Blue Mountains Pack Carry Xmas Adventure – Hike No. 1

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And so, once again we embarked on an epic Christmas adventure off in the remote wilderness – this time we ventured out into the Blue Mountains. This hike was run through our Meetup Group, Green Trails Australia. If you’d like to come along to any of our hikes, jump on Meetup.com and sign up!

This was our first adventure in the Blue Mountains and we planned two 4 day pack carry hikes back to back starting from Katoomba. Let me point out here that this is a recollection of our hike and not a guide as such. Unfortunately my Garmin Fenix 2 decided to give up on day 2 so I do not have a reliable GPX or stats for this hike.

The first pack carry hike started from the west of Katoomba at Six Foot Track. We carefully plotted out a 5 day adventure which we managed to finish in just 4 days due to our eagerness to return to a hotel in Katoomba and a fresh pub meal, some fresh fruit and veg. Oh and also some wine and spirits. Our total journey was estimated at 65.5km with over 2,500m of elevation gain. Oh and the temperatures were just perfect at 30+ degrees most days.

Day One consisted of a long 23km downhill journey along Six Foot Track with camping planned at Cox’s River Camping Area.

We started at Katoomba Train Station.

Starting from the town centre of Katoomba, we headed to the ‘official’ starting point of the hike, Explorers Tree and the beginning of Six Foot Track. This is an easy stroll, mostly alongside the road, apart from the final section which heads a little into the forest to tempt you further for what lies ahead. Explorers Tree is aptly names so because Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth, and William Lawson reportedly engraved their names into this tree when they set off in 1813 to cross the Blue Mountains. Their Names can no longer be seen and the tree is barely a tree at all anymore, representing more of a concreted essence of a tree.

What remains of Explorers Tree.

Six Foot Track descends through many farmlands and estates through Megalong Village and past Megalong Cemetary where we stopped for Lunch. If you’re after some maps or books on the area check out these:

At the beginning of the Track there are many information boards as well as a car park should you wish to drive and have a quick walk down to this beautiful lookout point just before descending into the depths of the Blue Mountains.

Norths Lookout near the beginning of Six Foot Track.

The first section of Six Foot Track is a steep descent into the tree covered gorges and valleys below. It is absolutely stunning.

Nellies Glen.

After passing through Nellies Glen you’ll head towards Megalong Valley and the numerous farmyards and estates to pass through and around.

Highly recommended for this long stretch are a good set of hiking poles which will take some of the load off your back and hips and transfer it to your arms which are said to take about 15% of the load.

Megalong Valley.
And a quick look back to see where we came from. Time to say goodbye to this beautiful Plateau until a few days later.

After Megalong Valley comes Megalong Cemetary where we stopped for Lunch and a quick marketing photo of our new Jetboil MightyMo Stove and Back Country Freeze Dried Food. Click through to the products below for our full range of Back Country Cuisine.

Then on to Cox’s River Campground… but first, Bowtell’s Swing Bridge. Alas I did not cross it due to my fear of heights. It was also rather windy and the bridge swayed far more than I liked. And did I mention that you can see right through it? Instead, I crossed beneath it which was quite easily done, and there is a trail up the other side too, no stress.

Bowtells Swing Bridge – Not for those with height issues.

Cox’s Camp Ground was significantly overgrown, so we headed down to the river and camped alongside it. End of Day One.

Spot the Hiker – Spot the Goanna

Day Two saw us heading about 11.5km along the riverbank of Cox’s River towards Breakfast Creek. Due to the winding and often time not visible route, this was more to the tune of 18km. Gaiters came in very useful along here – check out our range:

This is a beautiful section of the hike, however be careful of the cows along here, in particular the Bulls which have a tendency to display their strength by charging towards you, perhaps particularly when you are wearing a bright red pack on your back. On that note I think it is time for an upgrade to a different colour! End of Day Two.

Day Two along Cox’s River.

Day Three saw us heading 7km uphill first along breakfast creek, then up Carlon’s Creek towards Dunphy’s Camp Ground.

A bad case of Halitosis at the Mouth of Breakfast Creek.

Breakfast Creek was dry at the mouth, but thankfully further upstream had some beautiful clear water in it. Many Goannas around, including one which was hauling along its catch of the day… a Kangaroo Leg. Um, ok. And on a rest stop we had a close encounter with a Red Bellied Black Snake which slithered up behind us as we were sitting down for a snack. It was a good 10 minutes before we managed to convince him to go somewhere else and leave us alone… please.

Further up Breakfast Creek where waters flow, Iguanas eat Kangaroos and Red Bellied Black Snakes are Plentiful.

Carlon’s Creek was bone dry all the way up. It was a long hard climb towards Dunphy’s Camp Ground.

We decided that Dunphy’s Camp Ground was just too good for us. We headed for unmarked campsite number 1 near the top end of Breakfast Creek.

At Dunphy’s Camp Ground we had a good rest before continuing for a futher 5.5km towards a less desirable campsite closer to the start of Day Four which would see us heading up Tarros Ladder.

Thar she blows. Tarros Ladder waiting for us in all it’s glory.

We decided on Tarros Ladder for the ascent up to the Plateau of the Blue Mountains because we got word about a secret trail that didn’t involve an unforgiving nasty fall to our inevitable deaths down rusty old pegs that were nearly 100 years old. We did bring some rope with us just in case we had to haul our packs up separately.

The infamous Tarros Ladder up close and personal with rusty 100 year old metal spikes ready to pierce through your skin and kill you slowly by way of blood poisoning, that is if the fall to the bottom didn’t kill you already.
And looking down from the top with a clear view of that last rusty peg.

Welcome to the views at the top of Tarros Ladder. PM me if you’d like to know the alternate route to the top that doesn’t involve any rock climbing and very little rock scrambling. Thank goodness.

Views from the top of Tarros Ladder.

At the top, safe and sound. We had initially planned to camp somewhere along Narrow Neck, however camp sites were not common and instead ants were… so we made some calls and planned instead a 23km day into Katoomba with the promise of a Hotel Room that night instead. Hiking poles once again were very useful along this long stretch. End of Pack Carry Number One in the Blue Mountains. What a great adventure!

And with that we end with views from the Narrow Neck.

Last modified: January 10, 2019

One Response to :
Blue Mountains Pack Carry Xmas Adventure – Hike No. 1

  1. Scott Timlock says:

    Wow, great adventure and beautiful scenery, I would love to join in on the next one, it looks spectacular. I might need some encouragement up Tarros Ladder but I’m sure I could do it.
    Nice trip!

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