The weekend before last’s record was unfortunately not written down for blog form, and by the time Friday rolled around, I decided that Silence Is Golden, and it was far too late to introduce those adventures.
It was a couple of days which involved food poisoning, pinched nerves in spines, kicks in the face, climbing at Shipley, Father’s Day, cycling down into the Megalong Valley and some seriously freaky waitstaff. All in all, pretty good fun, but we’ll leave it at that.
Things have been a little busy lately; D and I are gearing up for a trip to Japan (many adventures! Climbing! Scary monkeys with pink faces! Hot springs!), and thus have been somewhat distracted from sitting down and talking about our recent days free from the grind.
On Saturday we fulfilled a promise to a friend of mine to go out for a bushwalk, which ended up being the walk from the Three Sisters down the Golden Staircase, across the valley and up the Furber Steps.
It was very pleasant, delayed only slightly by difficulties involved in voting for the local council elections, so we all ended up meeting in Katoomba at around 11:30am. A quick stop to pick up lunch and a snack from the bakery halfway down the main street (why won’t you make more custard tarts? Why?? It’s like you’ve shown me heaven once, then snatched it away), then off to the other side of town, where the Three Sturdy Sisters squat on their perches overlooking the valley.
T2 and one of the Eminems were out climbing in the mountains, and for once it was not an activity that I envied them, as the wind was gusting up to 50km/hr at times. That said, we did ogle the Three Sisters for a good ten minutes, wishing it was still permitted to climb there. Having heard that it is chossy and undesirable as a climb does nothing to detract from the fact that it would be a great place to be seen climbing, and a friend with a decent camera could definitely have fun shooting from the lookout platform nearby.
The walk down the Golden Stairs is an old favourite. Once you get past the first section of break-neck steps, liberally guarded with rails and choked with tourists, the descent down into the valley is lovely, with rewarding views across to Sublime Point, and deeper into the mountains. Everywhere you look there are soaring, peach -coloured cliffs, a bastion protecting the green floor beneath you. It doesn’t take too much imagination to envision yourself descending into the Lost World, and the discovery of prehistoric Wollomi Pines in 1994 supports this fantasy.
Aside of the breathtaking views, the descent of 900 steps itself is a little breathtaking, and our thighs were starting to do a bit of helpless twitching by the time we were two-thirds of the way down. If I lived locally, it would be a fantastic track to do regularly (if you managed to avoid falling down it and breaking your neck).
Most common birdsound, the cry of the Christopherus Bratticus. It sounds rather like, “Are we therreeee yetttttt?” Donut privileges were duly revoked as a result, but it didn’t help.
Most amazing bird sighting was a dark plumaged lyrebird, which scratched about unconcernedly on the track in front of us, until D tried to take a photo of it.
Lunch was unpacked at the bottom of the valley, donuts were shared, and jackets were zipped up. Even well below the cliffs, there was still a significant amount of wind about.
Being in the unusual position of knowing where we were a little better than the rest of the group, I directed our steps around the base of the Three Sisters to the Furber Steps. A little further along that track, there is a railcart which can take you effortlessly to the top of the cliff, but that’s an expensive cheat, and we had donuts to walk off.
An easy walk back around the cliff to the lookout after we topped out, and we were done, joining T2, M&M and a friend for dinner at the pub.
Sunday morning, the air was completely still. Not the faintest hint of a breeze ruffled the leaves, which made it the perfect time to rap down the top pitch of Sweet Dreams at Sublime Point for a quick morning climb, before heading off for some cycling.
Sweet Dreams has become something of an obsession since we were blown off it some months ago, electing to instead walk back up and out. That morning, it was as though the Blue Mountains decided it was going to behave perfectly. D led the climb up, and I followed, taking some time to snap shots of the looming, airy cliffs around me. It was truly delightful, and deliciously exposed. I can’t wait to get back there on another still day, walk to the bottom and do the whole climb properly.
D getting off ropes at the bottom of the last pitch of Sweet Dreams.
Back at the car we headed into Katoomba for emergency shoelace replacements, and then drove down to the base of the mountains to Glenbrook, the end of The Oaks Firetrail. It can be ridden in either direction, but we elected for the easier, more-frequently-downhill route, and caught a train up to Woodbridge with our bikes.
28km, 2 1/5 hours of some steady uphills, gentle undulations and some long, slightly technical, sometimes steep downhill runs which made the palms of our hands bruise despite the front suspension, and our arms vibrate up to the elbow. It’s a trail I’m keen to do again, though I think leaving it till the late afternoon was definetely the best tactic, as it is liable to be a bit crowded otherwise.
A great weekend, all in all.