Friday, October 28, 2011

Mount (not so) Solitary

Things are picking up speed now as the end of the year approaches, and as my jewellery workload increased and a new project began on the house I saw it as the perfect time to... go on a bushwalk. My excuse is that heading out into the bush is very healthy for my creative energy, and that I haven't been on a camping trip since my accident last year left me incapacitated for quite a while, so it was time to get back into things. Plus the weather was finally beautiful: blue, clear skies, warm sunny days with crisp cool nights and new Spring growth everywhere.
Yeah, ok, it was really just to get away from work for a couple of days.
The plan was to go on a two day walk from Kanangra Walls to Cathedral Rocks and back, a little west of home in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park. Having consulted the topographic contours on the relevant map, though, and recalling a previous excursion out that way some time ago, we reconsidered and shifted plans to an easier walk: from Wentworth Falls, across Mount Solitary and then up to Katoomba. It's a kind of classic walk up here, and for one reason or another I have never managed to walk across Mount Solitary. We thought it would be pretty easy going, and set off happily, navigating a very steep descent down Lion Head Ridge to Kedumba Creek. It was a bit of an eye-opener, really, experiencing how miserable the muscles in my legs have become. I was pitifully slow on the downhills on the whole trip, and as there were a few fairly exciting descents I got to exhibit my snail impersonation quite a bit. Uphills were a little easier, except then my stamina showed its inadequacies, and by the time we reached the top of Mount Solitary I was pretty exhausted. The funny thing is, I always thought of Mount Solitary as a big flat plateau, and as it sits smack bang in the middle of the Kanimbla Valley, easily observable to anyone and everyone who has ever been to Katoomba, it's weird that I never really took much notice of how undulating the top of it actually is. After the huge climb up I was looking forward to ambling around looking for a campsite, but was faced with hiking up and down, up and down until we reached a nice spot in the mid-afternoon. Another funny thing: with a name like Mount Solitary, you might expect to be kind of alone out there. In fact, we saw more people on that one walk than on pretty much any other walk we've done, even though it was mid-week and out of holiday season.
Ah well, it was lovely anyway, and it actually felt like a great boost to my creativity. There were wildflowers everywhere, it was kind of insane; first great expanses of pink boronias and then several stands of waratahs towards the end, with all manner of native irises, flowering leptospermums and others I didn't recognise in between. I neglected to bring a camera, which is why this post is rather lacking in visual support.
So now I'm back into work, and just to bring the mood back to earth the weather has gone all wintery again, cold and wet and unappealling. Hopefully it won't last like this too long, because I was looking forward to a warmer stall at the next market! As it nears Christmas the frequency of stalls available to me picks up, and I have double my usual quota, with two in November and also two in December. As always the venue is the Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston, Canberra, and the dates are:
Sunday November 13th ("The Jewel of Canberra")
Sunday November 20th
Saturday December 10th
Sunday December 11th
And then, hopefully, I'll be off on another bushwalk.

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