27/05/2007 - report - photos

Participants: Tom Brennan, Sacha Vidler, Sarah Wentworth, Rachel Grindlay, Ari Vidler

The original plan was to do an easy overnight walk in the Wild Dogs with Sacha and Sarah and Ari (8 months). However, Ari was a bit sick on Friday and not up for an overnighter. Instead Rachel and I went apartment hunting on Saturday and headed up to Sacha and Sarah's place at Warrimoo for a delicious roast dinner.

In the morning we all piled in the car and drove down to Carlons Farm, where there were already twenty-odd cars at the Dunphy Car Park. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the weather was almost perfect for walking. There was some pfaffing around before we set off towards Ironpot Mountain. Wedidn't get far at all - the stile at the top of Carlons Creek - before we had our first moment of indecision. After a quick discussion, we decided to go down Carlon Creek instead, since the descent would probably be easier than Ironmonger Hill.

It was not long before we were in trouble again. The old fire trail we were following down into Carlon Creek started winding around, and eventually headed up another creek. Some more map and GPS consultation, and we backtracked to an indistinct track that headed in the right direction ie down. Soon we were wandering down the creek proper. A little way down we passed a group of kids who laughed at my bare legs and pointing out the numerous nettles, said I'd be in pain by the bottom. There were certainly more nettles than my 8-year old memory remembered. Rachel, Sacha and Sarah were all wearing long pants and were fine. I was forced to do a lot of twinkle-toe steps to avoid the worst of the nettles, but reached the bottom with only a couple of stings.

Breakfast Creek was flowing reasonably well, and we stopped in a sunny patch for Ari to have a feed, and us to have morning tea. We passed a couple of people just on the other side of the Frying Pan, and another group having morning tea at the lovely grassy clearing of Frying Pan Flat. Like us they were intending to walk down to the Coxs, but return via the same way. They were quite interested when I said we were planning on heading back over Ironpot Mountain.

The only other incident on the way down was when I started up a dodgy looking high sidle. After following a goat track for some way along loose quartzite slopes the "track" ran into a rocky bluff. By this stage I was covered in cobbler's pegs, but was forced to backtrack for some distance to where I had originally climbed up. I spent a considerable amount of time having to pick the cobbler's pegs out of my clothes.

Finally we reached the Coxs River, where the sun was just disappearing behind Scrubbers Hump. I went for a wander upstream to try and spot the start of the track up Ironmonger Hill, and found a couple of guys who had been trout fishing without success in the Jenolan River. While we were talking, the three that had been at Frying Pan Flat also turned up. I was unable to spot the start of the track, so returned to the junction where the others had found a lunch spot in the sun high up on the bank. After my search in vain, the track up Ironmonger Hill started quite obviously from here! We wolfed down gourmet sandwiches of smoked salmon, white castello cheese and fennel on fresh home-baked bread, and then started up the 600m climb. The climb was excellent, an open ridge with good views and altitude easily gained. We were at Ironmonger Hill in about an hour. From there it was pleasant walking over Ironpot Mountain. Sarah and I stopped to investigate the aboriginal sharpening grooves and the pots that give the mountain their name. I don't know if they are aboriginal too, or natural.

We reached the stile at Carlons Creek at the same time as the party of three, who had left the Coxs at least half an hour ahead of us. They were a bit surprised to see us.

As we packed up the car, Dave Noble and Greg Salway arrived at the car park. They had been camped down on the Jenolan River with a SUBW group.

An excellent day in the bush.