Song’s Ridge Valley Loop Walk

Ha, ha, ha. You’re going to love this one. Veghead did. He was grinning from ear to ear when he pulled this ruse off, and anyone who knows Veghead, knows he loves a good ruse. But I am ahead of myself. Back to the beginning. This week Veghead proudly pronounced the discovery of a great walk. “It’s one from the Wildwalks website”, which I have mentioned before and we get many of our walks from there. The subterfuge begins when Veghead prints off the track notes, all beautifully laid out as per all of Wildwalk’s walks. “Oh, I’ve just looked up that walk again, and its quite near Bucketty, so we should just pop in to drop off that large, heavy piece of bush art that we’ve just acquired”, he says. “OK”, says I being sucked in even further. So off we go to Bucketty, and on the car journey Spinneychick is reading the track notes. “Oooo, this sounds lovely”. “Oh, yes”, Veghead replies. So we arrive and unpack the large thing from the back of the car, when Veghead starts unloading all of his walking gear. The waves of confusion are starting to wash over poor Spinneychick, who still has no idea what’s going on. Then she takes another look at the tracknotes….. “Hang on a minute! Did you write these notes? Is the walk here?” Veghead answers with a cheesy grin, turns on his heels and asks for the first segment of the track notes to be read out. I must admit, he did a good job. We followed the route as per the track notes and it was all spot on routewise, although there was no mention of the sticky green things on the valley floor that were going to require handpicking one by one off Spinneychick’s jeans and shoelaces. And even more importantly, no mention of the leach infestation which on this particular day was phenomenal. Veghead managed to complete the entire walk with I believe only one leach removing experience. Spinneychick, on the other hand, had a dismal time as far as leaches were concerned. I stopped counting after twenty. Did I mention that I have an extreme dislike for leaches. I have written a limerick to mark the occasion.

There once was a god awful leach,
From my sock to my leg he did reach.
So I gave it some strife
With Simon’s Great knife,
When its slimy, hard skin I did breach.

Pure poetry! On a happier note, we did see some beautiful paperbark trees, and a humungus fungus. There are quite a number of small caves and plenty of wombat warrens. In fact, Veghead may have stepped in one. In the photo on the left, you can see him traipsing along the valley floor. Just after I took this photograph, Veghead completely disappeared from view. I immediately heard a muffled voice in the distance cry out “I’m okay”. It was a great walk……except for the leaches.

Copacabana Rock Platform

At the Copa…..Copacabana…..You’ve gotta love Barry Manilow. Or perhaps not. Anyway, there is a lovely beach nearby called (you guessed it) Copacabana Beach, or Copa if you’re a local. There is a rugged rock platform leading off one end of the beach which is great for clambering, and so for this week’s Wednesday Walk. It was a gorgeous sunny day as you can see from the photographs, and the waves were pounding against the rocks. We had our lunch right next to crashing waves and a fine ocean spray floated over us. This luckily did not effect our picnic. Afterwards we moved to a sheltered spot, as it was rather blustery on this particular Wednesday and the wind was a little cool. It was on a small rock ledge very close to the water. Some of the waves were coming quite close to us across the rock platform, but Veghead assured me that we were quite safe, and that the waves would never come up this far. Well of course you can see where this is heading. No sooner had this pronouncement been made, when a massive wave came hurtling towards us. Veghead grabs his own bag as his reflexes bolt into action, moving in a millisecond to higher ground, leaving Spinneychick with her bag and the camera, which luckily has a padded bag to offer premium protection from many a hazard such as a wave unexpectedly creeping over a rock platform. Spinneychick collected pretty shells and rocks because you just have to do beach collage on a rock platform. Later.

Piles Creek Loop

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Wednesday Walk. This week we journey to Piles Creek. The walk begins at Girrakool which is an aboriginal word meaning ‘place of still waters’. There were plenty of lookouts on this walk with views all through the valley. Halfway through the walk there is a suspension bridge over Piles Creek, hence the name of the walk, which we walked over prior to resting for our standard picnic fare. Veghead decided to go swimming, and there were some rather large mullet in the water. This fact was pointed out by some serious ramblers, recognisable by their titanium walking sticks. Spinneychick did not bring her bathing suit, so had to settle for watching her manly man frolicking about on his own. There were plenty of small sandstone caves on this walk which were lovely to rest in, so we did on several occasions, and even sat by a pool with a bicycle in it. We pondered for a short time how said bicycle managed to get into the pond, then carried on. Spinneychick loves to take photos of the wildflowers, and there were some particularly delightful specimens out today. Also many, many spiderwebs. Spinneychick insisted upon being the rear walker, whilst Veghead braved it up front with a “Spider Stick”. He is so brave.

Gap Creek Falls

Welcome to the second Wednesday Walk. This week Veghead has chosen a bit of a drive and then a bit of a walk. This time in the Watagans National Park. The walk was about 1.5kms, but this is a return, so failing a helicopter to extract us from the base of the waterfall, we also had to walk back. And there was quite a bit of steep uphill walking on the return journey. We were prepared for this though because we’d already done the downhill part beforehand. I read somewhere that the waterfall is arguably the best waterfall in the Hunter region. I couldn’t possibly argue seeing that its the only waterfall in the Hunter that I’ve seen, but it was quite lovely. Not all that much water; not much more than a trickle really as there hadn’t been much rain, but lovely nonetheless. Maybe we’ll come back another time after a deluge. So it was a nice easy walk down to the bottom, stopping along the way to explore inside a tree, and taking care to avoid the triffid, which is actually a strangler vine which has strangled a rock….nasty. We had our picnic on the rocks at the bottom of the falls and then made our way back to the top. I was panting heavily on some of the steeper parts of the ascent, but Veghead is quite accustomed to trekking uphill, and normally carrying a large log to boot. This was nothin’. Upon returning to the car, we spotted a goanna on a tree. What a treat.

Maitland Bay

Destination for this week’s Wednesday Walk is Maitland Bay, which is named after a ship which was wrecked there in 1898 during a tempest. This walk was about 2km in length and we set forth from the National Parks car park which as per the standard contains a map of the park, descriptions of the local flora and fauna, details of the wondrous sights to be seen and which probably brought you here in the first place, and my favourite….public toilets, an underrated but crucial requirement for a day of walking in the bush. Of course one can always squat but Spinneychick prefers to use the facilities when available. Veghead cares not. We also have track notes, courtesy of a marvellous website discovered by Veghead. The site has a glorious variety of walks to suit all abilities and time constraints. We mostly stick to the walks of a few hours only, as the loinfruits need to be transported to the local Olympic pool for their weekly swimming lesson on Wednesdays, which just so happens to be the same pool where I did my squad training many moons ago. Aah….memories…. Anyway, the walk was lovely. We took the optional side track which took us to a lovely viewpoint up on the rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean, where apparently whales can be seen at the right time of year, which of course it wasn’t. Perhaps we shall return at the right time. Veghead then took us along a track which didn’t really look like a track at all. Spinneychick was a little apprehensive to begin with, but the painted arrows on the rocks were reassuring, and we soon connected with the coastal track. There were some fantastic gnarly trees along the walk. Ones that grow over and around the rocks, great pink giants some of them. There were flannel flowers, my favourites. Such delicate beauties with a velvety feel to them. And some strange sort of fruiting plant, where the fruit looks like a pineapple at first, but they came apart in bright red segments, which the brush turkeys had clearly had a good go at, as they were strewn all over the forest floor. We made our way down to Maitland Beach to have our picnic lunch. A group of rambling retirees arrived to share the beach with us, but other than that we had the beach to ourselves. Spinneychick braved the elements to go swimming in the ocean whilst Veghead rested his weary bones on the beach. Why is Veghead not partaking of the swimming I hear you ask? And this is a very valid question. Firstly, even though the beginning of March is early Spring, it isn’t always hot. Secondly, Veghead, whilst being a keen ocean swimmer, prefers the water to be refreshing but not too breathtaking. Spinneychick on the other hand, will frolic in the cooler waters if she really wants to go in…except for that time in Mwnt. By golly that water was cold. After several failed attempts she had to admit defeat on that occasion. Afterwards Spinneychick engaged in one of her favourite beach activities, other than swimming of course, beach collage. No photo of the masterpiece is available due to the camera deciding that it had done enough recording of the events of the day. What a memorable first Wednesday Walk.

Wednesday Walk

Well, no posts for an extraordinarily long time, so I thought I may as well. Veghead and I were just the other day discussing the demise of our fitness. Gone are the days when the car was only used on shopping day and to transport the loinfruits to their chosen non-school forms of education. No longer do we spontaneously jump on to the bicycles to pop down to the shops, or to get to school. You’d think with all this sunshine we’d be out and about on a daily basis, cycling ourselves into a buttock-firming frenzy, but not the case. Where we live now can be most adequately described by the words ‘rather hilly’. The apartment block lies on the top of a hill a mere 500m from the delightful Brisbane Water, and a lofty 70m above it which makes for a breathtakingly steep walk home. I just don’t feel as compelled to cycle anymore. I really enjoy it, but Datchet is far more suitable to the leisurely ride to which I am drawn, so there you have it. And so the birth of the Wednesday Walk, which I am looking forward to enjoying immensely…tomorrow.