07-08/10/2000 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Jill Calkin
It was going to be a weekend off for me, but I'd half promised Jill weeks before that I could go walking this weekend, and when her week in WA fell through, bushwalking it was. I rummaged through books, notes, and walks I had planned to do - Erksine Creek looked perfect. The track notes said that it was an easy day walk that should be turned into a bludge weekend by doing it overnight. A bludge sounded good after the Colo River the weekend before left me with sore legs for the week.
The idea of a bludge became better after our "quick" stop into Coles took the best part of an hour on Saturday morning. Most of the time was spent waiting at the checkout. I shouldn't be too harsh on the poor bloke, since he was only new, but I imagine most trainees could identify broccoli without having to ask the customer. Or zucchini. Or mushrooms. Someday they'll grow vegetables with bar codes and it will no longer be an issue! Our small consolation was that we managed to get about off with all the stuff ups.
Driving into the park at Glenbrook we just caught sight of the sign - Total Fire Ban. D'oh! Seeing only "High Fire Danger" signs climbing into the mountains I thought we'd just escaped a total ban. Oh, well. Out went the evening meal, stove, billy, matches. My pack was lighter than it's been for a long time. Luckily we had a whole roast chook that was planned for lunch, but could be extended to dinner easily.
So in the end it was 1pm by the time we reached the car park at Pisgah Rock. A quick repack, and off down the road towards Jack Evans track. It's pretty easy walking from there to the bottom at Erskine Ck. We had a couple of lookout stops near the top to take in the gorge. The sun beating down made the water in Erskine Creek look very inviting. Shame a flying leap off the lookout wouldn't get us to the water in fit condition to enjoy it.
Once at the bottom, we thought about a swim straight away, but decided that we should get within striking distance of camp before relaxing. There was a rough track up the left (downstream) bank that started to disappear after a while. A bit of rock-hopping and we were over the other side, and picked up another track. It tended to come and go a bit, but didn't entail too much bush bashing, and by 3pm we had reached the junction of Erskine and Lincoln Creeks. Just beautiful. Large swimming hole, clear water, hot day, warm rocks, no other people, big lunch. What more could you ask? Needless to say we were still there as the sun started to disappear behind the walls of the gorge, and we decided we had better make tracks.
A couple of creek crossings later, we were on a rough track to Dadder Cave, our intended camp for the night. It was not much more than half an hour's walk to find it. No fire, unfortunately. We had to console ourselves with cold chicken sandwiches and sipping port by the light of a very bright moon. The mozzies came out in force, and despite a few applications of RID we decided to retire for the night.
Sometime during the night the clouds invaded with full force, and there was no sign of the sun in the morning. We sat and read the visitor's book for a while, which was quite interesting. Did you know that Dadder is short for Death Adder, for example? Some of the last few parties had made the trip in "over the top" from Big Crater Ck. I found the pass in the lower cliff for this route just downstream from the cave. It led up to a steep track covered in slippery leaf matter, and I climbed about two-thirds of the way up to the top of the ridge before returning. It looked like a fairly slippery scramble with packs.
After breakfast we headed further upstream to Blands Pool for a dip. The sun began to appear occasionally, and we were lucky enough to get a good view of a lyrebird searching for food on the other side of the pool. After drip-drying we headed back to the cave and retrieved our packs. Then back to the junction for the cimb out to Pisgah Rock. The path quickly climbed up above Monkey Ropes Ck, and then suddenly petered out. A bit of exploration found that it headed up one of a couple of rock faces. We took the harder but shorter climb and passed the packs up. Of course where there's one there's many, and another four climbs/clambers later we emerged on Pisgah Rock. Nice view back down on Erskine Ck.
We lolled around and had some snacks admiring the view. Only a short walk from there and we were back at the car.