are nearly at our first camp. We are the first to arrive. Later we are joined by one couple and a group of Duke of Edinburgh Award participants.
Sitting still for the first time since the morning I start to feel my muscles. “I even worked out my arse today!” Carly gave me a strange look. Minutes later, as she is stretching she says: “Oooh, there it is.” At 7.30PM it was bed time for us. The next day the walk would start at 7AM. As we leave one of the school girls says: “Are you going that way? That’s super steep!” Some encouragement to start the day.
The first challenge was Mini Mini Saddle, a climb of 400m. We were rewarded for getting up early and saw some kangaroos jumping on the roads. They were so close to us and it was a beautiful sight. The spectacle was an extra break for us, so we had to catch up on our schedule. At the top of the saddle it turned out we were early and we celebrated with yet another break.
We were warned that there were three rivers we had to cross. When we saw them they were a bit bigger than expected. There was no other option than taking off your shoes and trying not to fall while crossing, balancing with a big backpack and an expensive camera. At the other side we dried our feet, put on our shoes and 300m further did the whole thing again. At least we survived without leeches.
The next climb was full on. We had to climb to 1200m. The road seemed endless, but we were a good team, encouraging each other and walking at our own speed. It is a bit cruel when some people on dirtbikes race past you while your tongue is hanging out of your mouth from exhaustion. The top of Rain Guage was heaven to us. The hardest part was done. We were winning! After a walk through the forest we reached the Black Range campground. We’d walked 21km, most of it climbing.
Day three was going to be a piece of cake. It was raining when we packed up camp and prepared for a difficult descent, but nothing could stop us now. The fog was back too and it made the forest we walked through look spooky. Much to our surprise the track started with a climb. At the end I heard some cars and we had to cross a road. It was disappointing to walk so close to a big road, but eventually the route diverted from the road.
There we a lot of steps and my legs were not agreeing with them. A boring wide path led us to the big descent. There the path got a lot narrower and we had a great view of the valley. I was a bit preoccupied with putting my feet on the ground though because we were very close to the edge and the path was rocky and slippery.
No more weak, flubbery knees for us this time. A euphoria hit us as we were nearing the end of our hike. Down in the valley we saw some day tourists who were walking around near the Jenolan Caves. The bush tracks turned into perfect paths and at the end stood the entrance to the caves. We hitchhiked back to Katoomba where we had a hot shower and a pub meal. The wilderness was great, but sleeping in a good bed was an excellent experience.