Time of writing: 6:00am 4 July
I woke before the dawn. It gets light so late here in Cockroach Country. At home, 1,000km north, the day is begun by 6:00am but here it is still dark. At least it gave me privacy for my morning wash; we are close to suburbia after all.
Despite her crescent state, the Moon still shines brightly. I was able to lay in her beams as I did some morning stretches. I’m trying to stretch my whole body at least twice a day to keep the soreness to a minimum. So far, I’ve rolled each ankle twice and have quite some shoulder soreness from carrying the pack. The ankle rolling always occurs when I let my mind drift to hardships or try to push the pace rather than enjoying the now. A lesson perhaps.
It must be rubbish day in Hornsby for I can hear the truck off in the distance. How odd that for these two weeks I am not part of that world. For these two weeks I am like a vagabond to those who wear suits and ties. Maybe a figure of someone they want to become or a symbol of what they’ve given up. I’ll see them this morning at the station with their takeaway coffees and sullen faces. Already my trail mind is taking over. How quickly I slip out of my corporate mode and into the role of observer. The land is taking hold. A good omen for my future travels.
Time of writing: 11:23am 4 July
So I’m sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking Berowra Creek. I can’t be too far from Berowra Waters. The track down from the train station at Berowra has been beautiful. It’s cut down through rocky tree-covered hills across running creeks and past trees of interesting shapes (including one with stumpy branches that made it look like a male fertility charm). The bush is alive with colour and sounds. White flowers are starting to bloom on low growing shrubs. Orange candlesticks adorn Banksias, which grow well in the sandy soil. Fresh new gum growth glows red as the sun hits it. Tree trunks come in black, brown, pink and silver. The views are punctuated by orange and grey cliffs. The wind is strong, creating a whoosh of leaves that fluctuates in intensite while branches rubbing against each other squeek and squwark. I’ve heard whip birds call for mates and have seen a lyer bird scratching around. It is a grand day to be walking.
Time of writing: 4:20pm 4 July
I’m at bush camp not far from Turner Road, Berowra. It’s been a really good day today getting here.
My day started off with a stiff hike to Hornsby Station. The first 2km were steep downhill on fire trail back to Steele Bridge. Then I had a hard 3-4km climb to Hornsby and on to the train station. Along the way, a friendly man helped me with directions. The train ride to Berowra was uneventful but I’m glad I took it because I’ve since learned that the track was definitely impassable north of Crosslands (Calna Creek).
At Berowra I treated myself to a meat pie. It was pretty tasty and actually seemed to have meat in it. From here, I re-enterd the bush and you can read about the hike down to Berowra Waters in my 11:23am notes.
Berowra Waters wasn’t much. I stopped for lunch at some shady picnic tables near parked cars, topped up my water for the overnight hike and set off up to camp.
The climb out of Berowra Waters was intensely physical. In south-east Queensland uphill trails are groomed or scrambly. Here, I had to climb boulders and steps the whole way up. Many steps were thigh to waist high on me.
But oh my! The views! And the pure rugged beauty of the place. Magic! So worth the effort.
Along the way I crossed a creed so beautiful I had to stop. Water flowed over a small foot-high cascade, onto a slab of rock and into a shallow pool before dropping down a 3-5m waterfall below me. The water was icy cold so I coolled my face and hair before taking off my stinky shirt to rinse it and my upper body. I stayed a while before continuing to climb.
Camp is pretty. There’s plenty of space but it’s bushland not a field. About 20m away there is an amazing vista over the mountains to th ewest. That’s where I’m going shortly (to look at the view).
I’m sharing camp with about 15 Duke of Edinburough teens and their leaders from The Colloroy Centre. Once again, life on the trail is sociable (I’ve had yarns with randoms all day).
Total: 18km hiking with 24-28kg pack
- semolina pudding with sultanas
- Organic Food bar
- fruit puree
- hot chocolate custard
- beef jerkey noodle soup with vegetables
- 6 x Vita Wheat crackers with plum jam
- Milo bar
- oat bar
- devil’s lentils (lentils, tomatoes, mushrooms, vegies, herbs and Parmesan cheese)
- Great North Walk index page
- Day 2: Baden Powell Scout camp to Tunk Ridge Bush Camp
- Day 4: Ridge Top bush camp to Brooklyn Dam bush camp