13/02/2005 - report - photos

Participants: Tom Brennan, Caoimhin Ardren

After a very leisurely breakfast, it was 1:30pm when Caoimhin and I finally started walking, and we were a bit worried that it was going to be a late finish. Steve and Brenda were just going to go part of the way, so we farewelled them on the climb up to Mt Ayre and pushed the pace. The lookout on the far side of Mt Ayre had some excellent views of the rest of the walk and we stopped for a while for photos.

After a stop, we raced down the 440m to the bottom, reaching Bungonia Creek in 34min, putting us well ahead of schedule. The creek was much easier going than I had imagined, with open walking along grassy banks. At one point we found a large metal grill, which we decided we should take out. Soon we reached an excellent swimming hole. Both Caoimhin and I decided it was an ideal spot for lunch and we jumped in for a refreshing dip. The water was surprisingly cold, considering how warm it had been in the canyon upstream the day before.

Continuing upstream after lunch we passed a largish group heading in the other direction, presumably doing the opposite of our walk. There was a bit of mud in this section of the creek, and the mud tended to stick like glue to our shoes, but more like ice when you then stepped on a rock. We went to some effort to avoid it.

Reaching the first of the blast zone signs, we spotted the Red Track markers and started the long climb out. The exit was steep and relentless, but it meant that we gained altitude quickly. The scar of the quarry on the opposite side of the gorge soon came into view, marring the landscape. We were soon at the top, and it was a short walk back to the car. Steve and Brenda still weren't back from their walk, so we drew a smiley face in the dust on their car!

I chased a large monitor lizard unsuccessfully trying to get some good photos. It wouldn't cooperate and sit in a sunny spot for a few seconds. We took a short walk to the two lookouts at Bungonia Lookdown for more views of the gorge and surrounding countryside, before finally hitting the road back to Sydney. An excellent walk.